The Indianapolis Colts were playing without their top tight end on Sunday, but you wouldn’t have known it from just watching the game.
Jack Doyle continued his impressive season with a career performance today, catching nine passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. The team’s number two tight end, Erik Swoope, caught two passes for 51 yards as well. In fact, as the two combined for eleven receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown, it was the most combined receptions and yards from the team’s tight end position this year - and it was done without Allen.
The main reason for that was the play of Jack Doyle. Setting career-highs in receptions and yards, he had the best game of his career and continued a season in which he has emerged into a top target for Andrew Luck. He has played in all seven games and started six of them, catching 29 passes (on 33 targets) for 282 yards and four touchdowns. That puts him on pace for a 66 catch, 645 yard, nine touchdown season, which would be a terrific year from the tight end.
It was Doyle’s seven-yard touchdown reception with under two minutes left in the game that was the game-winning score for the Colts, and he remained humble about it, pointing out that T.Y. Hilton took “probably five guys out of the way” on his route, which left Doyle open. Hilton knew that Doyle would make the play. “It was a perfect play call,” Hilton said. “For me, once he called it, I knew it was a touchdown. They had been doubling me the whole game and once I went to the corner, I left Jack one-on-one and he is going to win that matchup every time.” The result? Touchdown Colts, and a much-needed win to improve to 3-4. Odds are it wouldn’t have happened without Doyle, who also made a very impressive adjustment on a tipped ball earlier on that game-winning drive. “They got a hand on it and the first thing that goes through your mind is to not let them get it,” Doyle explained. “I kind of felt like I was still by myself, so I tried to squeeze it and tried to run.”
Doyle’s teammates are happy to see him stepping up and producing no matter what his role - which today was that of a primary target and number one tight end.
“One of the best teammates that I have been with,” running back Frank Gore said. “He is going to continue to do everything right every day. I am just proud of him. He always tries to do everything right, and when you do that, things happen for you like this. I’m very happy for him.”
It’s a great story to see what Doyle is doing, and he’s really stepped up this season while occupying a bigger role. On Sunday, he had a career day and was a big part of Indy’s come-from-behind win.