Colts defense, Rivers come up big as Colts ground Jets 36-7

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September 28, 2020 9:31 AM

Xavier Rhodes delivered the first punch Sunday for the Indianapolis Colts.

T.J. Carrie finished it off on a milestone day for Philip Rivers.

Rhodes and Carrie each returned an interception for a touchdown, Indianapolis recorded its second safety in as many weeks and Rivers added his 400th career TD pass as the Colts routed the New York Jets 36-7. It's the first time since October 1970 the Colts returned two INTs for scores in a game, which also happened against the Jets.

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“Any time we touch that rock, that's the most important part of the game," Carrie said. “It's not just saying something, you have to actually go out and practice it."

The Colts (2-1) came in with the league's top-rated defense and could stay there after picking off three more passes, giving up just 260 yards and seven points.

But for a franchise better known for high-scoring offenses, getting 18 points from the defense in two victories has been a welcome addition.

Couple that with Rivers, who got rid of the ball quickly and crisply while avoiding mistakes on a milestone day.

The 38-year-old quarterback went 17 of 21 with 217 yards, becoming the sixth player in league history to throw 400 career TD passes and the sixth to top 60,000 yards. He passed Hall of Famer Dan Marino for fifth all-time in completions and broke a tie with Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton for eighth in league history with win No. 125.

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Rivers now has exactly 400 TDs, 60,065 yards, 4,980 completions.

“I think it’s OK when you don’t caught up in it to go, ‘Oh man,'" he said. “What it’s done for me in this little short bit of time is you start thinking about all the guys who caught so many of those balls. You know it's all about the team. But I’m certainly thankful and I'd be lying to you if I said I didn’t care.”

For the winless Jets, it was another ugly chapter in a season already filled with them after only three weeks.

Rhodes picked off Sam Darnold on the fifth play of the game, returning it 44 yards for his first score since 2016.

Darnold answered with a 16-yard TD pass to Braxton Berrios to tie it midway through the first quarter. He finished 17 of 27 with 168 yards, one TD and three interceptions.

Then, it was all Colts.

After the Jets drew a pass interference call in the end zone, Rivers found Mo Alie-Cox for a 1-yard score to break the tie. Rodrigo Blankenship extended the halftime lead to 17-7 with a 42-yard field goal. Jonathan Taylor scored on a 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal in the third quarter and Carrie's 47-yard interception return on the final play of the quarter sealed New York's fate.

The Jets are 0-3 for the second straight season.

“It's frustrating," Jets coach Adam Gase said. “I’m frustrated for our guys, our coaches. I mean, we’re the only ones that can fix it. We have to do it. We have to figure out a way to clean up all the things that aren’t going right for us.”