Indianapolis Colts Football

Five Things Learned, Seattle-Colts

Posted by craigkelleycolts on October 7, 2013 – 8:18 am


INDIANAPOLIS – In Sunday’s 34-28 win over Seattle, Indianapolis snapped 60 offensive plays.  After only nine, the Colts were staring adversity squarely in the face.

Those opening plays gained nine yards and no first downs, and Pat McAfee’s third punt was blocked through the end zone.  Undefeated Seattle led, 12-0.

Antoine Bethea motioned teammates together on the sideline to deliver a message.  Indianapolis forced a three-and-out, then scored two quick touchdowns for a 14-12 lead.

After Seattle countered by taking a 25-17 advantage in the third quarter, the Colts scored 17 points and snuffed out two late drives to earn a comeback victory over a team that had won nine straight games.

The victory was the ninth comeback triumph in 21 outings under Chuck Pagano.  It placed the Colts alone atop the AFC South five games into the season.


GRIT BEATS RABBITS – A heavyweight fight is not determined when one boxer pulls a rabbit out of the hat.  It happens when he reaches inside and finds the extra something that has put him in the ring.  The Colts have been relevant under Chuck Pagano, jumping nine games in the standings a year ago and now sitting among AFC leaders and on top of their division at 4-1.  Pagano had his players at halftime, down 19-17, say they would run and tackle better in the second half.  Eighty of 109 rushing yards followed, and the Colts defensively halved the Seahawks’ first-half ground total in the last 30 minutes.  Holding Seattle to three field goals (the second with a defensive stand in Indianapolis territory after a turnover) was key, as were two late stops.  The offense responded with 86- and 42-yard drives for 11 fourth-quarter points to earn the win.  A true prize fight has both boxers landing blows.  The one who summons the most wins.  Out-pointed in early rounds, the Colts rose again with play from three units.  “Nobody’s built better to win these close games, especially in the fourth quarter, than this team,” said Pagano.  “(It’s) character, resiliency, toughness, grit, never quit, belief, faith.  We’ve got something special.”

HILTON IS CENTRAL ELEMENT – Four plays after falling behind 12-0, T.Y. Hilton was in the end zone with a 73-yard grab (32 yards coming after the catch).  On third-and-22 from the seven six minutes before the half, Hilton was interfered with and the Colts had 39 penalty yards.  Hilton then had a 13-yard reception to convert another third down, leading to a half-ending field goal.  Hilton’s lone third-quarter reception was a 29-yard TD strike.  Early on the fourth-quarter 86-yard scoring drive, Andrew Luck targeted Hilton on third-and-10 from the 25.  Interference, 16 yards. On second-and-11 from the 40, Hilton had a 13-yard catch.  On third-and-eight from the Seattle 45, Luck found Hilton again for 12 more clutch yards.  That was the last time Hilton was targeted, and he had done an afternoon’s work.  On six targeted times, he had five receptions for 140 yards and two scores, his seventh 100-plus outing.  Two penalties added 55 more yards, coming on drives that accounted for 11 points.  Well done, #13.

FREEMAN FACTOR – Jerrell Freeman has been a disruptive presence all season.  Strip-sacks against Miami and San Francisco made him the first Colts linebacker since 2004 not named Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis to have quarterback takedowns in consecutive games.  The mobile Freeman tracked down Russell Wilson for no gain on third-and-two with seven minutes to go.  The Colts were clinging to a 31-28 lead that was in doubt.  Up 34-28, Freeman rushed Wilson into an interception with 1:23 left.  Game-set-match, or, according to Reggie Wayne, “Ding, ding,” the bout was over and the referee held up the Colts’ hand.  Either way, Freeman has had a telling hand in many plays.  This is not something truly learned, just something cited as contributing factors in a big-time win.

A FEW GOOD MEN – Pagano has his men believing that every one of them can make a difference.  Take bows Delano Howell and Lawrence Guy.  Howell has started twice in place of LaRon Landry.  He has made plays before, but his 61-yard return of a blocked field goal was a huge comeback impetus.  The person who triggered it was Guy, who was signed recently to add depth to a thin defensive line.  Howell had the eye candy with a great return (the third-longest in club history off a blocked field goal), but Guy provided the grit.  Neither player garners a great deal of spotlight, but both’s professionalism created a big play Sunday against a team that excels on specialty units and against a kicker whose first miss of the year resulted in points for the opponent.  While we’re at it, bow yourself Tom McMahon.

NO JUDGES – After two blowout wins by a 64-10 combined margin, the Colts were on the ropes down 12 and with a Seattle offense that had knifed for two scores and 92 yards on 13 snaps.  Seattle would land more haymakers and Indianapolis would have to rally from behind most of the day.  It did so on the one-year anniversary of the 30-27 comeback victory over Green Bay.  That day a year ago was one of the most compelling in the club’s Indianapolis era, with its head coach in a hospital battling leukemia.  Pagano was present Sunday to marshal another special victory.  Outsiders tend to tune out themes used by coaches.  Pagano’s players don’t.  They live the themes and play them out on Sundays.  It would have been easy to fold under pressure and deficits yesterday, but the Colts didn’t.  Fans now have first place team (with 11 challenges ahead), one that hangs together.

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Five Things Learned, Colts-San Francisco

Posted by craigkelleycolts on September 23, 2013 – 9:28 am


Intro:  Indianapolis posted a dominant 27-7 win at San Francisco on Sunday.  The Colts ran 12 more times than they threw and earned their most lop-sided road victory since 2009.  Facing a physical defending Super Bowl team, the Colts were more physical.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts answered a tough home setback by meeting the challenge of their first road game with a 20-point victory margin over a team (San Francisco) that made the Super Bowl last year and nearly did the previous season.

The Colts met a physical opponent by being even more so.  On a national television stage, Indianapolis showed a much different blueprint for victory than past seasons have had.

Colts 27, San Francisco 7.


LET’S GET PHYSICAL – Nothing is more telling than the words of an owner.  In this case, Jim Irsay, “To bring in Ahmad Bradshaw and now to have Trent Richardson…You can see Trent with his lateral movement, his explosion, he’s always going forward.  What we’re looking for is what we saw today.”  When Irsay changed his organizational dynamic in early 2012 by bringing in Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano, the new duo spoke of a different style of play.  Every move since then has reflected that approach and progress made over 18 games prior to yesterday was incremental.  Yesterday, it was dramatic.  The Colts ran 12 more times than they threw, a first for that disparity since 2011.  The Colts are 4-0 in the last 19 games when they have rushed more often than thrown, and they are 4-0 in games in that span when out-rushing opponents by 59 yards.  “Run and stop the run” has been a mantra.  It was reality yesterday.  It is a much different feeling for long-time Colts fans.  This new pair of shoes could be broken in quickly.

1-2 PUNCH, AND MORE – Ahmad Bradshaw carried 19 times for 95 yards.  Trent Richardson had 13 carries for 35 yards.  Bradshaw said the plan never was to ease his new buddy in, “We’ve got a one-two punch and we used it.  It’s going to be tough for a lot of opponents this year.”  The duo had 32 of the team’s 39 rushes.  Get used to it.  Pep Hamilton mentioned Friday that Donald Brown would be in the mix.  Brown had 25 yards on three carries, including a 16-yarder for a first down that led to a field goal.  Indianapolis has a more pronounced “hammer” look to the offense.  Pagano spoke 20 months ago of the Colts having an AFC North look (like that of Pittsburgh and Baltimore).  That was the look at San Francisco.

MULTI-POSITIONAL OFFENSIVE LINEMEN – The offensive line had one of its grittiest and most productive performances of recent memory.  Mike McGlynn shifted to center for the injured Samson Satele (the third time he has done this in 19 games), and played well.  He competed successfully while being battered all game.  Jeff Linkenbach showed his versatility again by starting at right guard for McGlynn.  In 29 career starts, Linkenbach has opened five times at LT, four at LG, four at RG and 16 at RT.  Mixed in among stalwart veterans Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus was rookie left guard Hugh Thornton.  Versatility among all linemen provides big-time currency for the offense.  Often is it not acknowledged, but Sunday it was on full display.  They ventured into Candlestick and shined.  Well done, gents.

VALUE OF KICKERS, COVERAGE, FIELD POSITION – San Francisco started nine of its 11 possessions at or inside its 20.  Pat McAfee reached the end zone on four of his six kickoffs, producing three touchbacks.  The other three returns reached the 13, 11 and 12.  McAfee pinned the 49ers to their eight (twice) and nine with three of his four punts.  Adam Vinatieri hit clutch efforts from 43 and 41 yards, and his lone miss from 51 yards was wide while attempted into the wind.  The Colts won the average field position drive start by eight yards, and three-of-five three-and-outs defensively for Indianapolis came after solid kicks.  Again, a part of the game sometimes overlooked.  Not today.  It was probably great flights home for special teams and offensive line coaches.

BELIEVE IN COACHES – Defensive players heard it for two weeks after Terrelle Pryor ran for 112 yards.  With Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson looming in the next month, getting squared away on a diverse offense was necessary.  Chuck Pagano said research was done and that players would be prepared.  Kaepernick rushed seven times for 20 yards, and the only TD run by a quarterback belonged to Andrew Luck.  The phrase heard after Sunday’s win was “assignment football.”  Assignments were sound and execution was solid.  The Colts are 13-6 under the new regime, with players buying in and competing for each other.  They’re coachable, and everyone enjoyed the fruits of a decisive win.

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Colts Punter Pat McAfee: “I want to stay in Indianapolis forever.”

Posted by Kevin Bowen on July 16, 2013 – 10:13 am

On Monday afternoon, Colts punter Pat McAfee joined SiriusXM NFL Radio to discuss his contract negotiations along with his outlook on the 2013 campaign.

The Colts placed the franchise tag on McAfee earlier this offseason and the fifth-year punter is coming off a season in which he set franchise single season records for punting average (48.2), net punting average (40.3) and tied the mark for punts inside the 20-yard line (26).

Putting future contract negotiations aside, McAfee made it clear what city he wants to continue to call home.

“I want to stay in Indianapolis forever,” McAfee said to Sirius.

McAfee is a versatile specialist that also handles kickoff duties, setting a team record with 45 touchbacks last season.temp2012_1125_BUF_bowen_1270--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Away from the gridiron, McAfee is one of the most active Colts in the community and that is evident in his appreciation of the Circle City.

“I really enjoy Indianapolis. I love our team. I love the city. I love everything that is going on here.”

Early last season there was McAfee utilizing his abundant Twitter following to spread the #CHUCKSTRONG campaign that most importantly raised money for leukemia, while also unifying a Colts team into the playoffs.

“We were really unfamiliar with each other, than once we had a reason to rally together, which was for our coach, it became a big deal. All of a sudden a group of strangers had, one fighting cause and that’s a big key when it comes to sports,” McAfee said.

“Last year was an amazing run but I think this year is going to be even better. Andrew Luck is going to have another year under his belt. He’s going to be comfortable and I think if you have a good quarterback you can win games. It’s going to be fun to watch our team play this year and I think we are going to do some magical things.”

Posted in Colts Blog


Posted by Kevin Bowen on May 16, 2013 – 1:50 pm

Looking to spend a day with Colts punter Pat McAfee with a chance to win various Colts prizes, including tickets and a signed Andrew Luck helmet.

Well then you’ve come to the right place as Pools of Fun in Noblesville will host McAfee for an autograph session on Saturday, May 18th.

Full details of the event and prizes are below:

Saturday, May 18 at Pools of Fun – Noblesville location – 14765 Hazel Dell Crossing Noblesville, IN 46062

Event time: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pools of Fun Open House

*Colts elements arrive at noon with Pat McAfee signing autographs from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Lots of register to win prizes and raffle items including:

·         Autographed Andrew Luck helmet

·         Colts team signed helmets

·         VIP Colts Practice Facility tour for four (4)

·         Discounted pool supplies and services

·         Green Egg grill

·         Colts tickets

All proceeds from the raffle benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation.


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Posted by coltsindianapolis on April 30, 2013 – 7:12 am

Indianapolis Colts luxury suites cited as Indiana lawmakers limit new CIB taxes
Indianapolis Colts’ Pat McAfee adds $5,000 to reward in Boone County hit-and-run case
Pop Your Way Into The Pacers Playoffs With Pat McAfee
Colts deal disappointing first-round pick Jerry Hughes to Buffalo for LB Kelvin Sheppard
Colts Daily Links: Analysts lukewarm on team’s draft, ‘hard to see it all falling into place’
Indianapolis Colts’ best undrafted free agents: No. 9, returner Aaron Bailey
Indianapolis Colts’ best undrafted free agents: No. 10, safety Melvin Bullitt
What’s not to like about Colts’ draft class?
Colts offseason has look, feel of upgrade
In their words: Colts picks on Bo, trouble, Dungy
Colts hoping for more high marks on draft picks
NFL: North Penn’s Brandon McManus signs with Indianapolis Colts
Bills trade LB Sheppard to Colts for LB Hughes
Colts deal Hughes for Kelvin Sheppard
Colts offer reward in hit-and-run search
Colts, Bills exchange linebackers
Draft review: Indianapolis Colts
Colts shuffle much maligned Hughes off to Buffalo
George Bremer: Colts’ home finale holds keys to future
Colts owner Jim Irsay, kicker Pat McAfee boost reward in hit-and-run that killed Anita Wernsing, 78

All Means Possible
Dream not denied by language barrier
Open Mini-Camp Practice at Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis Colts Acquire LB-Kelvin Sheppard in a Trade with the Buffalo Bills in Exchange for LB-Jerry Hughes
Colts Owner & CEO Jim Irsay and P-Pat McAfee Contribute to Reward for Arrest and Conviction of Hit-and-Run Driver in Death of Fayette, Ind. Grandmother
True to the Board

David Caldwell ready to hire in front office
Titans host Idonije, Winston on visits
Texans just missed on Arthur Brown
Reiterating: Jaguars don’t covet Tebow
Assessing AFC South draft trades
On Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt’s fame
Jaguars’ undrafted rookies

Monday Morning Quarterback
Bills swap LBs with Colts for versatility
Noisy Courtship, Quiet Breakup
Why NBA center Jason Collins is coming out now
NFL warns against gay jokes, talk
Dolphins: Mike Wallace’s remarks “do not reflect the views” of the organization
Collin Klein reportedly to be Houston Texans QB
Sam Montgomery: ‘Effort was not needed’ sometimes against weaker teams
Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker talks about team’s draft class
Are the Jaguars interested? ‘Plans do not include Tim Tebow’
Jaguars dismiss Terry McDonough, 2 others
Reviewing ESPN and NFL Network’s coverage
Report: Tyrann Mathieu won’t sign deal without guaranteed money

Malcolm Williams, Jeremy Ebert among five released by Patriots
Jets release Tim Tebow
Chargers check in on LT Bryant McKinnie

Eli Manning calls Ryan Nassib, welcomes Syracuse QB to NY Giants
Briggs on Collins’ coming out: ‘How about those Bulls!’
MORRISSEY: Heredity made Long easy choice for Bears

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Posted by coltsindianapolis on April 29, 2013 – 11:34 am

Indianapolis Colts Owner & CEO Jim Irsay has pledged $10,000 and punter Pat McAfee has added $5,000 to the reward, which is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a driver who struck and killed 78-year-old Anita Wernsing of Fayette, Ind. The driver left the scene following the incident.

Wernsing was leaving Mt. Tabor Primitive Church on the 7000 block of South State Road 267 on November 25, 2012 when she was struck. Boone County Sheriff’s Department investigators said that the vehicle that hit Wernsing was a dark SUV that was traveling northbound on 267.

Police have asked anyone with information on the case to call them at 765-482-1412 or send the department an email at:

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Posted by craigkelleycolts on April 4, 2013 – 10:45 am

Pat McAfee on Wednesday signed his franchise tender, the sixth such player in the league to do so.

The move by McAfee will earn him a one-year guaranteed salary, and the team still has time to reach a multiple-year agreement with him.

The club has had a busy off-season with the addition of new players and the retention of some who made contributions last year and in previous seasons.

Ryan Grigson has spoken in the past of the importance of “culture” on the team.  McAfee is a very big piece of the culture.

Since joining the club in 2009, he has been a very solid performer.  Entering his fifth season, McAfee has punted 290 times for a franchise-record 45.5 average.  He has had 89 punts land inside the 20, while nailing 123 touchbacks on kickoffs.

Yardage gained by special teams success often is overlooked.  It’s even called “hidden” yardage.

It was not so hidden last year in two division victories.  A first-quarter 42-yard punt by McAfee was fair caught at the Jacksonville 10-yard line.  A defensive stop set the stage for a Colts field goal and a 3-0 lead.

A third-quarter placement punt of 36 yards was killed at the Jaguars’ four and two plays later, Darius Butler picked off a pass for an easy scoring return and a 24-3 lead.

Five games later, a booming 52-yard effort by McAfee in the third quarter went out of bounds at the Tennessee one-yard line.  A play later, Cassius Vaughn picked off a pass and stepped into the end zone for a score, one that put the Colts ahead, 21-20, after trailing by 13 points at halftime.

Those are dramatic examples of the talents McAfee possesses.  He has set the franchise seasonal records for gross yardage in consecutive seasons (46.6, 2011; 48.2, 2012).  This past year, he set the club seasonal net record at 40.3.  His 26 kicks inside the 20 tied Hunter Smith’s 2002 mark.

Enough about numbers.  McAfee is a personal presence, too.

In addition to being one of the most savvy and visible communicators in the club’s Indianapolis era, he is a standup guy.

People remember the Broad Ripple incident two years ago, and how McAfee handled addressing it showed manner of the man and the quality of his heart.

There are many players in the locker room who combine to make this a positive culture.  It is one that will help win games, and McAfee will be a part of the process.

Players return later this month to start working.  It is a time to feel good, if you’re a Colts fan.

Having Pat McAfee going into competition is an advantage for Indianapolis.


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Posted by coltsindianapolis on – 6:45 am

Help us decipher this tweet from Jim Irsay
DHB follows his heart to Indy
Pat McAfee signs franchise tender
Reassessing the Colts’ needs
Colts draft ranked middle of pack in five-year starters from 1993 to 2006
Colts all-time best, worst draft picks to be ranked in 20-day blog series

2013 Positional Series: Specialists
Baskets of Hope
Colts Mailbag

The division’s $5 million dollar men
Applause for Bradley’s opening themes
Maybe this FB will be a good thing for the Texans

NFL to mandate cameras in home locker rooms
NFLPA tells agents to report any hint of collusion
Cards’ Washington gets 4-game suspension
J.J. Watt says injured elbow never fully healed last season
Titans turn attention to NFL Draft
Top draft prospects visit Jaguars

Nate Solder out to improve
Dan Rooney settles into new role with Steelers

Giants sign defensive lineman Mike Patterson
Redskins re-sign quarterback Rex Grossman and bring aboard Pat White

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Posted by coltsindianapolis on April 3, 2013 – 8:46 am

Colts punter Pat McAfee signs franchise tender
Colts signing of WR Darrius Heyward-Bey is one-year chance worth taking
Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey follows his heard – and Andrew Luck – to Indianapolis
Heyward-Bey feeling fortunate to hook up with Luck
Free agent WR follows heart to Indy
Heyward-Bey follows heart to sign with Colts

2013 Positional Series: Defensive Backs
Heart leads to Colts

Marks is seventh FA to move in division
Reassessing the Titans’ needs
Moon calls Pardee a ‘Texas legend’

Bruce Arians: Carson Palmer gives Cardinals QB depth ‘as strong as anybody’s’
Nnamdi Asomugha joins Niners
Branden Albert wants commitment
Seau lawsuit merged with Pa. NFL concussion case
Jets and Revis look stuck together until some team takes the bait
Report: John Harbaugh didn’t want Ed Reed back with Ravens
Monday Morning QB – Tuesday

Patriots mourn Chuck Fairbanks
Tom Telesco inherits the Philip Rivers shopping Bonus

Pat White cancels tryout with NY Giants to sign with Washington Redskins, play backup QB to Robert Griffin III: report
McCaskey ‘heartbroken’ over Urlacher’s departure

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Posted in Colts Blog


Posted by coltsindianapolis on March 1, 2013 – 4:54 pm

The Indianapolis Colts have designated its franchise tag on punter Pat McAfee.

“It’s an honor to know that I’ll be a member of the Indianapolis Colts for at least another year,” said McAfee. “I love the city, I love the team, and I love being a member of the community. I obviously hope to work out a long-term deal to stay here forever, but one more guaranteed year is awesome. Go Colts.

McAfee enters his fifth NFL season after being selected by the Colts in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft (222nd overall). In his career (63 games), he has totaled 290 punts for a franchise record 45.5 average while adding a long kick of 66 yards, which he set in 2010. McAfee has also pinned 89 punts inside the 20-yard line as well as contributing with 123 touchbacks on kickoffs.

In 2012, McAfee set franchise single season records for punting average (48.2), net punting average (40.3), 50.0-yard average games (five) and tied the mark for punts inside the 20-yard line (26). He also established a team record for kickoff touchbacks (45) in a single season.

As a rookie in 2009, McAfee was named to the PFW/PFWA and The Sporting News NFL All-Rookie Teams.


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