Veteran Matt Ryan lost his starting job with the Indianapolis Colts in large part because of his lack of mobility.
But ironically, it was Ryan’s mobility in Week 10 that helped fuel the Colts to a 25-20 victory against the Las Vegas Raiders.
With under 7 minutes remaining in regulation, Ryan scrambled for 39 yards to the Raiders 36-yard line. The 39-yard run, which was the longest of his 15-yard NFL career, ignited the Colts’ game-winning touchdown drive.
Ryan, though, didn’t take much credit for the play. He told the media during his postgame press conference that new play caller Parks Frazier called a great play and added that he simply made the most of his opportunity.
“Maybe if I was a little faster, I could have scored,” Ryan said when talking about his career-long run. “But I did the best I could.”
Ryan Makes Personal History With 39-Yard Run
Not only was the 39-yard run the longest of Ryan’s NFL career, it alone could account for the most rushing yards Ryan had ever previously posted in a single contest.
Ryan had never even recorded 30 rushing yards in a game before Week 10. His previous career high in rushing was 29 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017.
Even the quarterback admitted his long run versus the Raiders was unusual.
“I’m not used to being in the open field for that long,” said Ryan.
Ryan’s run proved to be a vital play. The Colts were down by a point at their own 25-yard line and facing third-and-3 when Ryan scampered for 39 yards. The play placed Indianapolis on the fringe of field-goal range.
A field goal wouldn’t be necessary, though, as Ryan found Michael Pittman for a 9-yard gain and then Parris Campbell for a 35-yard touchdown on the next two snaps. With those big chunk plays, the Colts regained a 5-point lead.
It was just enough, as the Colts held on to beat the Raiders and improved to 4-5-1.
Ryan Credits New Colts Play Caller For Career-Long Run
The gaping hole Ryan took advantage of to record the longest run of his career happened for a reason, and the quarterback said it was because of his first-time play caller Parks Frazier.
“A really good play call by Parks [Frazier]. We kind of went with some tempo there to try and see if we could pick something up — get a guy in space,” said Ryan. “But with that being said, it opened up kind of a running lane to the right and it was man-to-man coverage so everybody was kind of flowing to the left, and got out.”
One can see what Ryan is talking about on a replay of the run. It didn’t feel like the Raiders had a defender on the entire right side of the field when the quarterback took off running.
Ryan also credited wide receiver Parris Campbell and Ashton Dulin for blocks on the key play.
Despite the play call and blocks from the receivers, the run won’t go down as the prettiest 39-yard gain in NFL history. But the result was exactly what the Colts needed at the time.
“We were at the point of the game where we needed to make plays. We needed to do something,” said Ryan. “We didn’t need to press or anything like that, but when you get your chance, you gotta make them.”
Ryan made them with both his arm and legs in Week 10.