Colts notebook: Clayton Geathers makes interesting return

Clayton Geathers

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – They took away what would have been a rousing return for Clayton Geathers, but even that couldn’t completely spoil the moment for the Indianapolis Colts veteran safety.

“It felt good to be back out there with the guys, running around, having fun,’’ Geathers said after the Colts’ 20-14 loss to Tennessee Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. “It was awesome.’’

Geathers was on the field for the first time this season after missing the first 10 games while recovering from surgery in March to repair a bulging disc in his neck. He suffered the injury nearly a year ago to the day – Nov. 20 – against the Titans.

On his first snap in the first quarter, Geathers blitzed pulled down quarterback Marcus Mariota. The third-down sack, though, was erased when cornerback Rashaan Melvin was penalized for holding in the secondary.

“It’s good though,’’ Geathers said. “There’ll be many more, I know that. Just coming off the edge, I saw the opportunity and I was like, ‘Please, don’t throw it. Please, don’t throw it.’

“The back end was covering it nice so I got there in time.’’

Geathers’ playing time was monitored and – aside from the sack that didn’t count – wasn’t credited with a tackle.

“To get out there and actually be in a game, get live reps, that was huge,’’ he said.

  • Brissett under siege: Jacoby Brissett’s status as the NFL’s most sacked QB was reinforced Sunday. He went down eight times against the Titans, running his season total to a league-high 43.

There were occasions the Colts’ pass protection allowed quick and serious pressure. There were other times, though, when Brissett either held the ball too long or failed to get past the line of scrimmage as he sought to avoid a sack. Twice, Brissett slid at the line of scrimmage for no lost yardage, but a sack nonetheless.

“It was a mixture of everything,’’ Brissett said. “We’ve just got to do a better job of understanding what teams are doing against us because that’s what teams do against us.

“I’ve got to do a better job of trying to save a lot of those.’’

The eight sacks are tied for the third-highest total allowed in team history, and come a month after the Colts allowed 10 in a 27-0 loss to Jacksonville. The franchise record: 12 against St. Louis in 1980.

The Colts have allowed a league-high 47 sacks on the season, and are on pace to eclipse the team record of 62 in 1997.

  • A first for Hairston: Rookie cornerback Nate Hairston came up with his first career interception, thanks to Darius Butler’s inability to come up with his 16th.

When Butler bobbled a Marcus Mariota pass late in the second quarter, Hairston was in position to snare the football. The Colts offense responded by driving for Frank Gore’s 14-yard touchdown run that gave them a 13-6 halftime lead.

The game extended a tough couple of weeks for Mariota. He suffered two interceptions Sunday after throwing a career-high four in the previous game against Pittsburgh. Mariota has 12 on the season, which exceeds the career-high of 10 he had as a rookie in 2015.

  • Medical update: Center Ryan Kelly was diagnosed with a concussion at halftime and did not return. He was replaced in the second half by Mike Person.

Cornerback Rashaan Melvin didn’t return after suffering an injury to his right hand while making a diving interception of a Marcus Mariota pass in the second quarter. He was seen in the locker room after the game with a wrap on his right hand/wrist.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.