By Zack Kelberman
(247 SPORTS) – Phillip Lindsay is putting the NFL on notice. The Denver Broncos’ rookie running back on Tuesday was nominated for Pepsi Rookie of the Week honors following his record-setting performance in Sunday’s season-opening victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley, Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward, Minnesota Vikings CB Mike Hughes and New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold are the other candidates.
Lindsay led the way for Denver, tying for a team-high 71 rushing yards on 15 carries and adding two catches for 31 yards and a touchdown. He became the first undrafted Broncos rookie to score on a touchdown reception in a Week 1 contest. The record feat came a little more than midway through the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks, when the former Colorado star hit paydirt on a 29-yard catch-and-run.
At times, Lindsay looked like the best Broncos runner on the field with his dual-threat ability. He notched the same number of carries (15) as supposed starting workhorse Royce Freeman and clearly outworked presumed second-stringer Devontae Booker, who logged 15 yards on four touches (two rushing, two receiving).
In a way, head coach Vance Joseph was taken aback by his stellar out. And in a way, he wasn’t.
“I think we’re all surprised because you just never know about young guys as far as coming into this league and playing—playing confident, playing with a toughness, playing with an I.Q. to play in this league,” Joseph said Monday. “He’s done all three: he’s tough, he’s smart, he’s a playmaker and it doesn’t seem too big for him. I’ve been really impressed with him from day one. From day one, rookie camp, he’s come in with swagger and confidence, and it hasn’t changed.”
Soft-spoken if not intentionally reserved, Lindsay isn’t consumed with personal gratification or the immediate spotlight that shines on budding stars.
“This is the NFL. For me, I don’t care about stats. It’s about winning,” he said after the game. “It’s about me doing my part, Royce doing his part, [RB Devontae] Booker doing his part. If we all stick together, we’re going to be fine.”
Between Freeman and Lindsay — the thunder and lightning — the Broncos are set up for sustainable success in the ground game. Their next test comes against an Oakland Raiders defense which was gashed by Todd Gurley on Monday Night Football.
Does Lindsay expect to be as heavily involved in the gameplan?
“I’m just going out there and doing my job,” he said Monday. “That’s all I have to say about that.”
You can cast your vote for Lindsay as Rookie of the Week by clicking here.