Colts rookie QB Anthony Richardson encouraging in NFL debut, leaves late with injury in loss to Jaguars

Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson ran and threw for a touchdown, but his day ended with a minute left in the game during the Colts' 31-21 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Richardson took a big hit on a first-and-goal run from the Jaguars' 3-yard line with 1:05 left in the game. He stayed on the ground for a few moments before he walked off under his own power. The play came immediately after Richardson converted a fourth-and-5 with his legs. Backup Gardner Minshew came in for the final three plays before the Colts turned the ball over on downs and sealed the win for the Jaguars.

He told reporters after the game he bruised his left knee and said he'd be fine. But it's unclear how severe the injury is just yet.

The injury overshadowed an otherwise quality first start for the No. 4 overall pick. Richardson and the Colts had the Jaguars on the ropes late into the fourth quarter thanks to a wild fumble recovery for a touchdown in the third quarter and the two Richardson touchdowns. But the rookie tossed an interception the possession after the Jaguars took a late lead and couldn't bring the Colts back.

Richardson channels inner Cam Newton on first career TD

Six months ago, before the Indianapolis Colts drafted him with the No. 4 pick, Richardson said he called himself "Cam Jackson" — a reference to his skills as a combination of former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. And in Week 1 of his rookie season, the young quarterback showed why on his first career touchdown.

Richardson took the snap from two yards out on the first play of the second quarter and barreled his way into the end zone for his and the Colts' first score of the 2023 season. It also tied the game against the AFC South rival Jacksonville Jaguars.

He tossed a beautiful 39-yard touchdown strike to wideout Michael Pittman Jr. early in the third quarter as well to even the match once more. Richardson finished the game with 223 passing yards on 24-of-37 passing attempts and 40 rushing yards on 10 carries to go with his two touchdowns.

Richardson's size (6-foot-4, 244 pounds) is very close to Newton's (6-5, 245) and his speed from the NFL combine was comparable to Jackson's. Newton has the most rushing touchdowns and most rushing yards by a quarterback since 2011 with 75, while Jackson ranks seventh and second.

It helps, too, that Richardson has former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen calling plays for him. Steichen turned Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts into a MVP candidate in two seasons and vaulted Philadelphia to the Super Bowl.

Richardson's combination of speed and size were major reasons he was such an intriguing quarterback prospect. And he's already proven at least one aspect of his game to be true.