The Colts’ new QB to WR pairing appears poised for a lot of success come 2022—with a savvy veteran and potential breakout Pro Bowler.
According to NFL.com’s Kevin Patra, the Indianapolis Colts have the NFL’s 3rd best new quarterback to wide receiver combo, featuring veteran quarterback Matt Ryan and 3rd-year wideout Michael Pittman Jr.—trailing only the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos respectively:
Indianapolis Colts · QB
Indianapolis Colts · WR
The Colts continue to shuffle through QBs, with Matt Ryan representing the fifth starter since Frank Reich became the head coach in 2018. The former NFL MVP isn’t what he once was and is coming off his first sub-4,000-yard season since 2010, but he can still put the ball on the money and isn’t afraid to stand in under pressure.
Last season, the Colts didn’t trust Carson Wentz down the stretch, leading to a regular-season collapse as the signal-caller threw for fewer than 200 yards in six of the final eight weeks. There should be no such concerns with Ryan.
The 37-year-old might have broken his streak of 10 straight seasons with 4,000 yards (second-longest all-time behind only Drew Brees) but it wasn’t by much, netting 3,968 yards last year on a Falcons team in shambles by the end of the season. He still completed 67 percent of his passes despite a decimated receiver corps behind Russell Gage.
Now he pairs up with Michael Pittman Jr., one of the burgeoning young receivers in the NFL. In his breakout sophomore season, Pittman proved he could win one-on-one matchups and beat double teams. Despite the Colts’ pass-game struggles, Pittman generated 1,082 yards on 88 catches with six TDs. No other Colts pass catcher even hit the 400-yard mark. It was Pittman or bust.
If he can produce with Wentz, imagine what he can do with Ryan.
For what it’s worth, Pittman Jr., who eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards last season to go along with his 6 touchdown receptions, has already noticed Ryan’s upgraded accuracy:
Matt Ryan doesn’t miss pic.twitter.com/V4ewTki1r0
— PFF (@PFF) May 31, 2022
And the pair already has budding chemistry with one another in team practices, meaning even better numbers could be in store for Pittman Jr. during next year’s campaign:
Beautiful intermediate throw from Matt Ryan to Michael Pittman Jr. Placed the ball just over the outstretched hand of a defender. #Colts
— George Bremer (@gmbremer) June 9, 2022
Michael Pittman Jr. gets into the act with a leaping grab in traffic. Another well placed ball by Matt Ryan. #Colts
— George Bremer (@gmbremer) June 8, 2022
— Pittman has been really good the past few days. Him and Ryan are in sync. Impressive grab over the middle in heavy traffic today
— 2 more great throws from MR: corner TD to Campbell, then a perfect deep ball (35-40yds) to Hines in between 2 defenders
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) June 8, 2022
Pittman only continues to get better, and it’s not out of the question—at all, that he could put together a Pro Bowl season for the Colts in 2022—especially with Ryan’s consistency, decision-making, and ball placement now in the fold:
The most exciting #ReceptionPerception profile that hit the site yesterday: Michael Pittman.
– 96th percentile success rate vs. press
– Shades of Allen Robinson/Keenan Allen in RP
– Looks like a legit No. 1 WR
Full profile:https://t.co/oomw57XLfu pic.twitter.com/en8wLjeMir
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) June 7, 2022
Michael Pittman was 55th in target accuracy with Carson Wentz 2021.
In Julio Jones, Russell Gage, and Kyle Pitts’ most recent seasons with Matt Ryan, none finished worse than 15th in target accuracy. https://t.co/gRHFge1WBg
— Zareh Kantzabedian (@ZKantzFF) June 8, 2022
While Patra ranks the Raiders’ Derek Carr and Davante Adams, as well as the Broncos’ Russell Wilson and Jerry Jeudy ahead of the Colts’ new offensive version of ‘Batman and Robin’, don’t be surprised if Indianapolis features a Top 10 potential pairing here when it’s all said and done—and that’s league wide, not just new.
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