Jacoby Brissett (10), T.Y. Hilton (9.5) earn top grades for unbelievable play
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Two days after his Great Escape, Jacoby Brissett was a bundle of humble.
Consider his brief back-and-forth with the media Tuesday on his close encounter in the end zone with Denver pass-rush phenom Von Miller:
Did you think he had you?
He did have me.
How did you get out?
He let me go . . . he let me go.
We’ll leave it to Nick Sirianni to elevate the play to its appropriate status.
Among the adjectives the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive coordinator doled out as he rehashed the indelible moment from the 15-13 win over the Broncos: unbelievable, phenomenal, incredible, wow.
Did we mention unbelievable? On more than one occasion, Sirianni paused, then smiled.
To recap: the Colts trailed 13-12 with 1:48 remaining. They had one last possession, and were backed up at their own 11.
Everything seemed headed for disaster as Denver ran a stunt that had Miller looping inside, untouched, and drawing a bead on Brissett near the goal line. Miller wrapped his right arm around Brissett’s waist, then his left as they drifted into the end zone. This was how Miller had piled up 102 career sacks, second-most among active players.
He had him for a safety, then he didn’t.
Brissett shed Miller, sprinted to his right and, without breaking stride, delivered a hope-igniting 35-yard strike to T.Y. Hilton. The Pro Bowl wideout had run a deep post, but reverted to scramble mode when he noticed his QB in distress and on the move.
“Awesome,’’ Sirianni said of Hilton’s improv instincts. “We talk so much about route detail, how to run routes and where to be on certain routes. Once it turns into playground . . . what would happen when you go there with your friends and the playground.
“I can only imagine what he was like when he was 8 years old on the playground and it was like, ‘OK, T.Y., just get open. I’ll find ya.’ T.Y.’s got a great feel for that. I would have liked to have been on his team back in elementary school. I’m happy I’m on his team now.’’
Hilton worked his way back toward Brissett. He had Denver corner Chris Harris Jr. draped all over him as he secured Brissett’s pass and tumbled out of bounds in front of the Colts’ bench.
“That’s how you win football games, when those guys do that. It really is,’’ Sirianni said. “Obviously, they did it on Sunday.’’
Great escapability. Great throw. Great catch.
Six plays later, Adam Vinatieri capped it all with a 51-yard field goal.
But back to the play that made it possible.
Sirianni was in no position to get a good look at what was taking place. He was well back on the sideline, at the opposite 35-yard line. When he saw the coverage Denver offered on the play, he believed the Colts were in position to strike a big play.
Then he heard the crowd response.
“I looked back and I kinda saw (Brissett) tussled up with Von Miller,’’ he said. “He somehow got out of it.
“I went from thinking, ‘Oh my goodness’ to “Wow, our quarterback just made an unbelievable play. We’re got some work left to do, but he started us off to a chance to win this football game.’
“Obviously, T.Y. made a phenomenal play, too. It’s a great play by two great players.’’
No question about it.
But here’s the question: Which was better, the throw or the catch?
“If I’m giving points, I probably give Jacoby a 10 and T.Y. a 9.5,’’ Sirianni said. “T.Y.’s going to be mad that I say 9.5.’’
Another question: Which was better, the escape or the throw?
Again, Sirianni paused and smiled as he considered his options.
“Ooo, man,’’ he said. “I’d say the throw was probably a 10 and the escape was a 9.5. I really believe that throw was unbelievable, the accuracy that he delivered it with. He knew he still had pursuit coming on his back. With the velocity that he had to deliver that ball with, unbelievable.’’
Again, Brissett wasn’t in total agreement.
Sunday evening, he was watching the Green Bay-Kansas City game and felt the need to text Sirianni after Aaron Rodgers’ ‘how’d-he-do-that?’ touchdown pass to Jamaal Williams. Rodgers flicked it to the back right corner of the end zone as he was being smothered by the Chiefs’ pass rush.
“Jacoby said, ‘Did you see that throw? It was unbelievable,’’’ Sirianni shared. “I said, ‘I saw an even more unbelievable throw about five hours earlier.’ He laughed and said, ‘I don’t know if it was that good.’ I said, ‘I do. I know it was as good as Aaron Rodgers’ throw.’’’
Frank Reich insisted after the game Brissett was on the short list of quarterbacks capable of making that play.
“Maybe a couple of quarterbacks in the league that can make that play, but we’ve got one of them,’’ he said. “The throw was stinking impressive.’’
“Yeah, 100%,’’ he said. “The strength, the way he broke away from that thing. First of all, it’s probably . . . one of the best defensive players in the NFL coming free at him. For him to show his ability to get him off of him with his strength . . . there’s just not that many guys that are as stout as Jacoby and as strong as him to be able to do it.
“Then the throw. He had to laser that thing in there.’’
It was the best of Jacoby Brissett.
“He’s made a lot of great plays this year, a lot of great throws,’’ Sirianni said. “Just the timing of it. That was awesome.’’
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