Matt Ryan Offers Positives for Colts Receivers in Week 1

Matt Ryan

Getty Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan offered some positives for the team's wide receivers to take from Week 1.

With the exception of Michael Pittman Jr., the Indianapolis Colts young wide receivers had a rough debut to the 2022 season. Dropped passes, including in the end zone, plagued the group in the 20-20 tie against the Houston Texans.

Ashton Dulin, Parris Campbell and Mike Strachan each recorded a reception of at least 20 yards, but no other Colts pass catcher besides Pittman posted more than 50 receiving yards in the entire game despite quarterback Matt Ryan throwing for 352 yards.

Still, Ryan offered words of encouragement for the Colts receiver group in front of the media after the game.

“The one thing I saw from all of them is they keep competing,” said Ryan in his postgame press conference.

Ryan Compliments Strachan, Pierce

While the Colts didn’t have a second receiver with more than 50 receiving yards, Dunlin, Campbell and Strachan each had more than 35 yards.

Strachan made 2 catches for 36 yards. His second catch went for 16 yards on the second play of Indianapolis’ game-tying touchdown drive. In essence, Strachan helped start the drive that proved vital for Indianapolis earning the tie.

Ryan specifically complimented Strachan for that play during his postgame presser.

“I think that’s a big step for his maturation making those kind of plays,” Ryan said. “I thought he played nice for us.”

Ryan also mentioned rookie Alec Pierce by name. Pierce had about as rough of an NFL debut as a receiver can experience. Despite playing 47 snaps, he received only 2 targets. One of those targets was a dropped in the end zone. The other pass in his direction also fell incomplete, and Pierce took a helmet to the head from a Texans defender.

The play resulted in a personal foul penalty. Pierce spent time with the Colts training staff on the sideline after the collision.

“Alec [Pierce] did a great job coming back, big hit, staying in there, staying tough. I thought that was encouraging,” Ryan said. “Those guys are going to continue to grow for us, and we need them to. If we’re going to have the kind of team we want to be, we need them to grow, and I think they will.”

Pittman Records Huge Week 1

Ryan is absolutely correct that the Colts need their young receivers to grow. At the moment, the only proven receive Indianapolis has is Pittman. If that continues to be the case for much longer, Pittman is going to draw a lot of double coverage, which could hurt his production.

There was nothing wrong with Pittman’s production in Week 1, though, as he led the Colts with 9 catches and 121 receiving yards. He also scored the game-tying touchdown with under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

He’s a talented player, a great competitor and I’m fired up to play with him,” said Ryan.

However, Ryan also said that “we’re going to need to play well, all of us are,” rather than just having a connection with Pittman in order to win in the “competitive” NFL.

Dunlin was second among Colts receivers in Week 1 with 46 receiving yards while Campbell recorded 37 yards. Running back Nyheim Hines finished second among all Colts pass catchers with 6 receptions and 50 receiving yards.

Tight end Mo Alie-Cox had 2 catches and 26 yards.

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