CINCINNATI – With linebacker E.J. Speed missing Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals due to a knee injury, that meant that Ronnie Harrison Jr.'s number was going to be called heavily.
Harrison first saw significant action in the Colts' Week 12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After being activated from the practice squad earlier in the week, he made his presence felt after picking off a pass in his season debut.
This week, Harrison not only got another interception but returned it for a touchdown.
"Ronnie did a great job today," head coach Shane Steichen said. "That was a huge momentum [shift] for us right there before the half getting that pick. Again, I gotta go back and look at the tape but obviously getting an interception right there was big by Ronnie."
The game-tying score came two plays after the Colts scored their first touchdown of the game, a touchdown pass from Gardner Minshew II to Mo Alie-Cox. After a missed point after kick, the Colts' defense was back on the field, tasked with keeping the Bengals scoring again with 1:56 before halftime.
Harrison ensured that they would do more than that.
When tight end Tanner Hudson was unable to haul in a pass from Jake Browning, Harrison was there to take advantage of the snafu and intercept the ball. He went on to return it for a 36-yard touchdown, his first pix-six since 2020.
Familiar with a play that the Bengals had run earlier in the game that was comparable to it, Harrison said that the second time around he was ready for it.
"On that play, they kind of ran something similar to that play earlier in the game and my coach had talked to me about it because I think they ended up making a pass on it," Harrison said. "They came back to it later on in the game and I played it the way me and my coach talked about it.
"I saw him tip the ball, so I just broke on the ball and tried to get it from him. I was able to make a play for a touchdown and it was big to get the momentum back on our side."
Following a successful two-point conversion, the Colts managed to tie the game at 14 in just 25 seconds.
Though the Colts were unable to build off that momentum swing into the second half, Minshew II said that Harrison's interception had given the sideline hope that they could overcome any adversity.
"It got us right back in position," Minshew said. "I think that was one of the good things - there weren't a ton of good things. But one of the good things [was] I felt like we all genuinely believed that no matter - at any point of that game we were gonna figure it out and find a way. I think as long as you have that belief in yourself, in the team, you're gonna have a chance to win games."
Harrison finished the game with four tackles, a pass deflection and the aforementioned pick-six.