Matt Ryan got left out to dry on Sunday and paid the price. It was as if his offensive line forgot to do the one thing that it is supposed to do — block.
After getting out to an early 7-0 lead over the Chiefs, the Colts got the ball back and faced 4th-and-1 at midfield. Rather than coffin corner punting and pinning Kansas City back or trying a record-long field goal, Indianapolis decided to go for it.
It was the right call, and analytics agree, but things did not go well. At all.
Rather than handing the ball off to Jonathan Taylor, or even trying a QB sneak, the Colts tried to throw for the first down. The decision wasn’t necessarily a bad one, because the Chiefs stacked the box and expected a run. The execution couldn’t have been worse.
Ryan took the snap, faked the play-action, and took a short three-step (ish) drop. Before he could even get his bearings, he was sacked and fumbled. It wasn’t a standard tackle, it was a slobberknocker.
Ryan got crushed. L’Jarius Sneed came flying off of the edge and threw him down like a rag doll.
Credit where credit is due— Sneed timed his blitz perfectly. But with that being said, his path to the quarterback couldn’t have been easier. He went untouched into the backfield and nobody so much as laid a finger on him before he laid all 10 fingers (and more) on Ryan.
Although the offensive line was occupied, someone needed to recognize the extra rusher and slide down. Taylor was also caught in no man’s land and should have picked up Sneed.
In addition, the corner blitz left Michael Pittman wide open over the middle for an easy first down. Ryan needed to pull the trigger and get the ball out, but ended up face down in the turf instead. Ouch.