In a move that was somewhat expected after they signed practice squad QB Danny Etling to the active roster earlier in the day, the Atlanta Falcons announced on Saturday that quarterback Matt Ryan is out for the team’s Week 8 game against the Seattle Seahawks. Longtime backup Matt Schaub will start in Ryan’s place.
With the news, sportsbooks who had been waiting to post a line until the starting quarterback was determined made the Seahawks 7.5-point favorites in many spots, including the Westgate in Las Vegas. The lookahead line, which the Westgate makes available before the previous week’s games, had the Seahawks as 3.5-point favorites prior to Ryan’s injury.
Ryan left last week’s game against the Los Angeles Rams with a sprained ankle suffered when he was tackled by Aaron Donald. There was some speculation that Ryan may have suffered a high-ankle sprain, which could be more serious than just a simple sprained ankle, but Falcons head coach Dan Quinn refused to go into detail about the situation.
“He does have a sprained ankle,” Quinn said earlier this week. “We’ll be preparing both ways. If he can (play), that’s great. If he can’t, then the bye will have come at a good time for him next week. He’s already in the pool and running.”
The Falcons officially listed Ryan as questionable on their Friday injury report, noting that a final decision would be made on Saturday. Obviously, that decision has now been made. (Presumably contributing to the decision is the Falcons’ dreadful 1-6 record. This seems like a sinking ship.)
Schaub has been Ryan’s backup since 2016, and in that time he has thrown only 16 regular season passes. He’s completed 12 of those passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, but nearly all of that action has come in garbage time. Schaub has not made a start since 2015, when he went 1-1 with the Baltimore Ravens.
Prior to that he was the backup to Derek Carr in Oakland (2014), as well as a long-term starter for the Houston Texans (2007-13), and the backup to Michael Vick in Atlanta (2004-06). He’s 47-45 in his career as a starter, though Sunday will be his first start for the Falcons since 2005