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3 things Matt Ryan must do to help Indianapolis Colts get their first win in Week 3

Chris Phillips

The Indianapolis Colts and quarterback Matt Ryan are off to their worst start in the era of head coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard. Sure the team is 0-1-1, which is much better than their 0-2 starts that have become a bit more common. However, the start to the 2022 season feels worse than any of the other previous poor starts. Now, in their home opener, they take on a Kansas City Chiefs team in mid-season form. 

The Colts will be looking for that elusive first win in a year many thought (myself included) the team would be 2-0 when taking on Kansas City. In the offseason, the team made some additions to help bolster the roster and resolve some of the biggest problem areas. So far, those additions have not made the team any better.

Related: NFL scores – Get the latest stats for Week 3 in the NFL

In fact, the addition of quarterback Matt Ryan has been the worst of the bunch thus far. So, what can he do to help the Colts get the win in Week 3?

Matt Ryan needs to cut down on the turnovers

matt ryan, indianapolis colts
Credit: USA Today Network

One of the biggest things Ryan can do to help the Colts win is to not turn the ball over. Through his first two games, he has four interceptions, and to quote the great Bob Lamey, “fumbled the freaking football” five times, losing one. To provide some context Ryan averages 12 interceptions and 6 fumbles in a season.

So, he’s already a third of the way to his yearly average in interceptions and almost to his total fumbles. If he keeps this pace up he’ll blow his career highs in these two categories out of the water by a mile. These are of course very unrealistic expectations. However, it is quite possible he does set a career-high in fumbles. It is reasonable to expect the interceptions rate to come down.

This Kansas City defense does not present a daunting obstacle. This should be a welcome sight even though both Jacksonville and Houston’s defenses are not daunting either. Here’s how Kansas City’s defense fairs.

  • 21st in pass defense, averaging 252.5 yards and giving up a total of five touchdowns
  • 11th in rush defense, averaging 89 yards and only giving up one touchdown
  • 19th in scoring defense, allowing on average 22.5 points per game
  • 6th in allowing third-down conversions at 28.6%
  • 23rd in allowing fourth-down conversions at 87.5%
  • 26th in allowing red zone touchdowns at 75%

This game presents itself as a good opportunity for Ryan to get himself and the offense on track. Frank Clark and Chris Jones are the two biggest concerns for the Colts.

Michael Pittman Jr is great but he can’t be the entire passing game

In Week 1 Michael Pittman, Jr. had nine catches for 121-yards and one touchdown. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter and overtime that the rest of the passing offense got some life in it. It was somewhat logical to say the passing offense got off to a slow start. And that once they got going it will carry over into the next week.

Then the following week he hurt his quad and missed the game. Rookie Alec Pierce also missed the game due to not clearing concussion protocol. This elevated Parris Campbell to be the team’s number-one wide receiver. And added more opportunity for the rest of the wide receivers to validate the belief Ballard has in them.

Matt Ryan completed 53.3% of his passes for 195 scoreless yards. Ryan needs to get the rest of his receivers and playmakers going and more involved. The passing game can’t just rely on MPJ. The team should have other talented players but it’s on Ryan to make this offense work.

Get a consistent offense going

matt ryan, indianapolis colts
Credit: USA Today Network

Through two games this Colts offense has scored a total of 20 points, with 17 of them coming in one quarter. In Week 2 the Colts’ opening drive was moving the ball successfully until Ryan’s first pick of the game. After that drive, the offense never really got going.

As a whole, the Colts’ offense has struggled to consistently move the ball. There are drives in a game that fail to move the ball. It happens, however, most of the time the team is able to successfully move the ball. It’s not just on Ryan to get the offense in a rhythm. Some of the responsibility falls on Reich.

However, Ryan is not a rookie this is his 15th year in the NFL. He should be good enough to recognize the defense and get the offense into a better play and then execute the play. We heard all during training camp that Ryan was holding his teammates accountable. Through two games it doesn’t look like that is the case any longer. It would be nice to see Ryan yelling at his offensive line like Peyton Manning famously did.

There is enough talent that this Colts team should never be shut out by an opponent again. This week’s matchup profiles as two defenses that will make the offenses look unstoppable. The Colts can come away with another victory over Kansas City and move to 2-1 against Patrick Mahomes. It will start with Ryan having the best game of his Colts career to make it happen.

Which can simply be not turning the ball over, getting more playmakers involved, and moving the offense consistently.