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Colts' Michael Pittman Jr. Hits 'Beast Mode' Status In Win Over San Francisco 49ers

Pittman had four catches for 105 yards and drew two pass interference penalties for 57 yards in the Colts' 30-18 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. 

Looking for a last-minute costume idea that's sure to spook any cornerback you might trick-or-treating this Halloween?

Snag a Colts No. 11 jersey, grab a helmet with a Horseshoe on it and dress up as Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., who's now made a couple of beastly catches in his two primetime appearances this season and has 35 receptions for 508 yards and two touchdowns in seven games this season. 

"It seems like Pitt, he just goes into kind of a beast mode kind of deal," running back Jonathan Taylor said. "When the ball's in his hands, he's like no one is stopping me, and if the ball's in the air, he's like, this ball is mine — or it's a PI. This is my ball.  

"I told him before the game, I broke everyone down. I said, primetime players make primetime plays. And Pitt was a primetime player tonight." 

Pittman caught all four of his targets for 105 yards and a touchdown in the Colts' 30-18 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night at Levi's Stadium. 

The No. 34 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft already has more receiving yards and receiving touchdowns through seven games than he had his rookie season; he's only six receptions away from topping his 2020 total, too. He'll enter Week 8 on pace for 85 catches, 1,233 yards and five touchdowns in 2021. 

Head coach Frank Reich said he's seen quarterback Carson Wentz develop a "special chemistry" with Pittman. And the 6-foot-4, 223 pound wide receiver had an uncomplicated take on why he's vibed so quickly and so well with Wentz. 

"Carson just loves to throw it deep," Pittman said, "and I love it too."

All four of Pittman's receptions against the 49ers came on third down. The first was a 57-yard bomb on third-and-11 in the first quarter, which set up the Colts' first touchdown of the game three plays later. The next three all came in the fourth quarter, with the last one a 28-yard Mossing of 49ers cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick for a game-sealing touchdown. 

If you want to re-live that touchdown, you can bank on tuning in to Monday Night Countdown on ESPN and waiting for Randy Moss to take you through it on his weekly highlight reel. 

"Having Pitt out there going over the top of guys and Mossing guys, he does that in practice," linebacker Darius Leonard said. "We see it. So we know he's got the ability to do it. And now he's doing it on gameday. Hopefully he can get some kind of respect in this league and hopefully he can continue to keep making plays." 

Pittman's impact on Sunday night's game extended well beyond his impactful four catches, too. He drew a pass interference flag in the second quarter that teed up a one-yard touchdown rush by Wentz; in the third quarter, he erased a first-and-20 by drawing another PI flag on a deep ball, teeing up Jonathan Taylor for an untouched five-yard touchdown one play later. 

"Those are hidden yards," Reich said. 

Those two flags accounted for 57 yards and each brought the Colts to a fresh set of goal-to-go downs from inside the five. 

And all those deep shots — the two PI flags, the 57-yarder (on which Pittman also drew a pass interference penalty that was declined) and the 28-yard touchdown — were indicative of Wentz's trust in Pittman's ability to just go up and get it. 

"I've seen it enough in practice — I know what he brings to the table," Wentz said. "It's the reason I'm so confident letting it fly. Shoot, a couple of those were underthrown, not great balls, but when you got a guy like that you gotta give him a chance. The last thing I want to do is overthrow it. Give him a chance and he came up big tonight." 

Sunday night was not the first time Pittman has come up big for the Colts this season, and the trajectory he's on loudly suggests it won't be the last. The Colts' offense is predicated on spreading the ball around, but it's also predicated on finding and riding a hot hand. Not even a bomb cyclone could keep Pittman from being on fire in Santa Clara. 

But what Pittman did on Sunday — and has done all season — didn't come as a surprise to anyone on 56th Street in Indianapolis. 

"What I love about Pitt is he's so stinking competitive," Reich said. "He's got such a beast mentality that he can dominate versus anybody. 

"But he's a great team player. And there was one time after a game where we didn't throw it to him very much and I said something to him the next day, like hey man, we're going to get you the ball more. And his response was just like vintage team player — coach, I just want to help this team, we got a good room, I'm going to work hard so that you guys want to throw it to me. 

"That's the kind of player he is. He deserves a lot of credit."

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