NASHVILLE — Six days ago, Carson Wentz could barely walk. The two sprained ankles he suffered agains the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2 painted a bleak picture for his potential availability for Week 3.
And yet, there Wentz was on Sunday at Nissan Stadium, taking all 61 of the Colts' snaps while gritting through those twin ankle injuries. It wasn't enough, as the Colts lost, 25-16, to the Tennessee Titans. But it was darn impressive that Wentz even took the field, let alone didn't come off it.
"The guy's a warrior," defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said. "He didn't want to let his team down. He did whatever it took to get out there on the field today. We're all proud of him, we rallied behind him. It shows the type of guy, his willingness to win."
The Colts didn't make the official decision to start Wentz until after he went through pregame warmups. Not only did the quarterback have to feel physically ready, but head coach Frank Reich wanted to make sure Wentz was mentally ready to play, too. Reich told Larra Overton before the game he wanted to "see that confident look in his eye, feel that in his voice."
Reich got that confirmation. There was no consideration, Reich said, to sitting Wentz once he was cleared to play and expressed that desire to get on the field.
And on two less-than-100-percent ankles, Wentz went out there and competed.
"Tough as nails," running back Nyheim Hines said. "Played a great game."
Wentz's statline — 19/37 for 194 yards with no interceptions and no touchdowns — doesn't tell the whole story. He wasn't able to do all the things he put on display in Weeks 1 and 2, namely his ability to escape pressure and make plays with his feet. The Colts' gameplan called for Wentz to mostly stay in the pocket, and when he had to bail and go outside the pocket, "it didn't feel great," he said.
And with Wentz at quarterback, the Colts felt they were within a few plays of exiting Nashville with a win. Namely: There were two drives in the second half that ended with chip-shot field goals after a goal-to-go set of downs didn't result in a touchdown.
"(Wentz's injuries) affected play calling a little bit but not an excuse," Reich said. "I thought Carson did a good job understanding what his limitations were and playing within that. He's our quarterback. We felt like him at 70, 80 percent, whatever he is is our best option to beat a very good football team on the road.
"We make a couple more plays in that game and I think they're there. I think they're there to be made by all of us — coaches, players. I think there's plenty of opportunities in this game, a closely contested game, to win that game."
Wentz expressed confidence his ankles will continue to heal as the season goes on — and as he continues to play through those sprains. He'll continue the process of rehab and treatment back in Indianapolis with the goal now to get his ankles back to 100 percent as quickly as possible.
"I'm very confident how quickly it's already (healed) from not being able to really walk the first two days this week to playing today," Wentz said. "I'm very confident that we can progress this thing along."