INDIANAPOLIS —After the biggest play of his career — on the biggest day of his career — Chester Rogers was able to share a moment with the man who is responsible for sparking his interest in the game of football.
Early in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Rogers found an opening in the secondary, hauled in a pass from quarterback Jacoby Brissett, made a couple Pittsburgh defenders miss and ran into the end zone untouched from there.
The 61-yard play was the first touchdown in Rogers' professional career.
"I've been dreaming about that one since I was a kid," Rogers said.
And after he did his first NFL touchdown dance and celebrated with his teammates, Rogers found his father in the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd and gave him quite the souvenir.
"My dad calls me before every game. Today he said, 'Eighty, when you score I'm coming right down to get the ball,'" Rogers explained. "So it was a special moment with my dad."
Rogers on Sunday provided the Colts their third straight game with a 100-yard receiver, boasting big numbers this week even if his career day ultimately ended in a 20-17, last second loss to the AFC North Division-leading Steelers.
Following a 121-yard performance by tight end Jack Doyle at Cincinnati two weeks ago and a 175-yard explosion by T.Y. Hilton last week at Houston, Rogers, who entered Sunday's matchup with just five receptions for 47 yards, became a surprise contributor of sorts against Pittsburgh.
He replaced Kamar Aiken, who was held out with a hamstring injury, and provided fireworks with his aforementioned 61-yard touchdown play, but he also was consistent, adding five additional catches for 43 more yards. Rogers' 104 yards receiving on the day gave the second-year pro out of Grambling State his first-ever100-yard performance.
Rogers credited Hilton with a big assist on his touchdown play, as the six-year veteran was able to recognize the way the Steelers' defense covered him when they ran that exact play earlier in the game, ultimately leaving Rogers wide open on the other side of the field.
"On that touchdown play we talked about it," Rogers said. "[Hilton] came to me and he told me how they were playing his side and he knew what they were going to do."
With the Colts leading 10-3 early in the third quarter, they had the ball, 1st and 10 from their own 39-yard line.
Rogers lined up in the slot to the right with Donte Moncrief outside to his right and Hilton, by himself, spread wide left. The Steelers' defensive backs paid extra attention to Hilton, like the game plan expected, allowing Rogers to run a seam route up the numbers where Brissett hit him wide open at the Pittsburgh 30.
The receiver then began his dash to the end zone. At the 20-yard line he split two Steelers tacklers, who collided into each other, and Rogers cruised to the goal line with the longest reception of his career, putting the Colts up 17-3.
Rogers' productivity was welcomed, even if the final score was not what the Colts were looking for heading into a late bye week. But he knows he has set a bar he needs to continue to reach and surpass with each chance he gets to make plays throughout the remainder of the 2017 season.
"I set the standard, and you know they're going to expect that every week," Rogers said. "So I've gotta keep pushing."