Jaguars’ Calvin Ridley posts 7 catches, 1 TD in opening half of first NFL game in nearly 2 years

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Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley posted seven catches for 92 yards and a touchdown in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium as the receiver made his first NFL appearance in nearly two years. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Ridley — who was making his season debut with the Jaguars in his return to the league after a season-long suspension for betting on NFL games — scored on a 9-yard pass from Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence to put Jacksonville on the board in the first quarter.
  • His seven first-half receptions is a career-high for Ridley.
  • Ridley was fully reinstated by the NFL in March, and wrote at the time in an article for The Players’ Tribune that he “made the worst mistake of my life by gambling on football.”
  • The Atlanta Falcons traded Ridley to the Jaguars in November 2022 for draft compensation.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

How potent is the Ridley-Lawrence connection?

Ridley and Lawrence spent the entire offseason building a rapport hoping to find quick chemistry when the season started. Their work is clearly paying off, as they have already connected several times in the first half. The Colts’ young DBs are doing what they can to slow him down, but Jaguars coach Doug Pederson is doing a good job of moving Ridley around, making him tough to wrangle. Even more encouraging for the Jaguars is that a couple of Ridley’s catches, including the touchdown, have come when Lawrence has been forced to create something beyond the designed play. When he needs an outlet, his eyes almost instantly find Ridley. These two look like they’re ready to wreak havoc on the NFL this season. — Ayello


The Falcons selected Ridley with the 26th pick of the 2018 draft out of Alabama. He had 821 receiving yards as a rookie, 866 in his second season and exploded for 1,374 yards in 2020.

Ridley played four games in 2021 before the team announced he would miss time to focus on his mental health. After missing two weeks, he returned for one game before leaving the team again and later announcing he would be stepping away indefinitely.

“I need to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental wellbeing,” he said in a statement on social media. “This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future.”

On March 7, 2022, the NFL announced that Ridley would be suspended at least through the 2022 season for gambling on NFL games, including Falcons contests. Ridley acknowledged at the time that he did bet on games.

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(Photo: Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

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