The Colts offensive line continues to be the driving force behind the team and has anchored the 5-2 record sitting on top of the AFC South.
Every week on Tuesday I go back and look at the coaching film on NFL Game Pass and analyze how the Colts won every play they did and what they need to improve on. This week, it was the Texans who came up short because of the Colts’ domination of the trenches.
Growing up, kids look up to receivers and quarterbacks; faces of the franchise so-to-speak. However, sometimes it’s not those players who win the game or contribute to the game in a big fashion. Besides the fact that both Zach Pascal and Jacoby Brissett had career days, the offensive line dominated the Texans’ defensive front all-day.
In particular, Quenton Nelson continues to play like one of the best interior offensive linemen in the game, maybe even ever. In 430 snaps, he’s only committed one penalty and hasn’t allowed a sack. Nelson went against D.J. Reader multiple times on running plays and pushed him back and also had one pancake block on him. He also had a pancake block of the safety on the Pascal touchdown pass. Nelson continues to outplay his draft position and is the anchor to an offensive line that ranks in the top 10 currently.
Anthony Castonzo and Braden Smith are also in the top 20 of their position. Costanzo being 3rd and Smith being 14th. Both have been on the field for every one of the offensive snaps and both have around a 75 run-blocking rating. Even more impressive is the lack of penalties being committed for how many running plays they have run. Between Castonzo and Smith in 860 plays, they’ve allowed 1 sack and committed 2 penalties for15 yards.
The Colts’ offensive line has led to one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL this season. The tenth-ranked rushing offense is averaging 128 yards per game, but lacking in the touchdown category with only 3. However, they are averaging 4.2 yards per carry and 30 attempts per game, which is ranked 5th. The teams ahead of them in attempts per game are San Francisco at 39 Baltimore with Lamar Jackson at 37, Vikings at 32, and Seahawks at 31, all rushing teams who go run first.
Marlon Mack is having a fantastic year. He has 119 attempts with 514 yards and a 4.3 average with two of the three rushing touchdowns. Ranked 22nd in the league, he’s played 270 snaps with 128 being runs. What’s keeping him back is the receiving skills. Nyheim Hines is taking the cake on third down and using his speed against man-coverage linebackers.
The Colts have many weapons on offense this year, none other than the offensive line which continues to impress Colts fans and the NFL media.