Colts stalled offense gets jump start with no-huddle

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Matt Ryan finally got the Colts stalled offense moving.

Whether the up-tempo style becomes a weekly staple has not been decided.

Just days after Indianapolis delivered its most productive performance all season, coach Frank Reich remains non-committal on whether he will continue using the no-huddle offense as much as they did last weekend. Ryan, for one, isn’t opposed — especially after throwing 58 passes.

“You do what you have to do in order to win football games,” Ryan said. “Obviously, that’s not going to be every week where you’re throwing the football that much. The good part about our guys is, to a man, they’re not really worried about how we do it. It’s just finding a way to get it done.”

For the first five games, the Colts (3-2-1) did not accomplish much.

They settled for a tie in Week 1 and were blanked in Week 2. Their second win came at Denver, courtesy of four field goals. They allowed 21 sacks and scored only six touchdowns, extending their streak of games without topping 20 points to seven. And during one stretch they went nearly 110 1/2 minutes of game time without reaching the end zone.

But Reich’s ploy against Jacksonville gave the offense a jump start and the team took full advantage.

Ryan set a franchise record with a career-high 42 completions, throwing for 389 yards to move into fifth on the NFL’s career list for 350-plus yard games (30) while passing Dan Marino for seventh in yards.

It wasn’t just Ryan having a big game.

Receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (13) and running back Deon Jackson (10) each finished with career-high receptions totals. Tight end Kylen Granson matched his career best with four catches. Rookie Alec Pierce had his most impressive game, capping it with the game-winning 32-yard TD catch.

Will they continue using it again Sunday at Tennessee with a chance to take the AFC South lead?

Reich won’t say exactly, noting his preference is to use more packages than they did last week.

“If you go no-huddle then you just have to say we’re going to be less multiple than we are when we’re huddling, and that’s fine,” Reich said. “We’ll continue to evaluate that week to week.”

In some ways, the storyline in these back-to-back division matchups seems awfully similar.

Jacksonville and Tennessee (3-2) have dominated the recent results in this series by relying on strong ground games, playing keep-away, building early leads and making Indy one-dimensional.

This year, the Colts are running for a paltry 3.5 yards per carry this season and have played all but one series of their past two games without defending NFL rushing champion Jonathan Taylor (ankle) or his backup Nyheim Hines (concussion protocol).

Reich won’t know till at least Friday whether Taylor, Hines or Jackson (quad) will be available against Tennessee and it could play a role in this week’s game plan.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel is reinforcing some simple principles with his defense, just in case.

“The substitutions, you have to be smart and make sure that they’re standing over the ball when they sub,” Vrabel said. “Whether that is going to be second down — I mean there were times they went on the ball after an incomplete pass. That is how they wanted to operate last week. We’ll see how they’re going to operate this week.”

Ryan’s only preference is to follow what works.

And if that means changing tactics during Sunday’s game, he’s ready for that, too.

“We’re not going to throw it 50 times every week. It’s just not going to happen,” the 15-year veteran said. “I don’t know how many times even in my career, but it’s less than a dozen. It happens occasionally, and when it does you have to make it work.”


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