Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. ‘in good spirits’ after suffering concussion

INDIANAPOLIS — The best season of wide receiver Michael Pittman’s career has included taking some serious contact.

But nothing to the degree of what occurred with less than nine minutes remaining in the second quarter of the Indianapolis Colts’ 30-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

On a deep crossing route, Pittman laid out while reaching for a pass from quarterback Gardner Minshew II. As the football arrived, Steelers safety Damontae Kazee came in from behind and delivered a vicious hit to Pittman’s head.

As Pittman remained on the turf, three penalty flags were thrown. Kazee was penalized for unnecessary roughness and ejected.

Players from both teams surrounded Pittman as the medical staff tended to him. Some appeared to be praying.

Pittman finally got to his feet and walked to the sideline. Instead of checking him for a concussion in the blue tent, doctors accompanied him to the locker room.

He was ruled out of the game with a concussion after catching four passes for 78 yards.

Coach Shane Steichen talked with Pittman in the locker room after the game.

“Yeah, he seems good,’’ Steichen said. “He’s in good spirits.

“It was tough obviously to see that with Pitt. But to see him get up and walk off that field, I mean, the guy’s tough as nails. It’s over and over and over again what he does, the toughness he shows.

“Just the credibility he brings to this football team year-in and year-out, and obviously this year . . . the way he’s playing.’’

Earlier, running back Zack Moss suffered an arm injury after being dragged down on a horse-collar tackle by Mykal Walker on his 16-yard touchdown reception from Minshew.

Steichen was asked if both were dirty plays by the Steelers.

“I’ve got to go back and look at them,’’ he said. “Obviously, you don’t want to see guys get hurt, you know what I mean? 

“They’re bang-bang plays. In real time, you obviously don’t want that on your player. On the flip side, we don’t want to do that.’’

“Yeah, it’s never ideal,’’ Minshew said. “You don’t want that. I don’t think there was any malicious intent or anything. That’s sometimes how the game goes.

“I wish I wouldn’t have put Pitt in that position, honestly. So, you always try to do your best to protect your guys, but there’s sometimes where unfortunate things just happen in the game.’’

Pittman must make his way through the NFL’s concussion protocol to be available for the Colts’ Dec. 24 road test at Atlanta. Having an extra day to recover will help.

His streak of six games with at least eight receptions ended, but he has 99 catches for 1,062 yards.

Pittman had a career-high 99 receptions last year and posted his first 1,000-yard season in 2021 (1,082).

“He’s been phenomenal,’’ Steichen said.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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