Anthony Richardson's final stat line isn't what you might expect for a quarterback who, by all accounts, was a major reason why his team erased a 23-point second half deficit and forced overtime.
The 21-year-old completed 11 of 25 passes (44 percent) for 200 yards (8.0 yards/attempt) with two touchdowns, and rushed 10 times for 56 yards with a score in the Colts' 29-23 Week 4 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. But inside those numbers was an all-gas-no-brakes second half tear from the 2023 No. 4 overall pick.
"Once he gets rolling," head coach Shane Steichen said, "he gets rolling."
With the Colts down 23-0 midway through the third quarter, Richardson escaped pressure and ripped a 35-yard touchdown to Mo Alie-Cox, using his rare arm strength to lead Alie-Cox away from linebacker Michael Hoecht – and give his tight end a chance to physically barge his way into the end zone.
After that touchdown – the Colts' first of the game – he escaped more pressure and, through strength and sheer willpower, flipped a pass to running back Zack Moss for a critical two-point conversion.
Later in the second half, Richardson sparked a drive with a 38-yard strike to wide receiver Alec Pierce, erasing a second-and-20 and – with the help of a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty – landing the Colts in the red zone. A few plays later, Richardson plunged in for a touchdown, hitting his signature 360-degree spin spike to bring the Colts within one score.
And then, with the game on the line, Richardson connected with tight end Drew Ogletree for a pair of in-rhythm explosive plays that churned out 22 and 21 yards. A 17-yard completion to tight end Kylen Granson on fourth-and-four set up a touchdown toss to Ogletree, then the game-tying two-point conversion on a pass to wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.
Over that four-drive stretch in the second half, Richardson accounted for all three Colts touchdowns and both two-point conversions, and completed seven of 13 passes for 153 yards with a passer rating of 135.6.
"When we get in that groove, we get in that rhythm, we're unstoppable," center Wesley French said. "We've got to find that rhythm and get in it earlier."
And that's the flip side here. The Colts managed only five first downs and 100 yards of total offense over their first five possessions. Richardson lost a fumble. Los Angeles surged to a sizable lead as the Colts searched for answers.
"We were shooting ourselves in the foot," Moss said. "We weren't playing up to the standard. And offensively we can't get off to a slow start like that especially against a team that executes like that with a veteran quarterback who's not going to give us many turnovers and put the ball in harm's way too many times."
Gus Bradley's group counter-punched Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay's offense, keeping the visitors stuck at 23 points while the Colts' offense played catch-up. And eventually, Steichen, Richardson and the Colts found those answers.
"We just weren't clicking, you know what I mean? I got to do a better job putting our guys in position in the first half to make those plays," Steichen said. "Defense, we all stepped up as a team in the second half and we got it turned around but obviously, we can't start like that as a football team."
The answers to the problem of erasing a 23-point deficit began with Richardson. And while the Colts came up short in the end – Richardson went 0/3 on his final full possession in regulation, with the game knotted at 23 – the Colts walked away from downtown Indianapolis on Sunday encouraged with what they saw from Richardson in his third career start.
"The moment's never too big (for him)," Moss said. "Going up against a defense like that, a team like that two years removed from being Super Bowl champs, the moment's not too big. He works hard and I think when you work hard and trust the work you put in, and you don't cheat the game, you're not surprised. The moment isn't too big for you. I think it's a testament to the work he's put in from OTAs to now."
View in-game highlights from the Colts' taking on the Los Angeles Rams at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 1.