INDIANAPOLIS – Jacoby Brissett and the Indianapolis Colts offense did not have their best day Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
Brissett finished 15-of-25 for 202 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in the Colts’ 15-13 win. He also was sacked a season-high four times and directed an offense that was 4-for-12 on third down.
None of which was entirely unexpected against a Broncos defense that ranks near the top of the NFL in several categories.
What Brissett did to start his final drive, however, did turn more than a few heads.
He slipped out of the grasp of blitzing linebacker Von Miller in the end zone, rolled to his right and fired a strike 35 yards downfield to veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton for the play of the game.
On Sunday, the play made the rounds of the national highlight shows with an appropriate sense of awe. By Monday, it was being used to illustrate Brissett’s name being thrown into MVP consideration.
Perhaps the folks least surprised by Brissett’s Houdini act were those who share a locker room with him.
“He’s big,” safety Malik Hooker said, noting the 6-foot-4, 238-pound QB resembles a tight end. “You see Jacoby in person, he’s a big quarterback, obviously a very mobile quarterback capable of making plays when we need one. It ain’t surprising to me.
“I mean, it’s surprising, ’cause it’s Von Miller, you know? But I’ve seen Jacoby do freakish stuff like that plenty of times.”
Center Ryan Kelly almost sounded apologetic when discussing his quarterback’s physical strength.
He noted a run-pass option on which the offensive line failed to protect long enough and Brissett took a big shot. The official stats show the quarterback was hit seven times overall, but that doesn’t account for all the traffic he saw in the pocket.
Kelly admired the way Brissett handled the consistent pressure.
There’s a reason “unflappable” is one of the words used most often to describe him.
“He never wavered or was never discouraged,” Kelly said. “You never felt that or never felt him trying to be something he’s not. … He’s a confident leader, and that’s what you want.”
Brissett has long been lauded for his ability to connect with teammates and for his ultra competitive nature.
Even as the backup to Andrew Luck last season, he would push the defense while running the scout team during practice. And he infamously joined the defensive “team picture” when the team ran to the end zone to celebrate each takeaway.
Defenders still tend to look at Brissett as one of their own.
And the move he made to leave Miller in his wake just reinforced their faith.
“Jacoby’s a great player,” linebacker Anthony Walker said. “We know that. He’s a freak athlete as well, as we’re starting to see. He can get away from anything.”
The choice to make cornerback Quincy Wilson and wide receiver Deon Cain inactive, despite both players being healthy, was one of the unsolved mysteries from Sunday’s game.
Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich didn’t offer many specifics by way of explanation. He did note special teams plays a big role in determining the active roster from week to week, and that discipline was not a factor in the benchings.
“We believe everyone in this room can help us play winning football,” Reich said. “We’ve got lots of moving parts that go into the roster, lots of moving parts of who is active, who is inactive. A lot of factors that go into that. That changes week to week. Just know that we believe in everybody here.”
The NFL trading deadline looms at 4 p.m. Tuesday, and while there have been rumors of the Colts’ interest in a few deals, nothing appears imminent.
Reich said it’s not a topic he’ll give much thought to as the practice week begins.
“Right now all I am thinking about is getting ready for the (Pittsburgh) Steelers,” he said. “I’m sure if there is something that (general manager) Chris (Ballard) and I need to talk about, he will be over here and we will be talking about it. That’s why the situation we have here can’t be much better.
“The level of trust and how together we are on these things and on the roster – Chris and I have had multiple discussions on options out there, and he has let me know all of the scenarios or whatever you can talk about and not talk about. Ninety-nine percent of the time, most of those things are just, ‘Here are the scenarios.’ Probably nothing ever happens on most of those, but when he decides to make a move in a direction that we need to talk about more serious, then we will do so.”