INDIANAPOLIS — Devin Funchess is headed to injured reserve, but the Indianapolis Colts wide receiver might yet have some football to play this year.
“No, it’s not season ending,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said. “It’s definitely not season ending.”
Funchess suffered a broken clavicle on an incomplete pass late in Sunday’s 30-24 overtime loss at the Los Angeles Chargers. He leapt for a pass near the sideline in the end zone and landed hard on the shoulder.
Tests later revealed the extent of the damage.
Players on injured reserve must miss at least eight weeks before they’re eligible to return. After the eight-week period, there’s a three-week window when the player can practice without counting against the 53-man roster.
At the end of that window, the team must decide whether to activate the player or leave him on injured reserve. Teams can bring back a maximum of two players from IR each season.
Funchess’ absence will be felt. The 6-foot-4 wideout had three catches for 32 yards against the Chargers and is a unique target for quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
“It’s a tough break for Devin,” Reich said. “We really love Devin. I just felt like there was a growing chemistry between he and Jacoby. Jacoby really likes throwing him the ball. He’s a big, strong guy.
“He’ll bounce back from this thing and get ready to go. In the meantime, it’s an opportunity for our younger players and the other guys on the roster.”
Among the young players in line for increased opportunities is second-year receiver Deon Cain. At 6-2, he’s shown superior athleticism and the ability to take the top off opposing defenses.
Cain had two catches for 35 yards Sunday in his NFL debut.
He missed all of last season after tearing his ACL during the exhibition opener at Seattle.
“Honestly, we like Deon for a lot of the same reasons that we like Funch,” Reich said. “Yeah, they are different types of receivers, but Deon we feel like is a big-play receiver. I mean he has that in his game, and I just think this is a great opportunity for him. But you know how we roll on offense, we will mix it up with some of the other guys as well.”
The latter likely will include tight end Eric Ebron, who lined up off the line of scrimmage a few times against L.A.
Ebron finished with just one catch for eight yards, but he had an apparent touchdown catch over ruled because the ball moved along his torso when he landed in the end zone.
Getting the 6-4 tight end more targets is certain to be a part of future game plans.
“One of the things we’ve said to our guys before this last game, our skill players, is we just reminded them, ‘Hey, now that the season is starting we have to be the most unselfish group in the NFL. This skill group, right here, and understand that the ball gets spread around different week to week,’” Reich said. “Even as I look back to this last game I say, ‘It would’ve been good to get Ebron more involved in that game.’ The way it floated, it just didn’t come up.
“We had some passes that were going to come up, and then we started running it well. Always we’re looking to get Ebron involved. With Funchess out and that big target, certainly he’ll be the one filling the spot in some of those plays.”
VOTE FOR VINNY
Adam Vinatieri suffered the worst game of his 24-year career Sunday, missing two field goals and an extra point in the same contest for the first time.
The seven missing points were crucial in a tight loss.
The kicker told reporters he was solely to blame for the defeat in the postgame locker room, but there were more factors at play. Indianapolis surrendered 435 total yards and an average of 7.4 yards per play.
On Monday, Reich again gave the veteran an unqualified vote of confidence.
“In all three phases we could’ve played better, as units, individually,” Reich said. “Some guys played better than others. So we are all looking to make improvements. Obviously, Adam didn’t have his best day, but I’ll just keep putting into context – this guy is an elite, elite player. Not just ‘was.’
“I see it every day in practice that he kicks. So I have watched him in pregame, I have seen him every day in practice. (I have) no concerns that there is any deteriorating of anything physically, and certainly not mentally. This guy is the toughest mental athlete I have ever been around. So, no worries.”
PLAY OF THE DAY
Safety Malik Hooker made an incredible interception in the end zone during the fourth quarter to prevent the Chargers from putting the game out of reach.
The leaping one-handed grab, and the ground Hooker covered to make it, was impressive even to the opposition.
“I can’t say that I didn’t see him,” L.A. quarterback Philip Rivers said. “I saw him. I just didn’t think that there was any way that he could get there.”