NFL Offensive Line of The Week
My NFL Offensive Line of The Week for Week 6 goes to the Indianapolis Colts. This is a group that has become accustomed to being towards the top of the list when it comes to ranking offensive line play. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case this season. Injury & leach of depth have become a serious issue for this team. Add in a great player, but not the most mobile guys (especially at his age) at quarterback in Matt Ryan, and things could become very tricky. Ryan is one of the most sacked QB’s in the league at this juncture. Some of that is due to lack of athleticism, but overall, the play up front just hasn’t been very good.
The silver lining is their trio of Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, & Braden Smith are as good at their respective positions as anyone in the NFL. I’m never going to be the guy that outright bashes a player. As a former college and professional athlete myself, I understand the role media plays in creating a narrative and perception. However, when you appear the be the weak link as much as Bernhard Raimann has been, it’s pretty difficult to ignore. In the last two games alone, he’s accounted for almost 40% of the pressures alone & 50% of the sacks given up. He’s relatively new to the sport and shouldn’t have been out there so soon. Take it easy on
Let’s jump right into gameplay. The Colts are down 2021 rushing champ Jonathan Taylor & very serviceable back Nyheim Hines. They very clearly affected the run game, but third string running back Deon Jackson was still able to get 3.5 yards per carry on the ground. 12 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown isn’t the most absurd stat line, but it was more then serviceable enough given the situation. Nelson & Kelly specifically did a fantastic job creating vertical movement in the running game, especially on money downs. The Colts were a staggering 10-15 on 3rd downs. For an offensive line still figuring it out, this is sufficient.
For a team that has struggled to run the ball and in pass protection as much as the Colts, you’d be surprised that the game plan was to come out and chuck it around, but that’s exactly what they did Sunday. Matt Ryan was 42/58 for 389 yards, three touchdowns and ZERO interceptions. Days like that are only possible when your OL has a great day in the office. Were they helped out by play calling? Absolutely. More quick game and fast hitting routes were on full display. However, you don’t hit 7 different receivers on the day and have SIX have a reception 15 yards or more without great protection. Despite their struggles early, Matt Ryan wasn’t sacked once in 58 drop backs. Their best performance by far. NFL Offensive Line of The Week was earned.
Dennis Kelly, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Matt Pryor & Braden Smith– take a bow!
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