Anthony Richardson has arrived as QB1 for the Colts

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson (5) looks down field Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson (5) looks down field Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. /

Anthony Richardson got his NFL career off to a hot start with an impressive debut this past weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars. At long last, the quarterback search is over for the Colts.

The Indianapolis Colts have undergone a continuous game of musical chairs at quarterback since Andrew Luck shocked the world by retiring at age 29. From Philip Rivers to Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan, general manager Chris Ballard has tried to replace the superstar signal-caller, but to no avail.

However, after the team’s most recent NFL Draft class, things finally appear to be on the up and up in Naptown. Anthony Richardson has taken the reigns of the quarterback mantle for the Colts and shows no signs of ever giving it up.

Anthony Richardson Is QB1

In his professional debut vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, Richardson flashed his otherworldly potential several times throughout the contest. He recorded 223 passing yards, one touchdown through the air, and another on the ground.

It wasn’t a flawless effort, as the first-year player missed a few easy throws and even turned the ball over with an ugly fourth-quarter interception. Going further, there were a few instances where Richardson could have slid rather than subjecting himself to a big hit from the defender.

But all in all, it is fair to say that the 21-year-old held his own. Richardson became the first rookie in NFL history to put up 200+ passing yards, 40+ rushing yards, one passing touchdown, and one rushing touchdown in his debut. It felt as special as it sounds, too.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There is still some work to do with his footwork and processing. But Richardson is leaps and bounds ahead of the player I watched on tape at Florida. And even then, I had the Gator product as a top 10 player in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Richardson’s composure was the most impressive part of the game. He never looked overwhelmed, whether it was standing in the pocket or scrambling to gain extra yardage. The Colts fed off his energy and rallied around his ability to move the chains at all costs.

For a prospect who was tabbed as raw coming out of college, Richardson showed a remarkable understanding of what the defense was throwing at him Sunday. The Jaguars spent most of the day in a two-high look, with the safeties forcing short-to-intermediate passes while keeping the top on the defense.

To Richardson’s credit, he accepted what the defense was doing and adjusted accordingly. Most of the concerns around his accuracy come from within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage, but against Jacksonville, he excelled in this area. The ingenuity to identify blitz pre-snap and hit his hot routes made the Colts signal-caller look like a grizzled vet.

Although Richardson left the Jaguars game early due to an injury, head coach Shane Steichen said on Monday that there is no concern moving forward. But it brings up a point: As exciting as the scrambling is, the youngster must be more aware and give himself up before taking a lick from an oncoming tackler.

Can The Colts Rookie Play His Exciting Brand Of Football Without Constant Injuries?

That is not to say Richardson should stop running altogether — that would be foolish. It is a major component of his skillset. However, as Colts fans can attest, sometimes gaining six yards is better than gaining eight and taking a shot to the body.

There is no doubt, though, that the Colts have found their answer behind center. A franchise blessed with Johnny Unitas, Peyton Manning, and Andrew Luck at quarterback, it seems as though Anthony Richardson is the next to etch his name in the history books.