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3 takeaways from Matt Ryan’s putrid performance vs Pittsburgh

The Indianapolis Colts were back on national TV for the second time this season. But in this case, Matt Ryan and Co. were on Monday Night Football, hosting Pittsburgh.

Yes, it was a home game, even though the Pittsburgh fans were loud enough to make you think it might actually be an away game. One bit of good news is that this performance on national TV was much more entertaining than the last time.

The result was different as they lost 24-17 and set a new record for ineptitude. The play they got from their starting quarterback in Ryan’s tenth start was one of his worst of the season. The only other games that are in consideration are the aforementioned Denver game and the shutout from Jacksonville. Let’s get to the review of Ryan’s performance from Monday night.

One of the worst first-half performances of all time

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

There is only one other first half that comes close to this one from the Colts, and it was Frank Reich’s last game as head coach. Now, in that game against New England, both teams were terrible. In this game against Pittsburgh, only Indianapolis was dreadful, as their first-half stats show.

  • 4 first downs
  • 71 total yards
  • 3.2 yards per play
  • 29 yards passing (2.1 yards per pass)
  • 42 yards rushing
  • 1 turnover
  • 8:02 minutes time of possession

That is just a pitifully run offense from Matt Ryan. And looking at his individual first-half stats are even worse. He completed 5-of-13 passes for 36 yards, for 2.8 per attempt, and one interception. Thankfully, he was able to turn it around a little after halftime. But again, it wasn’t enough.

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Matt Ryan is a machine, a turnover machine

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan leads the NFL in turnovers with 23. He’s thrown 10 interceptions, the third most by a QB. And he’s tied for first in fumbles with 13. In last night’s game, he threw his aforementioned 10th interception, and the prior play could have been intercepted as well.

He was also charged with a fumble that could have easily been given to Jonathan Taylor. It’s still amazing that he did not recover the football when it appears he landed right on top of it.

Regardless, later in the game, with the Colts trying to come back and tie, he fumbled again. This time they were able to recover it. Prior to this matchup, he had gone four straight games without a fumble and two straight without an interception.

Related: NFL QB Rankings: Trevor Lawrence’s clutch performance lands Jacksonville QB in top 15

Is Ryan’s decline due to Father Time or injury?

Matt Ryan
Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

In last week’s takeaways, it was brought up that his ability to throw the ball accurately and on time might be compromised. This week it was even more obvious and apparent. At this time, it is still uncertain if he has lost a lot of zip on his passes or if his shoulder injury is worse than what’s being reported.

A lot of people are just ignoring or forgetting his shoulder injury to his throwing shoulder. However, over the last couple of games, he has routinely been putting his receivers in position to take some huge hits. So far, those guys are absorbing them and continuing on but it’s only a matter of time before injuries start to mount

As of this writing, Jeff Saturday and the Colts will continue to start Ryan at quarterback. It will be interesting to see how much longer this happens. Saturday has said that the best 11 guys who give the team the best chance to win will play. 

Right now, Ryan’s play hasn’t been on that level. However, the alternatives aren’t a whole heck of a lot better. And that is what is currently keeping Ryan in as the starter.

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