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Alec Pierce earns high praise from Matt Ryan: ‘He’s special’

Alec Pierce earns high praise from Matt Ryan: ‘He’s special’
Oct 6, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Alec Pierce (14) pulls in a pass under pressure from Denver Broncos cornerback Damarri Mathis (27) in the fourth quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. (Photo: Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)

INDIANAPOLIS (BVM) – Alec Pierce led the Indianapolis Colts (2-2-1) in both catches and yards on Thursday Night Football, and earned the praise of his veteran quarterback in the process. The rookie wide receiver out of Cincinnati hauled in a game-high eight receptions for 81 yards in the Colts’ 12-9 overtime win in Denver against the Broncos (2-3). 

“He continues to build confidence every week; every week he’s getting better for us,” Colts quarterback Matt Ryan said of Pierce during Amazon Prime’s “TNF Nightcap” after the game. “I think he can be a really good player in this league for a long time. He’s got unbelievable ball skills. 

“He’s special. He’s playing great for us and I’ve got a lot of confidence in him.” 

It was a good night for Pierce to have the best game of his young career as the Colts’ offense mostly struggled without All-Pro running back Johnathan Taylor (ankle) and failed to score a touchdown. It’s clear that Pierce is gaining the confidence of Ryan week by week but Thursday night was the first bit of real vindication for the rookie’s second-round draft selection. 

He made multiple contested catches — many of which came on anticipatory throws by Ryan who was pressured most of the night and sacked six times – and was the lone bright spot of an otherwise abysmal display of football as neither team reached the endzone. 

Pierce was taken by Indianapolis with the 53rd overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft after running a 4.41 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine. He won the No. 2 wide receiver job behind Michael Pittman Jr. in training camp before a concussion suffered in the Colts’ season-opening overtime tie with the Houston Texans sidelined him for Week 2, but Pierce flashed his rapport with the former MVP quarterback upon his return in Week 3. 

The rookie caught three of five targets for 61 yards in a win over the Kansas City Chiefs for the Colts’ first win of the season before setting a new career high in receptions (4) and yards (80) in Week 4. Pierce now has 13 receptions for 141 yards and is averaging 20.1 yards per catch. He’s yet to find the endzone, but with Ryan’s confidence in him, that should change sooner rather than later.