After being inactive for the first two weeks of the season, rookie cornerback JuJu Brents made his long-awaited NFL debut this Sunday.
"First and foremost, [thanks to] my coaches for trusting me to go out there and put me out there on the field to make some plays," Brents said. "You don't want to chase them, but whenever they do come, you do want to make those plays. So, it was great to get that spark for the defense."
Having created a reputation as a physical player during his time at Kansas State, it seemed like just a matter of time before he showcased that in the pros. As it turns out, the timing of his breakout play couldn't have been better.
On their first drive of the game, the Baltimore Ravens marched down the field before capping things off with an eight-yard touchdown run by quarterback Lamar Jackson.
When they got back on the field, it looked like they were going to do it again. With a nine-yard run from Gus Edwards and a 20-yard reception by Mark Andrews, the Ravens offense was clicking on all cylinders.
Things for the Colts only seemed like they were getting tougher after Jackson completed a pass to Kenyan Drake who had weaseled his way to the Colts 22-yard line. However, unbeknownst to him, Brents was coming up on his right and punched the ball out of his hand. Then to make the play even sweeter, he fell on top of it to secure the recovery for his team.
"He popped it off today," linebacker Zaire Franklin said. "They had some plays, and we couldn't really stop them, and then he got the fumble. After that, we settled down. That was definitely the play of the game."
Despite the infrequency of turnovers in an NFL game, especially fumbles, Brents was confident that he would have a chance to make a play as long as he remained dialed in.
"It's never how you draw it up, right?" Brents said. "My eyes got big, like he's running with it loose. I'd seen Kenyan at camp too, so we know the type of player he is and how he moves.
"In all seriousness, that's something that we work on every single day before individuals [drills]. Just breaking at the ball, being aggressive at the point of attack and trying to get the ball back to the offense."
Brents' impact on the game didn't just end there. He also had a big pass breakup on a third down through to Mark Andrews to force a punt.
In the end, he finished the game with four tackles. However, more important than his final stats was the impression that he made on the team's veterans.
"Welcome to the league, rook," safety Julian Blackmon said. "Ju, welcome to the league. It was so cool to see and that's another guy — now we see another playmaker on the field."
The Colts celebrate their overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3.