Matt Ryan’s ‘Man Move’ Earns Strong Reaction From Colts Captain

Quenton Nelson

Getty Indianapolis Colts right guard Quenton Nelson sent a strong message about quarterback Matt Ryan.

The Indianapolis Colts snapped their 3-game losing streak in a 25-20 victory against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 10. A lot of the social media buzz is about interim head coach Jeff Saturday, but much of the credit should be given to quarterback Matt Ryan.

Returning from his benching nearly three weeks ago, Ryan posted a 75% completion percentage and averaged 7.9 yards per pass. He also accounted for 2 touchdowns in the victory.

Ryan probably didn’t need this performance to win the respect of his teammates. He already had that. But the 37-year-old quarterback appears now be revered in the locker room not just because he got the Colts back in the win column, but for how he handled the past three weeks.

“An absolute pro since he walked in the building,” guard Quenton Nelson said of Ryan when speaking to The Athletic’s Zak Keefer after beating the Raiders. “The way he handled Sam coming in and being named the starter was unbelievable. It was like the biggest man move I’ve ever seen.”

Nelson Delivers Message About Ryan

To further cement his point about Ryan’s “unbelievable” character and selflessness, Nelson shared a story from the past couple weeks.

“I remember I was in the training room and I just see him [Ryan] talking to Sam [Ehlinger] after a game,” Nelson said. “And then I get done getting treatment, and he’s still talking to him.

“And then I go lift, and he’s still talking to him, trying to help him as much as he can … we want to block our best for a guy like that.”

That’s exactly what the Colts offensive line did for Ryan against the Raiders. Ryan had more time in the pocket than any previous game this season. Las Vegas recorded only 1 quarterback hit and 1 sack of Ryan in the contest.

With a clean pocket most of the afternoon, Ryan had one of his best games of the season, throwing for 222 yards and a touchdown.

Something to Build On For Colts Offensive Line

In addition to the strong pass protection, the Colts also had their best day on the ground of this season. Running back Jonathan Taylor returned from his ankle injury and ran for 147 yards, which was his highest total since Week 1. It was also the first time Taylor eclipsed the 80-yard mark since the first game of the season.

Taylor rushed for a 66-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.

Indianapolis finished with a season-high 207 rushing yards versus Las Vegas. The Colts averaged just 75.4 rushing yards per game from Weeks 2-9.

Prior to Week 10, the Colts had fewer than 79 rushing yards in three of the previous four games.

Indianapolis received strong grades from Pro Football Focus for the team’s offensive performance against Las Vegas. The offensive line scored particularly well in the PFF grades.

The Colts line earned its best pass blocking grade of the season and its best run blocking grade since Week 1. The Raiders’ underperforming defensive line could have something to do with those strong grades, but Nelson could be correct too — the Colts front blocked their best with Ryan back in the lineup.

That’s something to build on as Indianapolis hosts a much tougher opponent with a stronger pass rush in the Philadelphia Eagles during Week 11.

Read More