INDIANAPOLIS – The moments keep piling up for Anthony Richardson.
Sunday afternoon, the Indianapolis Colts’ rookie quarterback bounced out of the Lucas Oil Stadium tunnel for his first NFL start against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“That was exciting,’’ Richardson said Wednesday. “I’ve felt the love ever since I got here, but to be able to run out of the tunnel and get the same love, it felt great.’’
He then notched his first career touchdown – a 2-yard run, which was punctuated with a 360-spin/emphatic spike – followed by his first career touchdown pass – a 39-yard bubble screen to Michael Pittman Jr.
In the first quarter, Richardson bruised his left knee on a scramble. When he returned to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center Monday, he complained of a sore ankle.
“I was a little sore,’’ he admitted. “I woke up with some feelings that I’ve never felt before.
“Some of the vets were like, ‘Welcome to the league, rook. That’s how it’s going to be.’ Just get in the training room early, taking care of my body. That’s the main part.’’
Richardson was not listed on Wednesday’s injury report.
For the record, he wasn’t able to finish what he started. On a first-and-goal run from the Jacksonville 3, he was on the receiving end of a big hit by linebacker Devin Lloyd and safety Andre Cisco.
Richardson remained on the turf for a brief time, then walked to the sideline. Gardner Minshew II handled the final 59 seconds and final three snaps in the 31-21 loss even though Shane Steichen said after the game Richardson could have returned.
“Yeah, when I was on the ground, they told me I’ve got to go out for a play,’’ Richardson said. “I’m like, ‘Dang, I don’t want to go out for a play.’ But I knew I had to, so I sat out that one play and I was ready to go back in there.
“But they told me ‘Just take it easy.’ I knew we had to score right there, and I wanted to score bad for the team just so we can get closer to the victory, but sometimes you have to just live and learn.’’
One life lesson Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence shared with Richardson after the game was to protect himself on the field. Richardson admitted it’s a balancing act: know when a play is over and it’s not worth taking an unnecessary hit.
On the play before he was knocked from the game – 4th and 5 at the 8 – Richardson headed up the middle, met major resistance at the 7, but powered through two Jaguars for a 5-yard gain and a first down at the 3.
“It depends on the situation, time on the clock, score, all that,’’ Richardson said. “But as a quarterback in this league, you do have to protect yourself a lot if you want to withstand . . . stay in this league. He’s definitely right by telling me that and I definitely took it in account.’’
“Fourth-and-five, got-to-have-it situations, so you have to put your body on the line for the team.’’ Richardson said, “because I know they would do it for me.
“You’ve got to risk it sometimes just to help the team.’’
Steichen insisted it’s all about his rookie QB “eliminating the big hits.
“Obviously the fourth-and-5 when we got down in there . . . he had to go get it. But just other times, when you can get out of bounds, get out of bounds and be smart. There is a time and place for it, but you have to be smart. It’s a long season. You have to take care of your body.’’
Left guard Quenton Nelson (toe) and right tackle Braden Smith (ankle/knee) did not practice Wednesday, and tight end Drew Ogletree remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Running back Zack Moss was a full participant. He was limited in three practices last week and did not play against the Jaguars while completing his rehab from a broken right forearm.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.