The Indianapolis Colts drafted wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. hoping he’d become Philip Rivers’ new elite playmaker.
It still is way too early to predict Pittman, a second-round pick from Southern California, will become the next Marvin Harrison. But if Pittman can build off his breakout performance in Week 10, the Indianapolis Colts will have to feel confident about the rookie’s future.
An injury has slowed Michael Pittman Jr. this season
Michael Pittman Jr. entered the NFL hoping to make a difference.
The son of former NFL running back Michael Pittman Sr., the younger Pittman starred at the University of Southern California. Pittman’s 101 catches, 1,275 yards, and 11 touchdowns earned him second-team All-American honors last year.
The Indianapolis Colts used the 34th overall pick in April’s NFL draft on Pittman. A mismatch receiver at 6 feet 4 inches and 223 pounds, Pittman had nine catches for 73 yards in his first three games.
Then came a calf injury that knocked Pittman out for over a month. Pittman returned to grab one catch for six yards in a 41-21 rout of Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions on November 1.
Michael Pittman Jr. just had his first breakout game
Michael Pittman Jr. showed his first signs of breaking out in Week 9, snagging four catches for 56 yards in a home loss to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.
Playing against the rival Titans on short rest, Pittman finally proved the Colts right — at least, for one night. Pittman recorded seven catches for 101 yards, including a 40-yard catch-and-run.
Pittman also had a 21-yard rush in the Colts’ road victory.
Starting quarterback Philip Rivers and Pittman formed an impressive duo in the bounceback win. In addition to leading the Colts in receptions and receiving yards, Pittman’s eight targets topped all players on both teams.
Indianapolis moved into a tie for first place in the AFC South Division with the victory. The two teams square off again on November 29, this time in Indianapolis.
Philip Rivers finally has a new weapon in Pittman
If the Indianapolis Colts are serious about winning the AFC South Division for the first time since 2014, they will need Michael Pittman Jr. to build off his Week 10 outing.
Philip Rivers clearly trusted Pittman enough in a crucial game against a division rival. Indianapolis hosts Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Week 11 before a rematch with the Titans.
If the Colts can split those two games, they will be 7-4 entering December. Indianapolis has two games against the dismal Texans in the season’s final months, as well as a home game against the free-falling Jaguars.
A division title suddenly doesn’t seem so unrealistic for the Colts. Having a healthy Michael Pittman Jr. in the lineup surely helps matters.
Fantasy football owners may want to move quickly on Pittman. The rookie receiver was available in roughly 5% of ESPN fantasy leagues at publication.