Colts WR Dezmon Patmon waited a long time to make the play he made Christmas night

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INDIANAPOLIS — Dezmon Patmon made the catch, slid to the ground in the back of the end zone and then erupted in celebration, spiking the ball so hard that it exploded out of the TV frame.

Patmon turned in time to see Michael Pittman Jr., the teammate he’s trained with the past two offseasons, coming to celebrate, with the rest of the Colts behind him.

Patmon had made the play of the game, a play that has been a long time coming for the 2020 sixth-round pick out of Washington State.

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Two years of work and waiting went into that catch, the first NFL touchdown of Patmon’s career.

“I tried to spike the ball as hard as I physically could,” Patmon said. “Then I was on the sideline, and I was like ‘Did anybody get that ball? I actually need that ball.’”

Patmon was lucky.

Colts center Danny Pinter, another member of that 2020 draft class with Patmon and Pittman Jr., had the presence of mind to run to the referee and pick up the ball.

A ball Patmon’s going to cherish.

“I’m pumped for him, making a big play like that late in the game,” Colts quarterback Carson Wentz said.

Patmon has waited so long for an opportunity like that.

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Dezmon Patmon (10) gets congratulations from teammate Michael Pittman (11) for Patmon’s game-sealing touchdown Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Dezmon Patmon (10) gets congratulations from teammate Michael Pittman (11) for Patmon’s game-sealing touchdown Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Plucked in the sixth round out of Washington State’s Air Raid offense, Patmon entered the NFL raw, unaccustomed to playing in an offense that requires the attention to detail Indianapolis demands of its wide receivers.

Patmon made some plays in training camp, but he ended up a healthy scratch for 16 of 17 games, playing just two offensive snaps in his rookie season. Indianapolis liked the 6-4, 225-pounder’s physical tools enough to make sure he stayed on the roster, but he wasn’t ready to contribute.

He went back to work with Pittman Jr. in the offseason, throwing with former Colts quarterback Jacob Eason in California and getting time with Wentz after the trade, but Patmon suffered a foot injury in the final preseason game and ended up spending the first half of his rookie season on injured reserve.

Patmon kept working, but the effects of all that time on the sideline is impossible to ignore.

“Playing time, just playing in general, is what helps build that confidence in your own ability,” Patmon said. “Not that you lose faith in your ability, but the confidence to go out there kind of plateaus a little bit.”

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Patmon finally started getting a few chances at midseason.

He’s mostly been the team’s No. 5 receiver, playing a handful of snaps every game.

But even that’s enough. Patmon made the first catch of his career in his season debut against the Jets, then kept biding his time, knowing another chance would come at some point.

“It’s definitely hard, and it’s a grind staying patient, waiting for your turn,” Patmon said. “But that’s what the NFL is. … I’ve been waiting a long time, and I’m just glad that when the time came, I was able to make a play.”

Patmon didn’t necessarily know he’d be in that position in the week leading up to the Cardinals game. For starters, the Colts spent the entire week expecting Zach Pascal to play, only to lose him to a positive COVID-19 test the day of the game.

And the route Patmon ran for the score?

Wentz altered that route at the last moment.

“They changed that the day of the game,” Patmon said. “I’m pretty happy that they made it.”

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The Colts have built themselves around an ethos that every player is important, every player is going to have a chance to make a big play for the team.

Patmon has waited a long time for his chance.

He made it count.

“To see him make that play, I think all 53 guys that were out there jumped, screamed and hollered, especially the 11 that were on the field, just seeing him these past two years continue to grow and continue to get better,” Colts captain T.Y. Hilton said.

Patmon will be ready if Indianapolis needs him again.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Colts wide receiver Dezmon Patmon waited a long time to make his play

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