- Matt Ryan led the Indianapolis Colts to an improbable victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
- On a key play, Ryan rushed for a career-long 39 yards, giving the Colts a much-needed first down.
- With the run, Ryan became the oldest quarterback in NFL history to rush for his age on a play.
The Indianapolis Colts’ upset win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday was full of surprises.
Coming into the game, the Colts were led by new interim head coach Jeff Saturday, a former beloved player of the franchise that just days earlier had been providing morning show commentary at ESPN.
Just before kickoff, it became clear that Saturday had decided to give the starting quarterback job back to veteran Matt Ryan, who had lost the role a few weeks earlier to Sam Ehlinger under the previous coaching regime.
The Colts entered the game as four-point underdogs, and given their new head coach had never coached before at the professional or even collegiate level, it felt like the number might be a bit short. But after a late game-winning drive from Ryan, Saturday and Indianapolis walked out of Las Vegas as winners.
But the biggest surprise on the field came not from any coaching drama, but from a play Ryan made. At 37 years old, and with 15 seasons of NFL experience under his belt, Ryan ran for a career-long 39 yards on a play.
The Colts had been facing third-and-3 late in the fourth quarter, trailing the Raiders 20-19, and were in desperate need of a first down.
With little scrambling prowess even in his younger years, Ryan would not have been expected to dash free out of the pocket. But with the pocket collapsing around him, he did just that.
After he picked up the first down, there still was no one around to stop him, so Ryan just kept running.
—NFL (@NFL) November 13, 2022
Not only did the run from Ryan set up a game-winning touchdown that would come just a few plays later, it also secured Ryan an oddly specific bit of NFL history. Ryan became the oldest quarterback in NFL history to rush for his age on a play.
Obviously we’ve seen plenty of quarterbacks break off long runs, and in the modern NFL, mobile quarterbacks are becoming more and more the norm. Further, with Tom Brady now playing at 45 years old, and Aaron Rodgers being 38, coming off back-to-back MVP seasons, Ryan playing at 37 years old might not seem as astounding a feat as it actually is.
But historically, not a lot of quarterbacks have played into their late 30s, and the rushing quarterbacks that are now in vogue have yet to reach this veteran age bracket.
Before Ryan’s 39 at 37, the oldest quarterback to accomplish the feat was Bubby Brister of the Denver Broncos, who at 36 years old, rushed for a 38-yard touchdown on Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs on November 16, 1998.
Nearly 24 years to the day later, Ryan did one better.