Nyheim Hines celebrated its 24th birthday in style when the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Tennessee Titans 34-17 in Thursday Night Football.
The Colts’ running back ended with a career high of 115 yards before scrimmage, with a touchdown and a rush to score as Indianapolis defeated AFC South rivals 21-0 in the second half.
Hines has now scored four touchdowns this season and is the only player in the NFL to have completed multiple games with at least one rushed touchdown and one scored touchdown.
No other player in the Colt has ever achieved this feat, as Joseph Addai scored a receiving touchdown and a rushed touchdown on two occasions in the same game during the 2009 season.
“This is the best birthday ever,” Hines told reporters after the game. “I’ve had surprise birthdays and more, but I’ve never played on my birthday, I’ve never seen a game like this on my birthday.
“I was actually scared because it was going to be either a good game or a bad game, so the Lord blessed me to have a great game. My 24th birthday is a birthday that I will certainly never forget.”
ALL THE BIRTHDAY TO THE BIRTHDAY NYHEIM HINES!! ð¥³
ðº FOX/NFLN pic.twitter.com/ddAkIcnSi8
– Indianapolis-Colts (@Colts) November 13, 2020
Hines intercepted a pass from Philip Rivers for a 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter to level the score at 10-10, before rushing to a two-yard touchdown at the end of the third quarter to put the Colts ahead 20-17.
His outstanding performance was all the more significant as Indianapolis’ stormy offense in the match against the Titans was ranked 22nd in the league.
Nyheim Hines now has three 2 TD games this season.
He has ZERO touchdowns in the other 6 games.
– Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) November 13, 2020
Is Nyheim Hines the best offensive player in the Colts? ð¤
– Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) November 13, 2020
I stare at my dynasty team with Jonathan Taylor and AJ Brown. https://t.co/OpCSwdW4uK
– JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) November 13, 2020
Until Thursday night, Hines had been used sparingly as a hitter, averaging only 4.1 carries per game in the first eight games of the Colts season and a season high of 28 rushing yards.
In comparison, Hines finished Tennessee with 70 rushing yards over 12 carries, eclipsing the two running backs Jonathan Taylor and Jordan Wilkins, who together scored a ridiculous 40 rushing yards over 15 carries.
Taylor, who is in the second round of this year’s draft, struggled to live up to expectations after taking on the starring role after the Colts lost their star when they lost the running back Marlon Mack in week 1 after an injury at the end of the season.
Wilkins, who was elected in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, also struggled to assert himself.
The versatility of Hines has meant that the Colts have used him more as a gadget that runs back from the backfield. On Thursday night, however, he was clearly the most important offensive weapon in Indianapolis, and Colts head coach Frank Reich had no intention of looking for other options.
“He just came out and watched the fire,” Reich told The Athletic, “I can’t explain it. Every once in a while you know what it’s like, you’re just in the zone.”
With Hines firing on all cylinders, the Colts’ offense looked more balanced than it did at various stages of the season, and Rivers finished 29 out of 39 for 308 yards, a touchdown and zero interceptions.
The veteran quarterback outdid Dan Marino to the fifth most frequent passing yard in NFL history, while the Colts improved to 6-3 this season and caught up with the Titans at the top of the AFC South.