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'A Heck Of A Day:' Jelani Woods Posts Career-Best Performance In Return To Lineup

Indianapolis Colts rookie tight end Jelani Woods had missed two straight games with a shoulder injury, but made up for lost time Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, logging career bests with eight receptions for 98 yards.

(AP Photo/AJ Mast)
(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Jelani Woods wanted to make up for lost time.

He did that — and then some — on Monday night.

After missing the previous two games due to a shoulder injury, the Indianapolis Colts rookie tight end, in Monday's Week 12 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, would go to log career-highs in receptions (eight) and receiving yards (98) in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football.

After a key drop early in the contest, Woods was able to knock off the rust to turn in the best all-around performance of his young career.

"Pretty much with me, I just tried to get the team in the best opportunity to win, as much as possible," Woods said. "Started off pretty bad — I kind of regrouped, especially having two weeks out. I tried to regroup, and then start anew. That was going into my mindset, and then just trying to create an opportunity to win a game."

With the Steelers bracketing the Colts' outside receivers — particularly Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, and Parris Campbell — that left opportunities for quarterback Matt Ryan to feed the ball to his tight ends. While the Indy offense struggled in all areas to start the game, the unit began to get into a bit of a rhythm over the final two quarters.

Woods was particularly dangerous in the third quarter, when he logged six receptions for 72 yards — all this for a promising prospect who had a combined seven receptions for 79 yards, with three touchdowns, coming into Monday's game.

The 6-foot-7, 253-pound Virginia product had already made a solid first impression upon interim head coach Jeff Saturday, but Monday night's game was the first time the legendary Colts' offensive lineman got the opportunity to see Woods in game action in his new role.

"So glad he's back. Had a heck of a day," Saturday said. "Jelani is a massive human being, and got a great attitude, a great heart. The kid fights, and made play after play for us. Yeah, he's one of those guys, you're super excited to get him back in the lineup, made a bunch of plays for us tonight."

The Colts take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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