INDIANAPOLIS – Aaron Donald seemed to be a one-man wrecking crew Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium and might have wrecked so much more.
He might have done serious damage to Carson Wentz’s right ankle and the Indianapolis Colts’ season. We’ll know for certain after Wentz has scans taken of his ankle Sunday evening.
That’s how the team’s franchise quarterback planned on spending the hours following the 27-24 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. A battery of tests are required after the Donald-led Rams powered through Wentz’s protection – that happened too many times for a second straight game; 3 sacks, eight other hits on the QB – and pulled him down on a third-and-5 play midway through the fourth quarter.
Donald got up and celebrated the third-down stop with his teammates.
Wentz stayed down. He flipped his helmet in disgust.
“My ankle got twisted and I felt it right away. It did not feel good,’’ he said. “I could feel it underneath the pile right away. I think the guys around me could hear me yelling. It was rolled up pretty good.
“It’s definitely frustrating and obviously shouldn’t have thrown my helmet like that, but I knew at that point I was probably not going to come back out this game.’’
And he didn’t. After limping to the bench, Wentz was surrounded by trainers. They re-taped the right ankle and he tested it as backup Jacob Eason began limbering up, but it was clear his day was over.
“I tried to tape it up, spat it up and do everything I could to get out there and finish the game,’’ Wentz said. “It’s a bad feeling to not be out there, especially in that situation.
“I’ve played with a lot (of injuries) before and this one I just couldn’t play through today.’’
The Colts tied the game at 24-all on Rodrigo Blankenship’s 35-yard field goal with 7:22 remaining, but the Rams responded with Matt Gay’s 38-yard field goal 5 minutes later.
As Wentz looked on with his right ankle throbbing, Eason saw his second NFL pass intercepted by Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
“Kind of feel like you let the team down a little bit,’’ Wentz said. “It’s definitely frustrating, but it’s football.’’
Soon, Wentz and the Colts will discover the severity of the injury.
Wentz was asked if he feared the ankle is broken.
“Not sure at this point obviously,’’ he said. “I don’t think so, but we’ll find out. I’ve sprained my ankle a hundred times probably since I was a kid. This one I just couldn’t play through at the end of the game.
“We’ll evaluate it and do everything we can to get this thing ready for next week.’’
That would be Sunday’s trip to Nashville for an early-season AFC South showdown with the Tennessee Titans. If Wentz is unable to play, the 0-2 Colts will turn to Eason, who’ll make his first NFL start.
And let’s not forget the visit to Nashville is the first of a three-game road trip. The Colts are at Miami Oct. 3 and at Baltimore Oct. 11.
The Colts viewed Wentz as a suitable successor when Philip Rivers retired in January, but they’ve made his Philadelphia-to-Indy transition extremely difficult, not to mention painful. What was expected to be better protection than he had with the Eagles in 2020 when he suffered a league-high 50 sacks despite being benched for the final four games has been lacking.
And that’s an understatement.
In two games, Wentz has been sacked six times and hit another 15 times. Some of the body trauma has been a result of Wentz’s insistence on extending plays and his willingness to scramble for first downs. He ran/scrambled five times for 37 yards against the Rams.
But the vast majority of his mistreatment must be laid at the feet of the offensive line.
“After week 1 we got Carson hit too many times,’’ Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly said. “Today, I think that (the Rams) probably saw that on film and went for it. There’s no hiding in this league.
“We’ve got to stop it. There’s too many shots on him.’’
For a second straight week, Kelly mentioned the o-line isn’t playing up to the high standards it set the past few seasons.
All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson agreed.
“Ryan hit the nail on the head with that,’’ he said, adding it was a boost when left tackle Eric Fisher made his first start for the Colts. “Going into next week we’re going to fix a lot of things and get back to playing Indianapolis Colts football . . . our offensive line.’’
Nelson has been impressed with Wentz’s toughness, but would prefer not to witness it on a weekly basis.
“Shoot, all the times he’s got hit, all the times he’s gotten up, it’s on a different level,’’ he said. “Hasn’t complained once. We need to be better up front and do a good job to protect him. If we give him more time he can play even better than he already is.
“It’s really sad seeing him on the ground, in pain and then get up (and) limping off. It definitely sucks seeing that.’’
Coach Frank Reich figured Wentz’s afternoon was over as Wentz made his way to the sideline.
“Just from experience, I think what happened was he rolled it up pretty bad,’’ he said. “I had a sense when he walked off the field – because I saw it – it didn’t look good.
“Sometimes if you go back in right away while it’s still warm, you can maybe gut out a few more plays. But the longer we were off the field there it just stiffened up. He tried but there was no chance.’’
The prevailing question late Sunday: does Wentz have a chance to play against the Titans?
“At this point I am frustrated about the loss,’’ he said. “There’s a lot of emotions going on and I’m going to go get a scan as soon as I can and pray.
“Pray a lot that God can heal this thing and heal it quickly so we can be out there next week.’’
You can follow the Colts Blue Zone on Twitter at @ColtsBluezone.