Through four games, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan has fumbled nine times. His career-high in a season is 12.
Ryan has already fumbled the ball more times this season than he has in all but three other seasons throughout this 15-year career. It’s a troubling development even if the majority of them have been recovered by the offense.
Ryan himself has no answers despite this issue plaguing him for a month.
“Certainly have to do something different. I think you’ve just got to protect it better. This week will be a short week. There’s not going to be a lot of physical work to do it,” Ryan told the media after the game. “I go back to I think I’ve been pretty good throughout my career. It’s been a very uncharacteristic four-game stretch. It’s something I’ve got to clean up and got to be better at.”
In total, Ryan has five interceptions and two fumbles for loss through the team’s first four games. In hopes of gaining stability at the quarterback position, Ryan has proven to be the complete opposite.
Granted, the offensive line hasn’t given him much to work with. Between the established pieces in Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly and Braden Smith failing to meet expectations, and the new pieces in Matt Pryor and Danny Pinter failing to instill any confidence, the offensive line has been a disaster.
Through four games, they’ve allowed 15 sacks and 33 quarterback hits. Some of that blame is on Ryan for holding the ball too long or thinking he can evade a rush. But the offensive line has been the main culprit for the entire unit’s struggles early on in the season.
There have been flashes, though. In two of his games, Ryan has posted 352 passing yards (Week 1) and 356 passing yards (Week 4). He also had a solid line against the Chiefs, posting a 73% completion rate, 222 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Even after falling down 1-2-1 and with the offense still working out the kinks, Ryan’s quarterback cliches are in mid-season form.
“I think we’ve got the right makeup, the right kind of guys. It’s a group that comes to work the right way every day. There’s a level of intensity and focus, and I think the way we’ve kind of been in games throughout the year shows that,” Ryan said. “Certainly not in the positions we want to be in, but there’s no letup, there’s no lack of fight or grit. All of that stuff is there.”
The slow start to the season isn’t all on Ryan. Nearly every position group has attributed one way or another. But change has to come quickly, and that starts with Ryan taking better care of the football.