LAS VEGAS – After a third-and-one call that went wrong – Matt Ryan took a 14-yard sack, and Chase McLaughlin missed a 48-yard field goal on the next play – Parks Frazier said the word "maybe" into his headset.
Interim head coach Jeff Saturday quickly cut him off.
"Parks, you've called an incredible game up to that point," Saturday told him. "You don't back down a bit."
With Frazier pulling the strings from the coaches' booth atop Allegiant Stadium, the Colts' offense was aggressive and found balance, efficiency and explosiveness in Sunday's 25-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Jonathan Taylor ripped off a 66-yard touchdown run, his longest play of the 2022 season. Matt Ryan diced the Raiders' defense for 222 yards on 21 of 28 passing and scampered 39 yards for the longest rushing play of his career – a play possible because of "a really good play call by Parks."
And the Colts averaged seven yards per play, a season high; one week after going 0/14 on third down, the Colts converted six of 11 third down tries.
"Not a single play worked because of me," Frazier told the Colts' locker room after the game, "because of you guys."
The guys who executed Frazier's play calls, though, turned the praise back on their first-time playcaller.
"I thought Parks did a hell of a job," quarterback Matt Ryan said. "That's a hard situation. And the first time doing it, to come on the road, to have all the changes that we had this week — I thought he did a great job."
Frazier, in collaboration with assistants like quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich and running backs coach Scottie Montgomery, put together a streamlined gameplan designed to allow the Colts' offense to execute better. As tight end Kylen Granson put it: "Simple and effective, baby."
And players held a deep trust in Frazier, who's been on the Colts' offensive coaching staff since 2018 and earned a promotion to pass game specialist/assistant quarterbacks coach this year.
"Parks is so involved in the offense," wide receiver Parris Campbell said. "He's been that way, even when Frank (Reich) and Marcus (Brady) were here. He's always just been so involved and so in-tune. He knows so much about the offense. Definitely no concerns there."
"I felt like Parks, the way the flow of the game was going, he always had something dialed up," Taylor added. "We knew this — Parks has been with us even before I got here, Parks has been with us. He knows the offense inside and out. It was only right for Parks to be able to be in this position and he just knows how the flow of the game was going."
Only two of the Colts' 57 plays before two end-of-game kneel downs lost yardage; 33 of those 57 plays went for four or more yards as the offense consistently stayed on schedule and kept the Raiders' defense off balance. Fantastic pass protection certainly helped – Ryan was pressured on only five of his 30 dropbacks – but Frazier found a flow on Sunday, one the Colts' offense can build on going forward in 2022.
"Parks is going to be a really good coach in this league for a long time," Ryan said.