The Indianapolis Colts dropped a close game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past weekend, as they couldn't get out of their own way down the stretch. While it is always tough to look at the bright side after a disappointing loss, there were two players that stepped up big-time in this one.
Two players that were drafted/signed for their ability on special teams-- Ashton Dulin and Isaiah Rodgers-- made huge plays as position players in this game. Dulin, in just four offensive snaps, was able to make the biggest highlight play of the day. He hauled in a 62-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter for his first career score.
Dulin on that touchdown play and the work he has done in practice on that particular play:
It’s definitely a play that we’ve been repping throughout the season week in and week out. When the play was called, I just had to go and execute. Saw the safety come down on that play and then right there and then, I knew the ball was coming to me. So, at that point all I had to do was catch it. Carson (Wentz) threw a great ball, threw a dime. Put it right in the breadbasket and I was able to get that first touchdown.
On his overall growth as a receiver in recent weeks/years:
It’s definitely a work in process. Just continuing each and every day to go in and drill the techniques that coach – (Mike) Groh’s done a great job, all the offensive coaches have done a great job of harping on the techniques of route running and everything like that. That’s definitely been a big jump for me in my third year. So, just continue to build on that and know everything will fall in place.
Rodgers, on the other end, produced on defense and on special teams. In 32 defensive snaps, he was able to make a huge interception early in the game.
Rodgers on what he saw pre-snap prior to that interception:
I think when they lined up and they had Scotty Miller at No.1 in their bunch and Kenny (Moore II) looked back at me, he was like, ‘10’s at No.1.’ (Inaudible) Once we saw him – Scotty can run. He’s fast, probably one of the top in the league. I think once the ball was in the air, it was just turn into a receiver at that point.
On his overall growth as a defender from year one to year two:
A lot more confident. That rookie feeling is – I can’t really make a mistake. The guys in the room just told me play my game, just be comfortable. It’s the same game I played since I was a kid, so I think the confidence coming into the season led me to the plays I have been making.
Rodgers also nearly gave the Colts life at the end of the game with a monstrous 72-yard kick return with under 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Dulin continued his special teams dominance as well, as he still maintains a comfortable lead in special teams tackles over the rest of the league.
Overall, this was an excellent day for both players away from their typical roles on the team. Rodgers is slowly growing into a legitimate starting cornerback on defense, and Dulin continues to show improvements each year.
For two players that rarely get their names called on gameday, they both delivered in a big way against the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Follow Zach on Twitter @ZachHicks2.