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Anthony Richardson brings hope to Indianapolis despite loss to Jaguars

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 10: Anthony Richardson #5 of the Indianapolis Colts scrambles in the second half of a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 10, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Colts haven’t won a season-opening football game since 2013.

That streak continues after a 31-21 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In Anthony Richardson’s first NFL regular season game, the fourth overall pick couldn’t give the fans a win, but he gave the city hope.

The day didn’t start as well for the offense, as the Colts failed to pick up a first down until the third drive.

What a drive it was.

Richardson threaded a beautiful throw between multiple defenders, finding Kylen Granson for an 11-yard gain for his first-ever NFL first down.

He wasn’t done with firsts.

Fast-forward nine plays later, and Richardson found himself in the end zone for his first-ever NFL touchdown.

The two-yard run and ensuing extra point tied the game at 7 a few seconds into the second quarter.

Jacksonville would again take the lead with 3:55 to go in the first half, taking the 14-7 advantage into the locker room.

Then the Colts turned it on.

A 3-and-out forced by the defense got the Colts the ball quickly, then the offense went to work.

Cue a 6-play, 63-yard drive that ended in Richardson’s first-ever passing touchdown as Michael Pittman Jr. took a 39-yard catch and run to the house.

This tied the game again momentarily before Jacksonville kicked a field goal on the next drive to make it 17-14.

Now Richardson and the offense started to sputter, but the defense picked up the slack.

A 3-and-out by Indy was followed up by a 4-and-out forced by the Colts’ defense, stuffing the Jaguars on 4th and 1.

Next drive for the offense? A fumble by Deon Jackson.

Then the defense went to work on the very next play. Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence attempted a pass, but the ball was stripped by DeForest Buckner. The fumble went right into the hands of Jags rookie Tank Bigsby, who casually stood at the 35-yard line with what he thought was a ball from an incomplete pass.

Zaire Franklin knew better.

The Colts’ linebacker came up behind Bigsby and punched the ball out from the arms of the running back. Then, Buckner scooped up the fumble and was off to the races, diving into the end zone and giving the home team the 21-17 lead.

Unfortunately for the Horseshoe, the next four drives ended in two punts, an interception, and a turnover on downs at the goal line, in that order.

Meanwhile, Lawrence and the Jaguars led two touchdown drives over the final ten minutes of the game to win 31-21.

On the final Colts’ drive, Richardson took off for the end zone from inside the five, but sustained a hard hit from two Jacksonville defenders.

He needed the training staff to help him up and off the field, a nightmare for Colts fans.

This was the final play for Richardson, as backup QB Gardner Minshew finished the game for Indianapolis.

Richardson notably ran well all game but came up limping after multiple runs.

Luckily, both Steichen and Richardson himself stressed that there is no reason to worry about the injury.

“More hurt that we lost than my knee,” Richardson said in the postgame press conference.

As for Steichen, he believed the rookie signal caller had a good first start.

“I thought he managed the game well, thought he did some really good things,” Steichen said. “Really encouraged with his progress and what he did.”

Richardson knew he was going to be tested against the reigning AFC South champions.

“I knew everything wasn’t going to be perfect,” Richardson said, “That’s part of the game, that’s part of life. Everything is not going to be perfect.”

Box Score

Anthony Richardson went 24/37 for 223 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. He added a team-leading 40 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

Trevor Lawrence threw for 241 yards, 2 TD, and 1 INT for Jacksonville.

Michael Pittman led the Colts in receiving with 97 yards and a touchdown.

Calvin Ridley, in his first game as a Jaguar, challenged the Colts’ secondary with 101 receiving yards, catching the first touchdown of the game.

As far as the run game, Deon Jackson, Evan Hull, and Jake Funk combined for just 25 rushing yards on 16 carries.

Travis Etienne led the Jaguars in rushing with 18 carries, 77 yards, and the game-sealing rushing touchdown late in the fourth.

Next Up

The Colts will head to Houston for another matchup with an AFC South opponent as they take on the Texans at 1 p.m. next Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars get a home game against the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs at 1 p.m. next Sunday as well.

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