Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship injures hip in warmups, misses 3 kicks in loss to Ravens
Indianapolis Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship first felt what he described as a stabbing pain in his hip during pregame warmups ahead of the Monday Night Football game against the Baltimore Ravens.
The pain shot through his hip as he began his backswing, continued as his leg swung toward the ball and intensified once initial contact was made.
The second-year kicker approached Colts special teams coach Bubba Ventrone and let him know he'd only feel comfortable kicking from about 45 yards.
Blankenship did his best to stay loose, stretching out on the sideline in between practice kicks into the net, but late in the second quarter it became clear to everyone watching that something was off with the Colts kicker.
"I feel like I'm gonna make every kick," Blankenship said. "When I step out on the field and when the coaches call my number, I'm going on the field with the attitude that I'm going to make this kick regardless of what's going on."
Blankenship made his first kick, an extra point after Jonathan Taylor's 76-yard touchdown catch but the next field goal attempt led to an odd scene on the field at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Colts usual kicking operation was curiously absent, as holder Rigoberto Sanchez lined up to kick a 42-yard field goal and running back Nyheim Hines replaced Sanchez as holder in the final seconds of the second quarter. What seemed like a trick play of sorts became weirder when Sanchez attempted the field goal, missing wide left.
The miss was nullified after Marlon Humphrey jumped offsides, moving the ball five yards closer and giving the Colts another chance to put points on the board. After the penalty, Blankenship strolled into the game and made the now 37-yard kick, putting the Colts up 10-3 as time expired the first half.
While the Monday Night Football broadcast team speculated about Blankenship's whereabouts, it was revealed that the former Georgia star was dealing with a hip injury.
Blankenship's known as accurate without the biggest leg. For his career, Blankenship is just 1-for-4 on kicks 50 of yards or more. He's perfect from 20 to 29 yards out, 15-of-17 between 30 to 39 yards, and 14-of-17 from 40 to 49 yards outs.
The Colts built a 19-point lead with 3:06 left in the third quarter, but with injuries in the secondary mounting, former MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson seemed poised to mount a comeback.
After Taylor's short touchdown run the previous possession, the Ravens marched 75 yards in five plays. Blankenship briefly stopped the onslaught, connecting on a 43-yard field goal, but that may have been all the juice left in his kicking leg.
Blankenship's next attempt, a 37-yarder with 4:35 left in the fourth quarter, was blocked by Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell. Despite the block, Blankenship said the kick felt good off his foot.
"I thought that was a good operation," Blankenship said of the blocked kick. "I don't think (the injury) had any effect on that kick. I felt like I'd made pretty solid contact on that ball.
"I like to think that it would have gone through."
Carson Wentz and the Colts offense moved the ball to the Baltimore 30-yard line in five plays, taking just 26 seconds off the clock. Indy used its final play, a quarterback sneak, to center the ball for Blankenship, setting up a potential game-winning 47-yard field goal.
To his credit, Blankenship didn't sub himself out or use his injury as an excuse. He stepped up to take a kick he felt was outside of his range and, right off his foot, the ball starting fading to the left. Blankenship missed wide left, the Colts lost the coin toss in overtime and the Ravens snatched victory away from the Colts.
"I felt like I was gonna make it, obviously," Blankenship said. "It would have been nice to make that 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 said he expects to get imaging on his hip done Tuesday to determine the severity of the injury. After the game, he said the mood in the locker room was supportive.
"I'm eternally grateful for the teammates that I have, to be a part of this Brotherhood in this family, in this organization," Blankenship said. "I just hope that I can get healthy and get back on the field and go out and do my job for them because they deserve it."
Follow IndyStar sports reporter Akeem Glaspie on Twitter at @THEAkeemGlaspie.