Sun. Jan 17th, 2021

Five Things Learned: Colts-Bills (Preseason, Week…

3 min read
Five Things Learned: Colts-Bills (Preseason, Week...

• PHILLIPS THE MENACE: Carroll Phillips saw his 2018 season end prematurely after suffering a groin injury and being placed on injured reserve in mid-November. The Illinois product is clearly trying to make up for lost time, as he turned in a solid performance for the Indy defense Thursday night, finishing with two sacks and also recovering a fumble on a botched snap in the second quarter. Phillips is hoping to continue setting himself apart for an extremely talented Colts defensive line room. “When they put me out there, I just try to help the team out anyway I can, hustling to the ball, making big plays,” he said after the game. “I just wanted to challenge myself while I was out there and see what I could do, make a few plays and try to help the team out”

• THEY’RE BACK: Speaking of guys coming back from injury, two Colts wide receivers made notable returns on Thursday in Deon Cain and Marcus Johnson. Cain, a 2018 sixth-round pick out of Clemson, was wowing everyone in training camp last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury during the Colts’ preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks. He finished Thursday’s game with two receptions on four targets for 15 yards. Johnson, meanwhile, has worked his way back from an ankle injury suffered Week 6 last season against the New York Jets, just moments after he hauled in his first-career touchdown reception. Johnson on Thursday had two receptions for 27 yards, including an acrobatic catch along the sideline that required him to drag his toes to stay in bounds. “Just building the confidence back,” Reich said. “I think you can’t underestimate how important that is, when a guy’s coming back from a season-ending injury, to get the first game under your belt. I know you’re doing it out in practice, but there’s just something different about doing it in a game.”

• HEDLUND PERFECT: It would be understandable if Cole Hedlund would’ve entered Thursday night’s game a little rattled, considering it was the undrafted North Texas product’s first-ever NFL game. On top of that, the lake effect around New Era Field was making its presence known, with swirling winds and a pregame thunderstorm that required stadium officials to clear the field during warmups. But once the clouds cleared and the lights came on, Hedlund showed he was more than good to go; he hit all three of his field goal attempts, as well as his only extra-point try. His first-ever NFL kick came from 42 yards out, and went right down the middle, setting up the rest of his night. “It felt absolutely amazing,” Hedlund said. “Perfect snap from Luke (Rhodes) and perfect hold from Rigo (Rigoberto Sanchez), and, you know, just went through the approach, had good rhythm and just the moment felt absolutely amazing. And it was awesome to celebrate with my teammates.”

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