INDIANAPOLIS – Anthony Richardson is closer to returning as the Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback.
The team’s first-round pick, along with center Ryan Kelly, remain in the NFL’s concussion protocol but each is expected to practice Wednesday afternoon.
Barring a setback, that has them on track to return for Sunday’s meeting with the Los Angeles Rams at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Richardson and Kelly missed last Sunday’s overtime win at Baltimore after sustaining brain trauma the previous week at Houston. Richardson made the trip to Baltimore and was heavily involved in sideline discussions with teammates.
“It was huge having him there on the sidelines to see that,’’ Shane Steichen said Wednesday. “He was definitely engaged. He was excited when we were scoring and making plays.
“And obviously being around the quarterbacks in between series, talking through things and learning that way was huge.’’
With Richardson in the league’s protocol, backup Gardner Minshew II stepped in and helped lead the Colts to a 22-19 overtime win. He passed for 227 yards and a 17-yard touchdown to running back Zack Moss.
The overarching catalyst was placekicker Matt Gay, who converted five field goals and set an NFL record by knocking down four from at least 50 yards (54, 53, 53, 53).
After replacing Richardson in the second quarter in week 2 at Houston and securing the 31-20 win with 171 passing yards and one TD, Minshew made it clear he understood his role.
“Yeah, I told him at halftime ‘I’m going to hold it down for you,’’’ he said. “Everybody follows him. He’s the leader of this team.’’
In his two starts, Richardson has completed 30-of-47 passes (63.8%) for 279 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He’s the team’s second-leading rusher with 75 yards and three TDs on 13 attempts.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.