Bradley Roby knew he'd be targeted by Andrew Luck all night long. It's almost obligatory. The NFL's veteran quarterbacks are trained to find the weakness in the opposition. More often than not, that weakness comes in the form of rookie defensive backs.
Last night was no exception to that rule. Roby was targeted 11 times, which led the team. He gave up 8 receptions for 98 yards. One of those receptions was a goal line slant to Indianapolis Colts WR, Hakeem Nicks, on 3rd down. Roby closed on the ball with alacrity and with the help of safety, Quinton Carter, stopped Nicks from converting the 3rd down. By inches.
When "Captain Comeback", aka, Andrew Luck, was down by a touchdown and driving down the field with less than 2 minutes to go, Roby had a feeling that the trend of targeting him would likely continue.
On 4th down, from the Broncos 39 yard line, Luck threw over the middle to Pro Bowl wide receiver, Reggie Wayne, in hopes of coverting a 1st down and keeping the Colts' hopes alive. Roby was in coverage and at the last second, broke on the ball and deflected the pass. IN-COM-PLETE!
In his post-game comments, Roby told DenverBroncos.com this:
"It was 4th down. I knew we needed a stop. I kind of felt that they were gonna come at me, being a rookie and going against their best receiver. He kinda got me off the line, but, you know, just thankfully, I was able to recover and make the play at the end."
Big props to the rookie from Ohio State. Not long before the game, Head Coach, John Fox, announced that Roby had supplanted Kayvon Webster as the team's #3 cornerback. Webster was subsequently deactivated for Sunday night's game.
Roby made the most of his opportunity under the bright lights of Sunday Night Football and solidified his place with the Broncos first team unit. He has the rare chance to be an impact rookie.
Chad Jensen can be found on Twitter @CJ_Broncos.