INDIANAPOLIS — With Jacksonville extending its lead to 17 points and time quickly running out last Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts' offense knew it needed to score — and score rapidly — to get back into the game.
With 2:51 left in the third quarter, the Colts took over at their own 25-yard line, and advanced to their 37 thanks to a five-yard run by Frank Gore and two short passes to the veteran running back.
But Andrew Luck and the Colts' offense needed to do a little more to break into Jaguars territory and really get a drive going.
On the fourth play of the drive, Luck, in the no-huddle offense, dropped back and found Chester Rogers across the middle for a huge 19-yard reception, putting the ball at the Jacksonville 44-yard line.
A few plays later — and after a big defensive pass interference call on the Jaguars — Gore found his way into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown, and, after the extra point, the Colts had cut the lead to 23-13 with 14:52 left in the fourth quarter.
It was no doubt just what the doctor ordered for the Indianapolis offense, which had struggled to move the ball consistently to that point. And the key play right in the middle of it all, the 19-yard pass play, just happened to be Rogers' first-career NFL reception.
Rogers — who had been targeted in previous games, but had not yet logged a catch — joked this week that he never envisioned getting his first-career reception in London's Wembley Stadium, because he thought it would've come Week 1 of the regular season. But he was glad to play his part and help out down the stretch last week.
"You know, it came at a big moment; we needed it," Rogers said this week. "I was hoping to get a win, but, hey, onto the next one."
Rogers has been the beneficiary of a significant boost in playing time the past three weeks due to the shoulder injury suffered by No. 2 wide receiver Donte Moncrief in the Colts' Week 2 game against the Denver Broncos.
Rogers said he "hates it" that a teammate has gone down, but the more he's been able to play, the faster he's adjusted. Rogers also understands his role, and knows that whenever Moncrief is ready to come back, he'll go back to playing whatever part is needed from him.
"I've gained a lot of confidence and I'm learning the offense better than I was before," Rogers said. "And when (Moncrief) comes in, everything's going to pick back up and I'm going to be able to step in whenever they need me and just play my role, and that's what I'm here for."
After being inactive Week 1 against the Detroit Lions, Rogers — who went undrafted this year out of Grambling State and won a spot on the final 53-man roster due to his strong play during the preseason — has officially been targeted six times by Luck in his first three games.
Last Sunday against the Jaguars, he not only caught his first NFL pass, but was able to top it on the Colts' second-to-last drive, when they were down just three, 30-27, and trying to go on a potential game-winning or game-tying drive.
On 2nd and 11 from the Indianapolis 19-yard line, Luck's pass deep down the left side to Rogers was good for 23 yards, and got the Colts to their 42. It was the second-longest play of the day for the Indianapolis offense.
Rogers said he's been working hard to get on the same page as Luck so that they can continue increasing the positive productivity between quarterback and wide receiver. That work continues on Sunday against the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"That comes with time," Rogers said. "That comes with time, confidence from practice and from games and him just being able to trust me to be in my spot and know my assignment. It's going to gain each week."