INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts had big plans for Tyquan Lewis when they traded up to select him in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but they would have to wait to see him in game action.
After placing Lewis on injured reserve at the beginning of the regular season with a toe injury, the team finally got to see him live in an NFL game on Sunday in the Colts' 29-26 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he did not disappoint.
Lewis began practicing again during Week 8, and with the Colts having their bye week during Week 9, it gave them plenty of time to evaluate his progress before activating him from the IR list on Friday.
The Colts were so pleased with Lewis' progress, in fact, that they gave him the start at right defensive end on Sunday in fellow rookie Kemoko Turay's absence.
"Yeah, I mean he looked good," Colts head coach Frank Reich told reporters about Lewis following the game. "There were a lot of times, I know even where he didn't get a sack, but was (getting) pressure and penetrating. He looked good and solid, and I think he held up really well."
Lewis was credited with three tackles, one pass breakup and one quarterback hit. It may have been the hit on Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles that was his biggest play of the game.
Early in the fourth quarter, with the Colts nursing a narrow six-point lead and needing a defensive stop, Lewis stepped up. It was Jacksonville's ball on 3rd and 11 from midfield. Bortles dropped back and scanned the field, and as he reared back to pass Lewis clubbed his throwing arm, forcing the ball to fall short of its intended receiver and forcing a punt.
Ever the perfectionist, Lewis said he had hoped to come away with even more impactful plays in his NFL debut.
"I felt like I was close on two or three of 'em," Lewis said after the game. "(But) I don't pride myself on pressures because nobody remembers that that, so you just gotta make sacks."
Perhaps it's that kind of attitude that convinced the Colts' coaching staff to give Lewis the start in his NFL debut, just two days after being brought up to the active roster.
"Coming into it, I knew they always had a lot of faith in me," Lewis said. "I never missed a meeting, I was always being attentive, I take notes, I'm a student of the game. I just do what's necessary — whatever they ask of me, I just try to be versatile in everything I do."
Sunday was also "an emotional ride" for another reseason, according to Lewis, as it would've been his late great-grandmother's 94th birthday.
Lewis said his mom texted him in the morning and pointed out his jersey number also being 94.
"It's a miracle how God works," he said.
See all the action on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium as the Indianapolis Colts host the Jacksonville Jaguars.