Hip injury limited Rodrigo Blankenship’s effectiveness against the Ravens

Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship (3) reacts after missing a field goal late in the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

INDIANAPOLIS – The pain got Rodrigo Blankenship’s attention during pregame warm-ups at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium and not only wouldn’t subside, but kept him from delivering what could have been a pair of game-deciding kicks.

In a game that saw the Carson Wentz-led Indianapolis Colts offense pile up 513 yards and the defense have zero answers for the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, two errant Blankenship kicks were instrumental in the Colts’ 31-25 overtime loss.

In the third quarter, Blankenship pulled a PAT wide left.

On the final play of regulation, he pulled a 47-yard field-goal attempt wide left.

Hit either one of them and…

Blankenship entered the game on a serious roll. He had converted 9-of-10 field-goal attempts – he was wide right on a 51-yard attempt against the Tennessee Titans – and all six of his PATs.

Monday night, though, a hip injury “flared up’’ during warm-ups. Blankenship went through his normal pregame routine, but at some point began feeling a sensation that “got more and more intense,’’ he said. “It really took me by surprise.

“It’s difficult to describe. I guess it kind of felt like a stabbing pain. Every time I cocked my leg back to swing, and then when I would initiate my swing coming down, it was like a really sharp and intense kind of stabbing feeling in my hip.’’

While working on the sideline and kicking into the net, Blankenship informed special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone his range had shrunk to about 45 yards.

“I just wanted to try and continue my routine and continue my process,’’ he said, “and just focus to continue to still be as accurate as I can be.’’

The Colts’ final drive of the fourth quarter reached the Ravens’ 29-yard line, which set up Blankenship for what would have been a game-winning 47-yard attempt. Like the earlier PAT, he pulled it wide left.

“I mean, I felt like I was going to make it,’’ he said. “I feel like I’m going to make every kick. When the coaches call my number, you know, I’m going on the field with the attitude that I’m going to make this kick regardless of what is going on.

“I try to be as prepared as I can be and just maintain that confidence in myself and just know that when I step out on the field, I’m the best guy for the job. I felt like I was going to make it.

“Obviously it would have been nice to make the kick and win the game, but it didn’t happen. So I’ve just got to get healthy and get back to the drawing board.’’

Blankenship will have an MRI taken Tuesday to determine the severity of the hip injury. It’s entirely possible the Colts will have to find a short-term placekicker.

During training camp, Blankenship beat out Eddy Pineiro, who remains a free agent.

Before missing the 47-yarder, Blankenship converted a 37-yarder on the final play of the second quarter and a 43-yarder early in the fourth quarter that gave the Colts a 25-9 lead. He had a 37-yarder in the fourth quarter blocked by Calais Campbell.

On the second-quarter attempt, holder/punter Rigoberto Sanchez attempted a 42-yard field goal that he pushed wide left. But when the Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey was penalized for being offside, Blankenship went in and knocked down the 37-yarder.

After the game, Blankenship received support from inside the locker room and from Baltimore coach John Harbaugh.

“I have the best teammates that I could ask for,’’ he said. “We really are a family and I really felt that in the locker room. Just everybody coming up to me to let me know that they have my back and they still supported me and still trusted me to be the guy.’’

And Harbaugh’s message during a quick meeting on the field after the game?

“He just told me I was a helluva kicker and he wants to see me get healthy and get back out there and get back to doing my job,’’ Blankenship said.

Big game for Wentz

Wentz appeared at near full strength after dealing with a severely sprained right ankle.

He set career bests with 402 yards, a 128.5 passer rating and 11.49 yards per attempt. The 402 yards are the 9th most in Colts history, and Wentz joined John Unitas, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck as the only QBs in franchise history to pass for at least 400 yards in a game.

“I thought Carson played well,’’ coach Frank Reich said. “I thought he made a lot of big plays. That’s what I’m used to seeing him do. He looked in command and in control.’’

Wentz had seven completions that gained at least 20 yards, including a screen pass to Jonathan Taylor that turned into a 76-yard TD on the fourth play of the game and a 42-yard TD to Michael Pittman Jr.

Wentz was sacked twice – that’s 12 in five games – and lost a fumble when rookie Odafe Oweh beat left tackle Eric Fisher and hit him from behind. The lost fumble ended a Colts’ drive that had reached the Ravens’ 15-yard line late in the first quarter and with Indy looking to extend its 7-0 lead.

Big game for Taylor

After posting his first 100-yard rushing game of the season in last week’s win at Miami, Taylor notched his first career 100-yard receiving game against the Ravens. He finished with 116 yards on just three catches.

Taylor’s 76-yard TD was longest by a Colt since T.Y. Hilton’s 80-yarder in week 9 of 2017 and the longest by a Colt running back since Marshall Faulk’s 78-yarder against New Orleans in week 4 of 1998.

Taylor also led the Colts with 53 yards and one TD on 15 rushing attempts.

Raven’s streak over

The Colts kept the Ravens from setting an NFL record by rushing for at least 100 yards in a 44th straight game. Baltimore finished with 86 yards on 25 attempts.

The Colts, meanwhile, piled up 123 yards on 26 attempts.

This and that

Pittman finished with six catches for 89 yards and the 42-yard TD. He’s had at least six receptions in four consecutive games and is just the fourth player to do that this season.

Wideout Parris Campbell had his busiest game of the season with four catches for 56 yards while tight end Mo Alie-Cox had three catches for 50 yards.

Linebacker Darius Leonard led the defense with a season-high 13 tackles and one fumble recovery. The Colts got to Lamar Jackson for a pair of sacks: Tyquan Lewis had 1.5 and Al Quadin-Muhammad shared one of Lewis’.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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