INDIANAPOLIS – The smallest guy on the football field made one of the biggest plays of the game on Sunday.
Unheralded receiver Kalif Raymond caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill to seal the deal for the Titans in a 31-17 win over the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
And his teammates celebrated in a big way.
“Oh my gosh – a guy like that shows up every day and all he does is work,” receiver Corey Davis said of the 5-foot-8, 182-pound Raymond. “Kalif shows up every day with the same attitude, happy as hell. I’m not going to lie, some days I’ll be like, ‘Damn, how are you always in such a great mood?’ He’s literally always happy.
“Today, we’re happy for him. He deserves this, 100 percent. And make no mistake – he can ball.”
Raymond, who had just four catches for 85 yards in four games heading into the contest, raced past a Colts defender in the fourth quarter and caught a deep ball from Tannehill with 3:02 left in the contest. It came just two minutes after cornerback Tye Smith’s 63-yard return of a blocked field goal produced a touchdown for the Titans.
Raymond’s touchdown catch sparked a big celebration on the field, and the diminutive receiver drew a big crowd from reporters in the Titans locker room.
“He works his ass off every day in practice,” receiver A.J. Brown said of Raymond. “He does scout team reps – he made a crazy catch in practice earlier this week. Kalif did his thing today and he deserves all the attention he gets.
“We made bunch of big plays today when we needed it and Kalif’s play put the cherry on top.”
Raymond, who played in college at Holy Cross and previously spent time on NFL rosters of the Broncos, Jets and Giants. He spent the first part of this season in the team’s practice squad before getting and opportunity, and on Sunday he delivered.
He praised Tannehill for putting his deep ball on the money on Sunday. And he even credited Titans equipment managers Joey Barranco and Matt Thompson for working with him after practices during the week on the JUGS machine on a regular basis to get him ready for practices, and game days.
Raymond gave his mother, who was at the game, the football from his big catch – his first NFL touchdown.
He called it the biggest of his career.
“We knew it was going to be a shot, an opportunity,” Raymond said of the play call. “And when I made my cut, I had a feeling the ball was going to be there, and it was. Shout-out to Ryan for throwing a beautiful pass. (When I scored) I was about to cry, man. I was literally saying prayers and feeling so thankful.
“To make the play, it feels great. And the feeling is magnified when you get a W. To help this team win, it’s awesome.”
The Tennessee Titans take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 13 of the 2019 season at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)