At 7-3, the Indianapolis Colts are proving they are a force to be reckoned with in the AFC.
A week after they took down the Tennessee Titans on the road, the Colts earned another impressive win on Sunday with a 34-31 comeback victory over the previously 7-2 Green Bay Packers in overtime.
Indianapolis trailed 28-14 early in the third before scoring 17 consecutive points, including three field goals by rookie kicker Rodrigo Blankenship. Packers kicker Mason Crosby tied the game in the closing seconds with a field goal of his own to send it to overtime.
In the extra period, a fumble recovery by Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner set Blankenship up for his 39-yard game-winner — the first of his NFL career.
“It just felt incredibly special,” Blankenship said in his postgame press conference. “I’m incredibly blessed to be here, and God gave me a chance at redemption and to just prove that I could be resilient and stick it out and bounce back. And so I’m just incredibly blessed to have had that chance.”
The rookie missed a 50-yard attempt in the second quarter, his first NFL attempt longer than 44 yards and just his third missed field-goal attempt all year. But he went on to make three other field goals and both extra-point attempts in the game. When he learned the Colts had recovered a fumble and his number would likely be called, he had a chance to redeem himself for the miss.
In that moment, he turned to God.
“I just did a quick prayer and said, ‘God, I feel like You’re looking out for me and You’re giving me a chance here at redemption. So thank You for that, and help me to go out and do my job if the opportunity comes.’ So that was it — just trusting Him and trusting the team,” he said.
After the game, Blankenship posted “GOD IS SO GOOD!” on social media, where he often mentions his faith and sometimes includes Bible verses.
Blankenship has impressed in his first NFL season. He’s made all but two of his 27 extra-point attempts and is 23-of-26 on field goals, including going 8-for-9 from 40-49 yards out. His 23 made field goals are second in the league behind Younghoe Koo of the Atlanta Falcons.
Although Blankenship won the Lou Groza Award in 2019 while with Georgia as one of the best kickers in college football (never having missed an extra point in college), he went undrafted this spring. He signed with the Colts in April and earned the starting kicker job heading into the season.
Blankenship’s father, Ken, played at Florida in the late 1960s and was his son’s football coach from fifth grade until the end of high school. Yet he told the Red & Black newspaper in 2018 that what he is most proud of is not Rodrigo’s development as an elite placekicker.
“Rodrigo is leading a very blessed life,” Ken said, “through the grace of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.”
The Colts host the Titans on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in a crucial rematch of the top two teams in the AFC South.