INDIANAPOLIS – Enough was enough.
And there was no argument from Ryan Kelly.
The Indianapolis Colts’ three-time Pro Bowl center had been part of an offensive line than had allowed 21 sacks and 73 quarterback pressures in the first five games.
“At some point, the nozzle’s got to be shut off,’’ Kelly said.
That was the case Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium as Kelly and the offensive line went into serious pass-protection mode in a 34-27 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With top running backs Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines out, coach Frank Reich turned to a no-huddle, pass-heavy approach. He took it to the extreme as Deon Jackson and Phillip Lindsay combined for just 49 yards on 15 attempts.
Matt Ryan? He attempted 58 passes and completed a franchise-record 42 for 389 yards and three touchdowns.
A miffed offensive line made it possible.
It allowed zero sacks.
Not impressed? The 58 attempts were the most in franchise history without including at least one sack. They were the 5th-most in NFL history, and the most since Peyton Manning’s 59 attempts for Denver against Tennessee in 2013. The league record: Drew Bledsoe’s 70 attempts for New England against Minnesota in 1994.
“I think we just came out with the mindset that this league is a copycat league,’’ Kelly said, adding the incessant pressure “is never going to stop until we put a stop to it.
“If Jacksonville saw what worked for Denver, they’re going to do it to us.’’
The Jaguars really didn’t need to steal much for the Broncos, who were credited with 12 hits, including 6 sacks of Ryan in the Colts’ overtime win in Denver in week 5.
In its 24-0 rout of the Colts in week 2, Jacksonville generated 11 hits and 5 sacks of Ryan.
Sunday? Six hits but no sacks.
“The o-line was special,’’ Reich said. “We threw how many times? Fifty-eight . . . 58. And we didn’t give up a sack. So, hat’s off to the o-line.’’
That Amen came from Ryan.
“Our offensive line, it’s not easy,’’ he said. “I give those guys a lot of credit. It’s not easy to drop back and pass the ball that many times and hold up like they did.
“Every lineman I’ve ever played with wants to run the ball, wants to run the ball, and we’ve got to. Those guys . . . they gutted it up, went out there and fought.’’
Reich’s decision to use the no-huddle aided pass protection.
“Having tempo like that tires them out, keeps them out of their exotic stuff,’’ Kelly said.
More o-line shuffling
The offensive line turned in its best performance of the season while dealing with more shuffling; heading into the game and during the game.
The Colts went with their third different starting combination in as many games: rookie Bernhard Raimann at left tackle, Quenton Nelson at left guard, Kelly at center, Matt Pryor at right guard and Braden Smith at right tackle. The previous game at Denver saw Pryor at right tackle and Smith at right guard. In week 4, Will Fries replaced Danny Pinter at right guard.
After Raimann handled the first two series at left tackle, veteran Dennis Kelly replaced him. The idea was to rotate Raimann and Kelly, but position coach Chris Strausser stuck with Kelly after he performed so well.
It was Kelly’s first offensive snaps of the season.
“Dennis got in there and he just looked good,’’ Reich said. “And so I told Strauss, ‘Hey, it’s your call, Strauss.’ I have the position coaches manage that in the game.
“I think he just saw Dennis get in a rhythm and felt good about it.’’
Milestone for Ryan
Ryan’s best game as a Colt pushed him into the No. 7 slot for most passing yards in NFL history. He sits at 61,500, and is ahead of Dan Marino (61,361).
It carried meaning.
“I’m proud of that,’’ Ryan said. “You know, I’ve gotten to know Dan since I got into the league back in 2008. And I love him. He was like the ultimate guy when I was growing up. He would sling it, you know?
“And I remember the first time I met him, he’s like, ‘Hey, no matter what happens, man, keep slinging it.’ And I was like 23 at the time and I was like, ‘That’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard.
“You know anytime you’re mentioned in the same breath as Dan, it’s pretty cool and I’m proud of that.’’
Spreading it around
Seven different players had at least two receptions. Michael Pittman Jr. set career highs with 13 catches and 134 yards while running back Deon Jackson did likewise with 10 catches for 79 yards.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Pittman and Jackson were the first teammates with eight receptions in a first half since Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez with Atlanta in week 5 of 2012. Ryan was the Falcons’ quarterback.
Pittman notched his fifth 100-yard outing in his 35th game. Only T.Y. Hilton (11) has more 100-yard games in his first 35.
This and that
Linebacker Bobby Okereke led the Colts with 13 tackles, followed by linebacker Zaire Franklin’s 11. . . . The Colts 4 sacks belonged to Grover Stewart, Tyquan Lewis, DeForest Buckner and Ifeadi Odenigbo. . . . Jacksonville’s 243 rushing yards were its most in a loss. . . . The Colts converted 10-of-15 times on third down.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.