Nothing that happened to Vinatieri on Sunday was necessarily a bad mistake or even his fault.
But in a rough season, three of his kicks were turning points in the Colts’ crushing 31-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Vinatieri missed a 55-yard field goal, then had a 53-yard field goal blocked. Then came the real game-changer: In the fourth quarter Vinatieri had a field goal blocked and returned 63 yards for a touchdown to give the Titans a 24-17 lead. CBS said it was the first time Indianapolis had ever allowed a blocked field goal for a touchdown in team history. Jacoby Brissett threw an interception right after that and Ryan Tannehill threw a touchdown to put the game away.
Vinatieri is likely the greatest kicker in NFL history, or on a very short list. But this season has been a trying one, and it was another tough day on Sunday.
Colts intend to keep Jacoby Brissett. Brissett is viewed as a "special guy" and they want him in the building even with Philip Rivers signed to a big contract. It's unlikely that any NFL team sees Brissett as a franchise quarterback, so getting meaningful compensation for Brissett on the trade market would be difficult, especially with Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, and Andy Dalton available. Brissett has averaged 6.6 yards per attempt in both of his seasons as an NFL starter.
Colts signed CB Xavier Rhodes, 3-time Pro Bowler, formerly of the Vikings, to a one-year contract.
Rhodes was released by the Vikings, the only team he had ever known, on the eve of free agency. He turns 30 in June. It is nevertheless a low-risk potential bounce-back signing for a team that has improved on defense this offseason but was still a man short at cornerback. It would not be the first time a player with Rhodes' pedigree shook off a slump.