The Indianapolis Colts didn't drag out their announcement of Anthony Richardson as their starting quarterback for the regular season. They did that in mid-August. But we still haven't seen much of Richardson on the field. That includes in college, where he logged only 13 starts.
Inexperienced quarterbacks don't always work out well, as we have seen most recently with Trey Lance, but the Colts are ready to ride the ups and downs, wherever it leads. Richardson's start in the Colts' final preseason game on Thursday night brought some of both.
Richardson, the fifth pick of the draft making just his second preseason start after he was held out last week, completed only 6 of 17 passes in the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles for 78 yards. But he rushed for 38 yards on five attempts and had some nice passes that hints at his potential. Richardson was taken out to start the second half.
Richardson started off with a deep pass that was incomplete into coverage. The attempt showed off his arm strength. He threw it with ease a little more than 50 yards downfield. The second throw was off too, and incomplete over the middle. And after a penalty, Richardson ran for a first down on third-and-15. A holding infraction brought it back, but we're going to see a lot of Richardson running for big plays this season. If you don't have a defensive spy on Richardson — and sometimes even if you do — he's going to make a lot happen with his legs. In the second quarter, Richardson had a 12-yard run on a third-and-10.
On the second drive, Richardson made a strong throw to Michael Pittman Jr. for a first down. Then operating in a hurry-up, no-huddle attack — the Colts did that in the preseason opener with Richardson as well — Richardson ran for 6 yards then hit another completion on a run-pass option. The Colts will cater to Richardson's strengths this season, and it might look much more like a college offense than what you're used to seeing on Sundays. And it might be very hard to defend.
That second drive ended with a rushing touchdown by Deon Jackson, and Richardson flapped his arms for the "Fly, Eagles, Fly" celebration at the Philly crowd. He has some moxie for a rookie.
— NFL (@NFL) August 25, 2023
Richardson kept mixing highlights with some risky plays. He had a 16-yard run and a couple completions on the Colts' third drive. He also should have had an interception when he made a rookie mistake and locked in on his intended receiver, but linebacker Tyreek Maddox-Williams dropped it. He threw an ill-advised pass into traffic in the end zone, and it was incomplete. That drive ended with a rushing touchdown and the Colts taking a 14-10 lead.
Later Richardson had a great throw to tight end Kylen Granson for 17 yards but threw too low two plays later and it hit the ground before Granson could catch it. Late in the half Richardson lost the ball on his pass windup, though the Colts recovered the fumble, then he threw an accurate laser over the middle that went through rookie receiver Josh Downs' hands. Ups and downs.
That's all the Colts will see out of Richardson in game action before it starts to count. They open at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars won't have much tape to work with and might not know what to expect from Richardson. The same can be said for the Colts, but the upside is exciting.