INDIANAPOLIS – It was a status quo Monday for the Indianapolis Colts.
They were dealing with their latest failed business trip to Jacksonville, and there was no update on Anthony Richardson’s status.
Since Sunday’s 37-20 loss to the Jaguars is in the team’s rearview mirror – that’s nine straight road losses to Jacksonville, in case you had lost count – the well-being of their rookie quarterback and his immediate future were among the topics faced by Shane Steichen.
Richardson suffered a grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his right shoulder eight days ago against Tennessee. He was placed on the injured reserve list and must miss at least four games, the first being Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars.
Perhaps Richardson returns at some point. Perhaps he opts for season-ending shoulder surgery, which seems to be the prevailing speculation.
As options are considered, Steichen was asked, is the team taking a longer-term view? Richardson is, after all, the focal point of the franchise’s future.
“Yeah, that makes sense,’’ he said. “It is a priority. Obviously, we want to do what’s best for him and this organization moving forward. Like I said, we will make the decision when the time is right. We’re still evaluating that process.’’
The final decision will involve the Colts – Owner Jim Irsay, General Manager Chris Ballard, Steichen, the medical staff – as well as Richardson and his representatives.
“We’re gathering as much information as we can,’’ Steichen said. “This is a decision that we want to make that’s right for him and the organization . . . for his longevity.’’
Richardson has been around the team since suffering the injury. He has attended practice with his arm in a sling and was on the sideline Sunday in Jacksonville. The Gainesville product spent a lot of time prior to the game signing autographs.
The No. 4 overall pick in the draft was unable to finish three of his four starts: the shoulder versus the Titans; a bruised knee against Jacksonville in the opener, although he could have returned had the game been within reach; and a concussion at Houston that also forced him to miss the ensuing game at Baltimore.
Chunks in pass game
Gardner Minshew II’s carelessness was a major factor in Sunday’s lopsided loss to Jacksonville. He suffered four turnovers, including a career-high three interceptions, that the Jaguars turned into 17 points.
One of the bright spots: chunk plays in the pass game.
The Colts got 40-plus yard receptions by three players for the first time since against Tennessee in week 11 of 2016.
Then, it was T.Y. Hilton (50 yards), Phillip Dorsett (50) and Frank Gore (49).
Sunday it was Kylen Granson (45), Jonathan Taylor (40) and Michael Pittman Jr. (40).
Minshew and Richardson have combined to average a lackluster 6.6 yards per attempt, but they’ve been able to get bang for their buck.
It might surprise some, but the Colts are tied-No. 7 in the league with 20 completions of at least 20 yards and four of at least 40.
“When we have our opportunities to hit ‘em, we’ve got to him ‘em and we’ve got to do a good job as a coaching staff, myself, putting them in those situations to hit those chunk plays,’’ Steichen said.
Pittman finished with his sixth career 100-yard game: 109 yards on nine receptions.
What’s notable is he’s had his six triple-digit yardage games with four different quarterbacks: Minshew, Matt Ryan (twice), Carson Wentz (twice) and Philip Rivers.
Pittman is the Colts’ leading receiver with 40 catches (No. 7 in the NFL) and 406 yards (No. 15).
Josh Downs continued to make an early-season impact with five catches, 21 yards and his first career TD.
The third-round draft pick ranks No. 2 among rookies in franchise history with 28 receptions in the team’s first six games of a season, trailing only running back Nyheim Hines (31).
Downs’ 276 yards rank No. 3 behind Ring of Honor wideout Bill Brooks (352 on just 15 catches in 1986) and tight end Ken Dilger (290 on 17 in 1995). Pierce is No. 4 with 271 yards on 18 receptions in five games last season. He missed week 2 with a concussion.
Win coin flip, take the football
Steichen has gone against the norm in the last two games.
The Colts have won the coin toss and instead of deferring and getting the football at the start of the second half, opted to receive the opening kickoff.
Steichen hasn’t referred to an analytical chart. He’s listened to his gut.
“I’ve been in the defer mode and the night before the game, we’ll be talking about it like, ‘Shoot, let’s go take the ball,’’’ he said. “That’s all it came down to . . . just the feel of let’s go take the ball and go score . . . get some momentum early.’’
It worked against the Jaguars. The opening drive reached the Jacksonville 10 before stalling. The Colts settled for Matt Gay’s 28-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
In week 5 against the Titans, Indy punted on its opening drive of the game.
And there’s no question about Steichen going against the norm.
The Colts lost the coin flip in their first three games, and the opponents deferred. Indy won the flip in week 4 against the Rams, and Steichen deferred.
Over the past two weeks – 28 games – just five teams have won the coin toss and taken the ball: the Colts twice, Chicago, Carolina and Atlanta. Only the Bears scored a TD.
More injury concerns
Kylen Granson complained of concussion symptoms after Sunday’s game and the second-year tight end is in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Pierce left the game early with a shoulder injury, but Steichen was unable to offer an update.
Finally, the team will continue to monitor the availability of Braden Smith for Sunday’s meeting with the Cleveland Browns in Lucas Oil Stadium. The veteran right tackle didn’t play at Jacksonville after suffering a hip injury in last Thursday’s practice.
“Still working through that,’’ Steichen said. “He’s progressing.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.