Matt Ryan was 2016’s most valuable player in the NFL, according to the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). The group named the Falcons’ quarterback its MVP and Offensive Player of the Year on Wednesday.
Ryan had a transcendent year in 2016, making the leap from good to great while leading Atlanta to the NFC Championship. He led all quarterbacks with a 117.1 passer rating and was second in the league in both passing yards and touchdowns during the Falcons’ 11-5 campaign.
He hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down in the postseason, either. He threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-20 rout of the Seahawks last Saturday.
Winning the PWFA award is a good sign for Ryan’s chances to win Associated Press honors. The two organizations have tabbed the same player for MVP every year since 2003.
Ryan wasn’t the only player honored by the PWFA on Wednesday. Raiders pass rusher Khalil Mack earned the organization’s coveted Defensive Player of the Year award after terrorizing quarterbacks in 2016.
Mack’s sack total dropped from 15 to 11 this season, but he arguably made an even bigger impact this fall despite a dip in numbers. His ability to baffle blockers and create game-changing turnovers made him a focal point for any offense unfortunate enough to face him.
Mack is the first Raider to ever win the PWFA’s top defensive honor. Ryan is the first Falcon to claim its MVP award.
Mack and Ryan, unsurprisingly, were both members of the PWFA’s All-Pro team, released earlier this week. For more previews of the upcoming AP awards, you can also check out the organization’s rookie awards, which honored Ezekiel Elliott and Joey Bosa on Tuesday.