Phillip Dorsett on botched punt returns: 'I’m not going to make any excuses'

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – It would’ve been OK to be nervous, but Phillip Dorsett insisted he wasn’t.

His job was to return a Buffalo punt early in the fourth quarter. The Colts eschewed defensive needs to draft him in the first round because they wanted a playmaker, but he had yet to make an impact in his first NFL game. This was his chance.

Colton Schmidt got the snap and boomed the ball high through the rainy Buffalo air. Dorsett promptly dropped it.

No harm, no foul, though, as Dorsett managed to fall on the ball for a 1-yard gain. He’d get the next one.

The Bills had to punt again on their next possession, and if there were any shot for Andrew Luck and the offense to get back into the game, it would have to come on the next drive.

Dorsett was deep again. Surely this opportunity was the one. Schmidt punted, Dorsett got under the ball and … dropped it. Again. This time he couldn’t recover.

The Bills would get a field goal off the turnover, going up 27-8 with just over eight minutes to play in Sunday’s season opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

It wasn’t exactly the debut the Colts had hoped for when they grabbed the Miami speedster 29th overall. They lost to first-time starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Buffalo Bills, 27-14.

“I had no nerves,” Dorsett said. “It was just, I didn’t look the ball in, didn’t think security first.

“I’m not going to make any excuses about the ball being wet. Everybody knew it was raining, I already knew the ball was going to be wet. I just have to look the ball in. ... I was too caught up in trying to make something happen and I forgot about security first.”

Colts coach Chuck Pagano didn’t think about changing punt returners.

“He’s going to be a great punt returner for us,” Pagano said. “We’ve got to work with him. It’s the simple fundamentals. He had an opportunity to make a big play there, which would have been huge for us. He’ll get better. He’ll learn from it and grow.”

Dorsett was thankful to have a veteran like T.Y. Hilton around to boost his spirits after the fumbles. Hilton told him making a big play would help him forget about his mistakes, and that’s exactly what Dorsett did on the next series.

Andrew Luck hit him over the middle for a first down on third-and-10, and Dorsett followed it up with a 29-yard gain down the right sideline on the very next play.

“I just told him keep your head up, it’s going to happen,” Hilton said. “Coach told you there’s going to be some adversity. You don’t know when, you don’t know where it’s going to come from, but you have to find a way to bounce back. And he bounced back making that big catch. I said, the only way you’ll get that off your mind is if you go out there and do something big, and he did.”

Dorsett finished with two receptions for 45 yards. He wasn’t targeted by Luck until the fourth quarter -- Donte Moncrief opened as the No. 3 receiver -- after Hilton left with a knee injury. And if Hilton has to miss time, Dorsett may be relied on more next week against the Jets.

“He just has keep his head up and stay positive,” Hilton said. “I’m confident with all (the receivers). They should be fine.”

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus