Colts’ notebook: Rashaan Melvin snaps interception drought
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Just like that, the drought ended for Rashaan Melvin. Then, the floodgates opened.
The interception tally for the first 29 games of Melvin’s NFL career: 0.
The total during an 8-minute stretch of the third quarter during the Indianapolis Colts’ 31-28 win over the Cleveland Browns: 2.
“They say once you get one, they tend to continue to come,’’ Melvin said. “We always preach getting turnovers, catch the ones they throw to you and I was able to catch them.’’
Melvin made a diving grab of an errant DeShone Kizer pass midway through the third quarter that snuffed out a Browns drive at the inside Colts 10-yard line. He then notched his second 8 minutes later when a Kizer pass whistled through the hands of wideout Kenny Britt.
“You take advantage of the opportunities on the field when you get the chance,’’ he said. “That’s what I’ve been doing ever since I came into the league.’’
Melvin, 27, is in his fifth NFL season and second with the Colts. He’s the stereotypical lunch pail guy. He entered the league with Tampa Bay as an undrafted rookie in 2013 and has spent time with the Bucs, Miami Dolphins (twice), Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots before signing with the Colts as a free agent in September 2016.
In Indy, he’s started 12 of 18 games.
In game 18 with the Colts, Melvin was a difference-maker.
“Huge, huge,’’ Chuck Pagano said. “He played a really good football game. He’s playing really consistent right now and we need him to keep doing that.’’
More from Malik
It took Melvin 30 games to collect two interceptions. It’s taken rookie safety Malik Hooker 2 games to match him.
The first-round draft pick became the first Colts rookie with interceptions in consecutive games since cornerback Jason David in 2004. Hooker grabbed his first career interception last week against the Arizona Cardinals.
Against Cleveland, Hooker’s interception came as time expired. It appeared he briefly considered trying to return it for a touchdown before reconsidering.
“It was instincts from college days,’’ Hooker said with a smile. “I thought about taking it back, but I’ve got to be smart about it. The game was over. There was no reason trying to make another play out of nothing.’’
More from Brissett
There’s no question Jacoby Brissett is gaining confidence in an offensive system he first saw just over three weeks ago.
His contributions to the pivotal win over the Browns included passing for 259 yards and the 61-yard touchdown to T.Y. Hilton and rushing five times for 14 yards, including TD runs of 5 and 7 yards.
In just his second start in Indy, Brissett became the first Colts QB since Bert Jones in 1974 to rush for two TDs and throw one TD pass in the same game.
“Another week, you get a lot more comfortable, you get to learn from the mistakes that you make and you get to do it again and try to correct a lot of those things,’’ he said. “It was just a lot more at ease I would say.
“I definitely feel a lot more comfortable.’’
Everyone was aware of Brissett’s mobility, but he might have surprised some with his nimbleness on the 7-yard TD. He drifted to his right as pressure neared, then did a Dwight Freeney-like spin move to avoid Browns defensive tackle Danny Sheldon and escape to the left.
Grinded to a halt
The Colts offense found its rhythm late in the first quarter and scored TDs on four straight possessions.
“We had a great plan,’’ Brissett said. “I thought we did a great job of capitalizing on a lot of opportunities that they gave us.’’
At the half, the Colts led 28-14 and had piled up 260 total yards and 12 first downs on 31 plays.
In the second half, they lost their aggressiveness and anything resembling efficiency. Over the final two quarters, 32 plays netted 75 yards and four first downs.
Wide receiver Kamar Aiken suffered a concussion in the first quarter and did not return. He caught a 9-yard pass from Brissett, then was on the receiving end of a helmet-to-helmet hit by linebacker Christian Kirksey.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.