INDIANAPOLIS – The clip went viral almost immediately.
Which isn’t a surprise when it comes to Quenton Nelson, the rare offensive lineman with his own highlight reel.
The most recent addition to his greatest hits collection came Sunday, and Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram was the victim.
Working against left tackle Anthony Castonzo, Ingram attempted to spin toward the inside and create a faster path to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
Nelson had other plans.
As Ingram came out of his turn, Nelson stepped to his left and unleashed a block that sent the defender sprawling.
The video was such a hit it warranted additional camera angles, each one revealing a more violent scene.
Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, a Pro Bowler in his own right, referred to Nelson as a “monster” as he prepares for their matchup this weekend at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn.
It’s not a stretch to refer to Nelson, the sixth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, as an offensive weapon. He’s a deterrent to pass rushers and a road-grader for a running game that produced 203 yards in the opener.
“He’s probably our No. 1 offensive threat,” Brissett said before quickly amending his rankings. “One of two or three or four. Yeah, he’s one of our offensive threats. He’s definitely fun to play behind. You gain confidence looking into his eyes, and his mannerisms during the game just gives you so much confidence for you to play well.”
Nelson shrugs off such talk.
He’s quick to pass the credit on to his teammates along the offensive line or give praise to running back Marlon Mack, Brissett and the other skill position stars.
But there’s no denying the joy he takes in his job.
Nelson wore a hat during the off season with “Run the damn ball” emblazoned on the crown, and he embodies the Colts’ growing identity as a smash-mouth group.
He’s a throwback to the days when football players wore mullets and handle-bar mustaches (though Nelson’s was shaved clean Friday).
An all-pro as a rookie, he’s also well on his way to living up to the incredible hype that surrounded his entrance into the NFL.
Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay immediately drew comparisons to one of the all-time greats – former New England Patriots left guard John Hannah – and there were serious discussions about the potential of Nelson being the top talent available in a deep draft class.
Those predictions don’t yet appear to be far off the mark some 19 games into Nelson’s career.
“He is a weapon,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said. “You saw what he did to Melvin Ingram on that one play. That’s something that teams see on film, and that can slow down a pass rush. When you gotta think about making an inside move and this guy may be coming back out … What I love about Quenton is his mindset is just to be physical, play within the rules but be as physical as you can, and that helps set the tone for our offense.”
Former Indianapolis wide receiver Reggie Wayne is among the first-year players eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
A three-time all-pro selection, Wayne ranks seventh in NFL history with 1,070 career receptions and 10th with 14,345 career receiving yards.
He was at his best when the games mattered most. In 21 career playoff games, Wayne had 93 catches for 1,254 yards and nine touchdowns.
“He’s the consummate pro as far as I’m concerned and (a) great player,” said Reich, who was an offensive assistant with the Colts from 2006-11. “I learned a lot working with him and watching him play. Now, even coaching here and having him come back last year, his presence. I’m just happy for him and (it’s) well-deserved (praise) so far.”
Defensive end Kemoko Turay missed the entire practice week nursing a neck injury and is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Titans. Reich said the status of the second-year pass rusher will be a game-time decision.
If Turay can’t go, rookie Ben Banogu figures to play a bigger role after recording a half-sack last week in his NFL debut.
Defensive end Jabaal Sheard (knee) and running back Jonathan Williams (rib) have been ruled out for this week’s game.
Tennessee will play without right guard Kevin Pamphile (knee) and linebacker Reggie Gilbert (knee). Running back David Fluellen (hamstring) is questionable.
Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan also will miss the contest as he serves the second game of a four-game suspension.