INDIANAPOLIS — As if Eric Ebron needed to add anything else to his 2018 résumé...
The Indianapolis Colts' offense owned the first half of Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, eventually holding on to a 29-26 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium.
But it was Ebron that helped establish a 16-point first-half lead by scoring three touchdowns — two receiving and also his second career rushing touchdown — all within the first two quarters.
The fifth-year tight end is now tied for the league lead in receiving touchdowns with 10. He leads all NFL tight ends, and has for the better part of the season.
“He’s just an explosive playmaker, so, (I'm) happy for him,” Colts head coach Frank Reich told reporters after the game. "Big-time game for Eric.”
Ebron scored his first touchdown on the opening drive of the game. From their own 47-yard line, quarterback Andrew Luck took the shotgun snap and found Ebron wide open down the right side of the field. Ebron had one man to beat as he withstood Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson’s tackle attempt, diving into the end zone for a 53-yard score.
After punting on their next drive, Ebron would score on the Colts’ following two drives. On the first, he took a jet sweep handoff from Luck and sprinted toward the front left pylon to put the Colts up, 14-7.
“That little jet sweep thing was a little wrinkle you put in just for a guy like that," Reich said of the play. "I mean, you don’t put that in for anybody, but you put it in for someone like Ebron."
On their next drive, the Colts marched down the field into Jacksonville’s red zone. From the Jaguars’ 12-yard line, Luck took the snap, quickly scanned the field and found Ebron heading unnoticed into Jacksonville’s end zone, Luck lofting a perfect pass into Ebron’s waiting arms for his third score of the game.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, Ebron joins New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara as the only players this season to have both a rushing and receiving touchdown in the first quarter of a game.
Ebron is also only the second tight end in NFL history with two receiving touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in the same game since the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski did it in 2011.