We had to dig deep to find this week’s Rookie of the Game, but Malik Hooker turned in a solid performance against the Tennessee Titans on Monday night.
The Colts’ first-round draft choice out of Ohio State played well on Monday night and was flying around the secondary. Hooker finished with 3 tackles and 1 pass defended.
Hooker is known as a ball-hawking safety, and he was relied upon heavily to keep the explosive Tennessee offense in check.
One of the bigger defensive plays of the night came on the Titans’ second drive of the evening. On third down inside the red zone, Marcus Mariota floated a pass toward the back left corner of the end zone to his tight end Delanie Walker. At the last moment, Hooker poked the ball away forcing a field goal from Ryan Succop to hold the Titans to a 6-3 lead.
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Hooker was tended to briefly by the medical staff before the end of the second quarter, but returned to start the second half.
Unfortunately for Hooker, he was on the wrong end of a big play midway through the fourth quarter. There appeared to be confusion between he and cornerback Pierre Desir when Titans wide receiver Taywan Taylor scored the go-ahead touchdown on a deep corner route. The 53-yard touchdown play put the Titans up for good, as they would go on to win the game by the final score of 36-22.
While it is impossible to ignore the big play given up by Hooker and the Indianapolis defense, there are positives from Hooker’s play that can be taken away going forward. Hopefully fellow rookies Anthony Walker and Quincy Wilson will continue to heal from their injuries and be able to join Hooker on the field next week against Jacksonville.