Indianapolis Colts Football

Indianapolis Colts Season In Review – INFOGRAPHIC

Posted by coltsindianapolis on January 16, 2014 – 12:55 pm


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Five Things Learned, Colts-Kansas City

Posted by craigkelleycolts on December 23, 2013 – 9:52 am

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Intro:  Indianapolis controlled every aspect of the game at Kansas City over the final 56 minutes.  The Colts did not allow a point, ran for 135 yards, forced four turnovers and had four sacks and won going away (23-7) in a very tough road venue.

INDIANAPOLIS – With one game left in the season, Indianapolis is in play to move to the AFC’s second playoff seed, or it could shift to third or stay put at fourth.

Regardless, it has been a season of accomplishment on all fronts, and the Colts are gearing for a 16th playoff berth in 30 seasons in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis was dominant at Kansas City on Sunday, bouncing back from a 7-0 deficit with 56 strong minutes on defense and with an offense that thrived accordingly.

A two-game winning streak has the Colts at 10-5 and creating momentum beyond next Sunday.

After the club’s fourth-largest victory margin and the fourth over an opponent with 10-plus wins, here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

OFFENSIVE LINE INTEGRITY – If Chuck Pagano had his way, Santa Claus might put a little something extra in the stockings of OL coaches Joe Gilbert and Hal Hunter.  The Colts started their seventh different line of the season Sunday at Kansas City, and it was the fifth straight week a different unit opened.  While Samson Satele and Mike McGlynn are regulars, along with tackles Gosder Cherilus and Anthony Castonzo, Xavier Nixon was making his first start at left guard.  Nixon, a natural tackle, made his career debut (in extended play) the previous week against Houston at right guard.  The Colts managed with a 10th 100-yard ground day, played turnover-free ball and Andrew Luck was sacked once.  While the offense is an 11-man operation, if the line doesn’t perform everything gets ugly (in all phases).  Kudos to the coaches and everyone associated with a stellar performance.

RESILIENCY IN GETTING BACK ON TRACK – A band of brothers hung tough after a 6-2 start went to an 8-5 juncture.  Indianapolis has rallied with two straight wins where every phase of the team performed well – particularly the defense and ground game.  The Colts have forced six turnovers and eight sacks in two games and have allowed only six-of-23 third downs to be converted.  The Colts led for the final 54 minutes against Houston and did not surrender a point at Kansas City over the final 56 minutes.  Indianapolis held the Texans without first downs on seven-of-14 possessions, including a five-possession marathon stretch.  While Houston had no post-season designs, Kansas City did, and Indianapolis shutout the Chiefs on five-of-seven drives, while one that did yield a first down ended two snaps later with a fumble.  The season never was in extreme jeopardy, but a five-game lull tested moxie around the locker room.

MAKING YOURSELF RELEVANT – Chuck Pagano used the phrase about Griff Whalen in training camp and while Whalen has done a very good job of doing so, Donald Brown has done a whale of a job.  Brown on Sunday scored on a 33-yard reception and a 51-yard run.  It was the first scoring run beyond 50 yards for Indianapolis in 33 games, and Brown had that last one as well in 2011.  Brown has a 5.6 average on 90 rushes, bucking to become only the fourth Colts back ever to have a 5.0 average on 80 seasonal attempts.  It has been done just once in the team’s Indianapolis era (George Wonsley, 1985), and Brown has contributed 24 receptions for two more scores.  Undervalued by many outside observers, Brown has cast himself in a much different public light.  His integrity and ethic are exemplary in all areas.

TEN WINS TRULY NOTEWORTHY – Indianapolis had a nine-year streak (at the time the NFL’s second-longest in history) with 10-plus wins end in 2010.  Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano have reconstructed a roster where only 10 players remain from 2010 and before.  Indianapolis has gotten to 10 wins in a year when a league-high 72 players have been pressed into service.  Getting to 10 wins is an accomplishment for any team and though this is the 13th in 30 seasons in Indianapolis, it is only right to acknowledge achievement.

PLAY TO WIN – Pagano was vocal in recent weeks about the NFL scheduling 16 games and that he intends to play them all.  Indianapolis still can grab the coveted second seed.  The Colts could jump to third or stay fourth.  Regardless, he plays to win and this Sunday should be no different.  Pagano has instilled a process around the team in which players buy in and excel.  The process sustained through his 12-game absence last year and with his full-time presence this year.  So much of coaching is messaging to players.  Players buy Pagano’s message.


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Posted in Colts Blog, Colts Casey B, Colts Cheerleading, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES, Colts Photography, Colts.com Web Updates, Events and Promotions, Fan Feature, My Indiana Football, Voice of the Fans

Reggie Wayne talks the feeling when he learned of his torn ACL and a possible life after football on radio show

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 19, 2013 – 9:00 am

On Tuesday, it was once again the “Reggie Wayne Show” with Queary and Schultz.

The one-hour show aired on WNDE here are some of the highlights from No. 87:

On the fast start on Sunday:

“It was a good game, real good. Our mentality was to come out do the things we’ve been trying to do. That’s to start fast and just keep our foot on the gas pedal. That’s kind of how it was. It was a great team victory, all three phases.”

On the play of Griff Whalen:

“He’s a true professional. He’s what you look for in a teammate. He never pouts. He just waits for his number to get called. He’s been on the active roster. He’s been on the practice squad, been going back and forth. One thing about Griff, he played at Stanford. He’s been with Pep Hamilton. He understands the offense. He knows Andrew pretty good. He can play any position.

“He just sits back, waits on his number to be called. He was doing it all. He was doing offensive stuff. He was returning punts. I think it kind of surprised everybody that he was returning punts. He practiced that all week, got his opportunity and made some great plays for us.”

On the feeling when he found out that he had torn his ACL

“I saw the long face of my head trainer, Dave Hammer, saw a couple of my trainers look at me like, ‘Sorry, dude.’ I already knew what it was. My dark time came from the time (Hammer) told me that I had a torn ACL. From that time it probably went from there until another 2-3 hours. They told me that then I drove home and shared the news with my family and kind of put my head together with my family and figured out what I was going to do from that point on, along with a couple of tears, here and there.

“I played in 189 games in a row, that was tough. That was probably the toughest thing of it. I take so much pride in just answering that bell every week. I just want to be out there with my teammates. That’s why I’m still here. That’s why I’m on the sideline. I just want to be out there with him. That was the toughest thing for me. Then after that it was on to rehab and move forward.”

On if Wayne would ever pursue a career in television after his playing days are over:

“I’m not against it. If the opportunity is right, if the timing is right, I’m all for it. I do also want to enjoy my family. I have beautiful kids, a beautiful wife, who’ve put the sacrifice in throughout my career. I want to make sure that I enjoy every bit of all that stuff. If the opportunity came and the timing and stuff was right, I’m all for it. If not, I’ll be one of those guys with my feet in the sand, on the Corona commercial.”


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Posted in Colts Blog, Colts Casey B, Colts Cheerleading, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES, Colts Photography, Colts.com Web Updates, Events and Promotions, Fan Feature, My Indiana Football, Voice of the Fans

“Back-up of the Game” is wide receiver Griff Whalen

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 16, 2013 – 2:21 pm

This week’s “Back-Up of the Game” presented by Venyu is wide receiver Griff Whalen.

Jim Irsay’s tweet announcing a roster move might have caught some by surprise on Saturday morning.

Roster moves usually don’t come at that hour and even the player being elevated to the active roster was a bit surprised.

“I really didn’t know anything. Nobody said anything to me, so it was kind of weird,” Whalen said of elevation.

“That’s something we talk about a lot, having everybody prepared as a starter. You never know who is going to go down or what kind of moves are going to be made, so I was trying to prepare like that all week.”

Whalen had four catches for 45 yards and his 18-yard touchdown on the initial drive was the Colts first opening half touchdown in nearly two months.

Not only did Whalen play 35 offensive snaps on Sunday but he also served as the team’s punt returner with a 51-yard return (season long for the Colts) in the third quarter.

When LaVon Brazill was a late scratch, Whalen was called on to serve in “Next Man Up’ duty.

“When you look at the roster, we know the roster is fluid and things like that happen and you have a choice to make when that happens to you,” Chuck Pagano said of Whalen’s performance.

“Certainly Griff’s not one of those guys that would go in the tank, so to speak. He’s a grinder. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He’s got something to prove, obviously, and he’s not one of those guys that got away from doing the things that you need to do in order to have another opportunity, which he had, and then take advantage of it.

 

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Five Things Learned, Houston-Colts

Posted by craigkelleycolts on – 10:07 am

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Intro:  Indianapolis gained momentum with a 25-3 win over Houston, the club’s second-largest victory margin of the year.  The Colts grabbed the lead from the outset and did not need any comeback in assuring an 18th winning season in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS – Three of the Colts’ previous eight wins needed fourth-quarter comebacks, and the club had not earned an advantage larger than one score since November 14 at Tennessee.

Indianapolis had been plagued by slow starts in the last six outings but ended all of that by scoring early and building a 17-point halftime margin in a 25-3 win over Houston.

The Colts gained a measure of momentum heading into a week 16 showdown with 11-3 Kansas City, a possible playoff foe.

The Colts were the only AFC division leader to win last weekend, and here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

RESERVES TRAIN LIKE STARTERS – Chuck Pagano and his staff have said numerous times that reserves train like starters.  Trent Richardson yesterday credited the scout team (comprised also of practice squad players) for providing great ‘looks’ in practices that only help hone the starters.  Joe Reitz, Fili Moala, Griff Whalen and Darius Butler figured to get heavy work Sunday.  Tackle Xavier Nixon did not, but he went in early for Reitz at RG and played the duration of the game after never having played the position before.  With Reitz starting at RG, the Colts were using their sixth different opening configuration.  His early exit with a concussion almost makes this count as a seventh different opening bunch.  Cassius Vaughn and Darius Butler have split starting time for Greg Toler, and both had multiple interceptions in the Colts’ last two wins.  Credit coaches, credit players, but give credit when looking for one way how the team won Sunday.

EARLY ADVANTAGE, EASIER PLAY CALLS – Andrew Luck said the faster start yesterday made “a world of difference.”  Pagano said it opens things up on both sides of the ball and makes calls easier because the outcome is not hanging in the balance with so much time left on the clock.  The Colts won late against Oakland, Seattle and Houston, while making plays down the stretch to subdue Denver and Tennessee (twice).  San Francisco (27-7) and Jacksonville (37-3) were the only real wide-margin days for a battling Colts club.  It’s not that yesterday didn’t have stress, there was just less of it by finding a rhythm, getting an advantage larger than one score and finishing out an opponent.

RICHARDSON UNSELFISH – Trent Richardson lined up in different spots in the offense.  He did so at blocking back.  He works hard enough during the week when moved elsewhere that he wants to contribute as a receiver.  He has caught nine passes in the last two games, and yesterday he produced a season-best 102 scrimmage yards.  His adaptation to the offense has had fits and starts.  Yesterday was a good day for Richardson, and he needs to remain a building block.

POINTS A PREMIUM – Yesterday’s 25 points could have been more had a handful of chances been cashed in better.  A red zone turnover early led to Houston’s lone score.  Takeaways that started possessions at Houston’s 17 and 44 produced field goals.  Those happened in the first half when Indianapolis still built a 20-3 lead.  Later, a long punt return set the Colts up at Houston’s 28, but a field goal was the result.  Pagano cited these afterward as points left on the field.  It did not bite harshly on Sunday, but there are other Sundays looming.

DEFENSE WAS NEARLY AIRTIGHT – Houston’s only points came off a 32-yard drive that only produced two first downs.  The next 11 defensive possessions for the Colts ended with seven punts, two takeaways, a turnover on downs and a sack-strip-safety.  Those 11 possessions netted nine downs for the Texans, while the Colts pitched first-down shutouts on five straight possessions just after halftime.  Indianapolis held Houston to 16 yards on 10 plays in the third quarter.  It was an overall performance that included four sacks, a two-thirds failure on third downs (the best since week five), 12 first downs and 26:49 possession time (the season’s third-lowest mark).  Well done.


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Mo’ Better (Visits) Blue(s)

Posted by craigkelleycolts on November 15, 2013 – 3:33 pm

Down 17-3 and having been out-scored 69-6 in the first halves of the last three games, the Colts captured something that led to another comeback win, this time at Tennessee, 30-27.

That something was ‘Mo’ – momentum.

It started on a 68-yard drive in the final 2:32 of the first half when the Colts navigated for an Adam Vinatieri 30-yard field goal at the gun.

Andrew Luck found rhythm (a cousin of ‘Mo’) on the drive by connecting with six different receivers on the march, good for 62 yards.  A third-down interference call extended the drive early on – ‘Mo.’

“You can feel it,” said Luck.  “We wish we didn’t have to rely on momentum to do that, but it’s a part of sports.  It’s a weird phenomenon.  You could feel it.”

An 18-year veteran, Vinatieri can sense intangibles, and he felt it when the club narrowed its halftime deficit to 17-6.

“It was important to get the momentum back,” said Vinatieri.  “To put it back to 11 for some reason feels better.”

The Colts shaved the margin closer with a 74-yard march where Luck converted third downs with passes to T.Y. Hilton and Griff Whalen.  He even scrambled 13 yards for a first down.

To close the final 14 yards of the march, Luck connected with Hilton for eight yards, then Donald Brown burst off left tackle for the score.

“You kind of feel it,” said Hilton.  “We’ve been down that road time and time again.  Once we start to click……”

The ball came out on the ensuing kickoff return and special teamer Daniel Herron made a play.

“The wedge was coming to me,” said Herron.  “The next thing I know, I turned around and the ball was right there.  Right place, right time.”

Pat Angerer notice how ‘Mo’ visited a number of teammates.

“Yeah, it’s just one guy making a play after another,” said Angerer.  “We never get down.”

Be it Luck, luck, the horseshoe or ‘Mo,’ it’s better to have than not.

“Credit these guys,” said Chuck Pagano.  “They find a way.  We just gained momentum and held on.”

 


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Will Hilton and Whalen continue to receive the bulk of third-down targets?

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 6, 2013 – 9:41 am

Reggie Wayne’s loss has been analyzed in about every aspect.

One of the main areas that people focused on with Wayne’s loss is where Andrew Luck would turn to on third-down.

It’s no secret Wayne was Luck’s “security blanket” and the Colts signal caller would have to look elsewhere to sustain drives.

The Colts had 13 third downs on Sunday with Luck dropping back to pass on 12 of those occasions (Luck had 11 pass attempts, was sacked once and Donald Brown had one rush attempt).

Against the league’s top pass defense, Luck was 5-of-11 for 50 yards (4 first downs) and a touchdown on third-down. He had an 89.2 quarterback rating on third-down.

Here’s a breakdown of those attempts:

  • T.Y. Hilton’s targets-Hilton was the most frequent target on third-down with five targets including two second-half completions (one that went for a 10-yard touchdown). Hilton bounced back from an early drop with some important catches down the stretch and one would have to imagine the defensive attention will only increase towards No. 13 on the third downs.
  • Griff Whalen’s targets-Whalen was similar to Hilton in his number of targets on third-down with Luck turning towards his college roommate in times of duress. Whalen’s 17-yard catch on the eventual game winning touchdown drive came from a clean pocket for Luck. Whalen was lined up on Houston’s nickel cornerback on many third downs, another reason for his four targets on those downs.
  • Other targets-Luck only targeted Darrius Heyward-Bey once (DHB missed the entire 4th quarter due to injury) and many other times Luck was under intense pressure which forced some balls into crowded coverage. Moving forward, the attention that Hilton receives from opposing defenses will greatly impact the targets for Coby Fleener and DHB on third-down.

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T.Y. Hilton takes Reggie Wayne’s halftime message to heart

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 4, 2013 – 1:55 pm

As T.Y. Hilton walked into the Colts locker room at halftime on Sunday night, his “big brother” wanted to have a few words with him.

Hilton had one catch for six yards in the first half and a third-down drop was eating at the second-year receiver.  temp2013_1103_HOU_3922--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Reggie Wayne pulled the young receiver aside for a message.

“(Wayne) looked me in the eyes and told me, “You owe me one, man. Just go out there and do what you do best, just go out there and have fun,” Hilton said on Monday recalling the story.

Hilton’s definition of “fun” turned out to be six catches for 115 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.

When Wayne went down, the popular consensus was that his production would not come from one particular individual but rather a group of receivers.

Yet, on Sunday night there was Hilton carving up the Texans secondary in helping the Colts erase a three-score deficit.

As the final gun sounded and Hilton jogged off the Reliant Stadium field on Sunday night, he knew who was waiting for him when he entered the visiting locker room.

“After the game (Wayne) said, “Now that’s what I’m talking about. That’s what I’m talking about.” We just kind of took that moment in,” Hilton said of their locker room interaction.

The attention towards Hilton will only grow in the coming weeks as his ability to change the game with a single touch must be accounted for by opposing defenses.

For one night it might not have been a “committee” that replaced No. 87, but Hilton did his best to carry out Wayne’s halftime wish.

“I got a lot of faith and a lot of trust in those guys to make the plays. Griff (Whalen) had a big catch on third down and (Coby) Fleener made a great catch on the two-point conversion. So I feel like we’ll continue to step up and continue to play as a group and we should be good.”


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“Back-Up of the Game” is wide receiver Griff Whalen

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 12:57 pm

This week’s “Back-Up of the Game” presented by Venyu is wide receiver Griff Whalen.

For the better part of the last two weeks, the questions on who would replace Reggie Wayne were frequently asked around the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

The common answer from Colts personnel was it would be a group effort.

However, on Sunday night it was one key member of that committee who received the bulk of the reps.

Whalen played 40 offensive snaps (65 percent) which was the second most for any Colts receiver.

His three catches for 32 yards were a career-high as he saw extensive action for the first time in his NFL career.

The highlight from Whalen came with the Colts down 24-19 and facing a third-and-10 with 5:57 to go in the fourth quarter.

With future Hall of Famer Ed Reed draped over Whalen, the second-year receiver hauled in a 17-yard reception to move the Colts to the Texans 35-yard line.

Three plays later there was T.Y. Hilton with the game-winning touchdown.

“Griff (Whalen) made some crucial (catches), big third-down catch there on the last drive,” head coach Chuck Pagano said after the game.

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Pep Hamilton’s bye week plans took a bit of a turn when Reggie Wayne went down

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 1, 2013 – 3:00 pm

Pep Hamilton wasn’t expecting to spend his bye week in this fashion.

Instead of reviewing film of the first two months of the season and getting a head start on the Houston Texans, Hamilton also dealt with the task of preparing for life without Reggie Wayne.

“It’s one of the harsh realities of the National Football League. It was tough to say the least,” Hamilton said of Wayne’s absence.

“We feel like we got to find ways, even if it’s by committee, to continue to move the ball and continue to move the ball in the passing game and be effective as a passing offense without Reggie. Andrew (Luck) had a tremendous amount of trust in Reggie and knowing that Reggie would get to the spot and ultimately that Reggie would make the play. We feel like we’ve got some other guys that are very capable of stepping in and making plays for us.”

Another area that Hamilton focused on during the bye week was creating more chances for new running back Trent Richardson.

Without Wayne, Hamilton knows that more attention will move towards opponents stopping the Colts run game.

“I have to do a better job of coming up with schemes that not only give our offensive line a chance to be successful, but of course to create holes for Trent. Create schemes that complement his wealth of talent,” Hamilton said on Thursday.

“That’s one of the things that we spent time as an offensive staff just looking at during the bye week. Finding ways to better feature our playmakers. Not just Trent, but Donald (Brown) and T.Y. (Hilton) and DHB (Darrius Heyward-Bey) and Coby Fleener and Stanley Havili for that matter. But yes, I have to do a better job of finding ways to get Trent out in space.”

The last time Wayne missed a game with the Colts, Hamilton was a 27-year old offensive coordinator at Howard University, his alma mater.

His game plans for the rest of 2013 won’t include No. 87 but that doesn’t change the goals for this offense.

“We feel like even up until this point we’ve been an offense by committee. We’ve had a lot of different guys step up and make plays for us,” Hamilton said.

“We just know moving forward that it’s the next man up. DHB (Darrius Heyward-Bey), T.Y. (Hilton), some of the younger guys that may get an opportunity to go in there and make plays for us in the passing game. Somebody is going to have to step up and make the plays.”


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