INDIANAPOLIS — Quenton Nelson has become well known across the NFL landscape for his ability to dominate whoever lands in his crosshairs, resulting in many highlight-reel moments.
But whether he's been serving up pancakes in the run game or simply stonewalling defenders in pass protection, it's the technique with which Nelson plays that really impresses those who pop in his game film.
As such, Nelson was recognized for that very part of his game this morning, as he was named the Week 7 recipient of the NFL's Way to Play Award, which "recognizes the excellence demonstrated by NFL players who exemplify proper technique to make impactful plays," according to the league.
Nelson will receive a $2,500 equipment grant through USA Football to be awarded to the local youth or high school football program of his choice.
The second-year Notre Dame product once again turned in a standout performance in the Colts' Week 7 victory over the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium, as he allowed just one total pressure all game, according to Pro Football Focus. Nelson also earned a season-best 85.9 PFF pass blocking grade, helping pave the way for quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who set career-highs with 326 passing yards, four passing touchdowns and a 126.7 passer rating.
Nelson, a First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection as a rookie last year, has been even more solid through six games this season, as he's fourth among NFL offensive linemen in PFF offensive grade (88.2), third in PFF run-blocking grade (85.8) and is tied for first in the league in fewest sacks allowed (0).
The Colts as a team are second in the NFL in fewest sacks allowed (seven) and sack percentage (3.38). Nelson's attitude and leadership ability are a huge reason for that, offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said.
"It is very contagious," Sirianni said Sept. 24. "Anytime you get a guy who just loves football that much – and it doesn't just take loving football, but it also takes the skill that he has. He is producing on the field. He is doing his job on the field. He loves ball. His toughness is contagious. I just think you see his toughness spread to everybody.
"He is always the first guy down to celebrate with his teammates. So that is just something that guys are attracted to and everybody wants to be in on that," Sirianni continued. "So Q brings a ton to the table not only in his style of play but also his leadership abilities in getting everybody going."
With all that considered, it's perhaps no surprise that Nelson caught the attention of the NFL Football Operations and Officiating departments, which select the top nominees each week for the NFL Way to Play award. Videos of those players' plays are then sent to an expert panel consisting of former NFL players Merril Hoge, Ronnie Lott, Willie McGinest, Orlando Pace and Michael Robinson, who narrow it down to one winner.
More on NFL Way To Play
Several NFL head coaches, current players and NFL Legends have created videos to assist in educating coaches and players. The videos provide coaching points of emphasis to execute proper technique and are to be used as an educational tool. To watch the videos and for more information on the NFL Way to Play, please visit ops.nfl.com/WTP-Award.
Also, new this year, and in partnership with Hudl, the NFL announced the extension of the Way to Play initiative to the high school football level, helping highlight proper playing technique to protect players from unnecessary risk and to foster culture change across all levels of the sport.
The NFL Way to Play High School Award will honor one high school football player weekly for demonstrating exceptional in-game playing technique.
The high school award recipient will be announced on NFL Network each Saturday morning, and the school of each honoree will receive a $1,500 equipment grant through USA Football.