Indianapolis Colts Football

COLTS STATEMENT ON THE SUSPENSION OF ROBERT MATHIS

Posted by coltsindianapolis on May 16, 2014 – 4:49 pm

We have learned that Robert Mathis will be required to serve a four game suspension under the League’s policy on prohibited substances. We recognize the extreme seriousness of this matter and will honor the confidentiality requirements of the League’s program. We nevertheless wish to assure Robert and our fans that he remains an honored and cherished member of the Colts family and that we support him as he deals with this difficult challenge.


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2013 Colts Team Leaders – INFOGRAPHIC

Posted by coltsindianapolis on February 4, 2014 – 10:41 am

Stats

 


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Indianapolis Colts Season In Review – INFOGRAPHIC

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


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Five Things Learned, Kansas City-Colts

Posted by craigkelleycolts on January 6, 2014 – 8:02 am

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Intro:  Indianapolis wiped out the biggest deficit in franchise history and the second-largest in NFL playoff history by earning a 45-44 victory in the Wild Card round after trailing Kansas City, 38-10, in the third quarter.  It was the fourth comeback win by the Colts in 2013, and it sends them deeper into the playoffs than they have been since 2009.

INDIANAPOLIS – Saturday’s improbable and pulsating 45-44 victory over Kansas City in the Wild Card playoffs was achieved by Indianapolis overcoming the largest deficit in franchise history and the second-largest ever in league post-season play.

The Colts did almost enough to lose before finishing a nose ahead in what Chuck Pagano called an “epic” victory.

Indianapolis always uses a 24-hour rule to process the outcomes of games and with a post-season date Saturday in New England, putting the result behind is in order.  So is correcting matters that made such a comeback necessary.

It was one of the most unforgettable Colts and NFL playoff games ever, and here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

ANDREW LUCK CONTINUES TO DEFINE SPECIAL – Already a playoff starter in consecutive seasons to open a career and having tied for the second-most starting victories (22) over the first two seasons by a QB in the Super Bowl era, Luck delivered a performance that almost defied belief and description by overcoming three interceptions with four touchdown passes and guiding the Colts back from a 38-10 second-half hole to a 45-44 victory.  Luck helped the Colts out-score Kansas City 35-6 over the game’s final 27 minutes.  He moved the club to three TDs in 16 snaps to narrow the 28-point deficit to 10 points entering the last quarter, then capped a marathon 90-yard march by recovering a fumble and running/diving for a touchdown.  At 44-38 past the midway point of the final quarter, he converted a third-and-five with an 11-yard completion, then reared back and hit T.Y. Hilton for a 64-yard strike to settle the matter.  Indianapolis had five TDs in six possessions to earn the win, and Luck’s 443 yards ranked fifth in NFL playoff history.  In a franchise that had John Unitas and Peyton Manning win titles, Luck’s first-ever playoff win was one for the ages.  Afterward, all he could do was credit teammates for sticking with him, while Ryan Grigson compared him to Michael Jordan for always excelling in the clutch and wanting to do so in those moments.

BELIEF NEVER WANES – Just this season, Indianapolis rallied from 12 points down to beat Seattle, 14 to top Tennessee and 18 to dispatch Houston.  Those were the eighth, ninth and 10th comeback wins under Pagano.  Saturday’s stage was bigger than the regular season, and the deficit was larger than any overcome in the Colts’ 60-plus seasons.  Still, a band of brothers fought, chipped away, didn’t judge, stuck to the process, honed fundamentals and techniques – all the things Chuck Pagano said afterward were critical but made him sound like a broken record when he cited them.  These players are tight.  Had the comeback not happened and they had to answer why, they would have done so with complete professionalism.  That is not the case and a group that never quits has 60 more minutes to fight.  Belief in Pagano and the program are as solid as any team has in this league.  Players play for each other as much as they play for themselves, maybe more so.

SPECIAL NIGHT – Knowing how talented Kansas City is on specialty units, Indianapolis copped a better kickoff return average (30.0) than the Chiefs (26.7).  Kansas City’s average was almost three yards off the NFL record it set during the season (29.4).  Eight times Pat McAfee sailed kickoffs into the end zone and seven times Quintin Demps brought them out.  McAfee’s kicks were five, eight, nine, six, four, six, eight and eight yards deep, and only the last one was downed by Demps, and that came after the Colts’ last score.  His longest return was 34 yards, and Indianapolis met the goal of Special Teams Coach Tom McMahon of having the Chiefs play full-court offense.  On kickoff drive starts, the Colts held a two-yard advantage (nine drives, avg. of 22-yard line; KC, eight drives, avg. of 20).  Additionally, McAfee’s lone punt of 51 yards was returned only six yards, another victory for the Colts.  Special teams were an issue in the club’s last home playoff loss in 2010 as the Jets scored a last-second field goal for a 17-16 win.  This time?  No dice.

MATHIS MOMENT – All year, Robert Mathis has helped turn games with sacks and strip-sacks.  His strip-sack against Denver helped ignite a nine-point splurge that put the Colts ahead in the second quarter with a lead it never yielded.  He has found times to bedevil quarterbacks, and his sack-strip of Alex Smith in the third quarter set the stage for a quick 41-yard TD drive that cut a 38-10 gap to 38-24.  Kansas City had run a nice offensive tempo to negate Mathis (he was an eyelash away from Smith before he threw a 79-yard TD pass for a 17-7 lead) most of the game, but the NFL sack champion got one that counted.  This team feeds off many sources, but this “pillar” player had a timely play in a comeback.  Since Luck said there were no 28-point plays to be made, this one play was huge.

WINNING KEY STATISTICS – An abnormal day saw the Colts win a game with a minus-three turnover ratio while allowing more than 500 net yards and owning the ball not even 23 minutes.  Kansas City converted nearly 60 percent of it third downs (nine-of-16) and inflicted major damage on that down with two early TDs.  All year long, Pagano said next to points that turnovers tell the tale of outcomes.  The Colts were out-scored, 17-14, in points resulting from turnovers, so that tale was suspended for a day, a key day.  According to ESPN number crunchers, the Colts had only a 3.6 percent chance to win when they trailed by 21 points at the half.  After Luck’s interception to open the third quarter, that percent dipped to 0.9 when the Chiefs upped the deficit to 38-10.  Whatever numbers may be, Indianapolis caught lightning in a bottle with the NFL’s second-largest post-season rally.  Winning twice while having such deficits in key categories likely is not possible next weekend.


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Five Things Learned, Jacksonville-Colts

Posted by craigkelleycolts on December 30, 2013 – 9:45 am

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Intro:  Indianapolis controlled almost every aspect of a game for the third straight week in moving from 8-5 to 11-5 with a 30-10 victory over Jacksonville.  The Colts earned the momentum they sought entering December, and now it is on to January.

 

INDIANAPOLIS – After Sunday’s 30-10 victory over Jacksonville, Chuck Pagano said everyone knows the second-most important month to be playing good football is in December.

He then pointed to his team’s 4-1 mark that was forged with three straight double-digit wins to end the season.

It was a strong response following a December 8 lopsided loss at Cincinnati, 42-28, the day Indianapolis captured the AFC South crown.

Knowing better play was imperative, the Colts focused on basics and end up entering the playoffs with much-needed steam.

After the club’s impressive victory over the Jaguars to go 6-0 in the division, here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

WINNING ELEMENTS – A message that Chuck Pagano uses that irks a few followers is, “In the NFL, more games are lost than won.”  It’s not that Pagano doesn’t take calculated approaches to win, he just wants to avoid pitfalls that equate to losses – two being penalties and turnovers.  Indianapolis became the second team in 26 years (Kansas City, 2002) to top the league in fewest penalties (66, for 576 yards) and turnovers (14).  The Colts rebounded from minus-12 to plus-13 in turnover ratio from 2012 to 2013 (a jump from 26th to third).  The turnovers set a franchise record.  The team had three or fewer penalties in eight outings and only hit 40-plus infraction yards six times.  The NFL penalty-yard average was 98-845.  Of 12 playoff teams, 10 have positive or neutral turnover ratios.  The top six ratios all are playoff teams.

POSSESSION ADVANTAGE – While points win games, so can possession time.  Indianapolis won its last three games by controlling the ball 33:11, 38:20 and 33:40.  In eight of those 12 quarters, the Colts held the ball for nine-plus minutes and only three times lost the possession margin.  It speaks to executing third downs as well as ball security.  The Colts are 7-1 this year when topping 30-minutes.  Clearly the team is doing something with the ball when it has it, but keeping it usually means an opponent is being held at bay.

SPECIAL LUCK – Andrew Luck now is tied for the second-most wins by any QB since 1970 for the first two seasons of a career (22).  His 8,196 passing yards are the most ever over the first two seasons.  Luck is on a short list of Super Bowl era QBs who opened or are opening their careers with consecutive seasons with playoff starts (5, Joe Flacco; 3, Dan Marino, Bernie Kosar, Andy Dalton; 2, Shaun King, Ben Roethlisberger, Mark Sanzhez, Luck, Russell Wilson).  Dalton, Luck and Wilson are current streaks.  Enjoy Luck as he starts in his second playoffs.  It’s been a wondrous run so far by a special talent.  Note:  Luck has hit five, nine and 10 different receivers in the last three games, some of whom did not start the season here.

UP TEMPO, AGGRESSIVE LEAD FROM START – The last three games have seen the Colts pick up the tempo a notch on offense.  Sunday saw the club probe down the field in an aggressive manner.  There are factors that help a team get off quickly in a game, and this has helped as the Colts own a 24-10 first-quarter and 53-13 first-half points advantage in that time. The previous six games had seen the club labor with 49-9 and 112-24 deficits over those opening quarters and halves, while holding the lead but once.  Keeping the foot down can help the passing game and open up some running room.

SO BASIC – So many times, less is more.  When the team struggled, it went basic.  While focusing on small aspects of the game not appreciated by some non-purists, Robert Mathis preaches the critical nature to crafting solid performances.  “Just doing the little things, fundamentals, techniques, sound football, that’s the difference between winning and losing,” said Mathis.  “Fundamentals separate good players from great players and good teams from great teams.  It’s very important.”  Said Adam Vinatieri about the need for a team to focus on itself, not others, “It is very important.  If we work on what we do and execute our game plan, the team that does that wins a lot of games.  We have what it takes in this locker room.  We just have to continue to play well, commit ourselves and everything that it takes.  If we do that, we’ll be fine.”


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Robert Mathis “honored” to be in discussion for Defensive Player of the Year

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 20, 2013 – 2:00 pm

The Colts defense is playing a game of ping-pong in the locker room.

There’s Robert Mathis answering questions about being under consideration for Defensive Player of the Year, yet giving all the credit to his teammates.

Around the locker room there’s Mathis defensive teammates throwing it right back to No. 98.temp2013_1215_HOU_3908--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

No matter who is right or wrong, there’s no denying that Mathis is in the talk for 2013 Defensive Player of the Year.

Mathis is a man of few words but his league-leading 16.5 sacks and six forced fumbles do plenty of talking.

“I would credit that more to our defense then just the individual on it,” Mathis says of his name being in the discussion.

“It takes a lot of guys around him, from secondary, up to our nose tackle. Especially the d-line, they take pride in getting me to the quarterback. It would be a team accomplishment more than an individual.”

When Mathis was chosen in the fifth round of the 2003 draft, he was simply trying to find a spot on special teams.

Now 11 years later, Mathis is turning in a career-year at the age of 32 and garnering the deserving national attention.

What impresses Mathis’ teammates so much is how he has gone about piling up his sacks/forced fumbles.

Mathis acknowledges his consideration for such a honor but he, and his teammates, make it clear that he’s racking up these numbers within the framework of the defense.

“Win it or not, it’s an honor to be considered,” Mathis says.

“It’s a team sport so you’ve got to be a team guy. You can make plays being a team guy. That’s the message. You don’t have to be selfish. Just do your job and good things will happen.”


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Robert Mathis shows Hall of Famer Warren Sapp the art of the strip/sack

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 10, 2013 – 1:15 pm

On Sunday morning, NFL Network aired a segment with Warren Sapp and Robert Mathis.

Sapp came to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center to learn about the “art of separating the ball from the quarterback” from the NFL’s all-time leader in Mathis.

Here’s video of the segment between the Hall of Famer in Sapp and a potential Canton inductee in Mathis.

Below are some of the highlights from Mathis and Sapp:

On what Mathis is thinking pre snap:

“First off, have a plan. It ain’t working without a plan. Once you’re coming, you beat your guy, then you secure the sack with the left hand. Then come with the tomahawk (right arm), the old Derrick Thomas.”

“Once you have the ball out, make sure the quarterback doesn’t pick up the fumble, take him down. Watch your guys pick up the fumble and head to the end zone, celebrate.”

On where Mathis learned “the most devastating play in the game” according to Sapp:

“I learned that from Deacon Jones (Hall of Famer with the Rams). He got after it so relentless that you just wanted to chase quarterbacks, get them down, separate them from the ball.”

On the people that say Mathis only got his sacks because of attention towards Dwight Freeney:

“There’s a perception and there’s reality. You know that’s old Tony Dungy (saying). They think he’s taking up three, four, five blockers, the whole O-line. They think I’m free and have one-on-ones and that’s just not the case.”

On why the Colts have been so successful despite their losses:

“It comes from the top-down. Coach Chuck (Pagano) what he went through last year, this is a complete team. We rely on from the practice squad guy all the way to the starting quarterback.”

On why Mathis leads the NFL in sacks with 15.5 this season:

“I still have a chip on my shoulder. I still have a lot to prove. The older you get, the more you know how precious playoff time becomes. Those chances get slim and then they get done so you’ve got to seize the moment. Right now.”

 

An interesting tidbit that Mathis pointed out in the segment is that he’s a natural leftie which allows him to line up in different spots. Although he admits he has a faster step coming off the defensive right side.


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Five Things Learned, Colts-Cincinnati

Posted by craigkelleycolts on December 9, 2013 – 9:46 am

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Intro:  Indianapolis won the AFC South title Sunday in a manner less-preferred than anyone wished.  The Colts fell behind by 21 points early in the second half at Cincinnati and rallied to make it a one-score affair before eventually losing, 42-28.  The Colts have three games left to hone their playoff approach.

 

INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts’ 42-28 loss at Cincinnati was not made any more palatable when three hours later Tennessee lost at Denver to hand Indianapolis its eighth AFC South crown.

The Colts fell behind by 14 points at halftime, a margin that grew to 21 points before the offense roared to life.

Still, four touchdowns in the final 30 minutes could not rescue the day as Cincinnati grew its lead back to 21 before winning.

The Colts are in the playoffs.  Time remains to sharpen aspects of the approach in all three phases, and here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

PLAYOFFS GUARANTEED – The Colts are one of three teams (Denver, Seattle) to nail down a playoff berth, the only one to claim a division crown at this point.  That cannot be taken away, and it was the first goal the team had entering 2013.  “A division championship is a division championship any way you get it,” said Jim Irsay.  Said Robert Mathis, “I’m not going to sneeze at a division title.  We just have to work from here.”  Sure the team is not functioning at the level it seeks, but a ticket has been punched to play beyond 16 games.  That is an accomplishment.  Every other goal the team has still is in play.

EXECUTION IS ELIXIR – A scoreless first half with no third-down conversions in six attempts had the Colts in a halftime hole.  With five-of-40 third-down conversions in six games, it’s hard not to mention.  The Colts have had a first-half lead in only one of the last six games and have been out-scored, 114-24.  The combined deficit is 49-9 in the first quarter.  During the span, Indianapolis has 15 two- or three-and-outs on 37 possessions, with 16 total possessions not producing a first down.  Opponents have four three-and-outs in 34 possessions, with only five drives not yielding a first down.  The first-half time of possession disparity in the six games is 101:16 for opponents and 78:44 for the Colts.

HOPEFUL SPARK IS FOUND – Eight Colts receivers had first-half receptions at Cincinnati, but T.Y. Hilton was not among them.  Hilton was targeted five times in 46 Andrew Luck passes, and he did not catch a pass until 12 minutes remained in the game.  Da’Rick Rogers (six receptions, 107 yards) and LaVon Brazill (three-for-53) saw significant time, and each had two touchdown receptions.  Granted the tilted scoreboard created a higher number of passes than planned, still a team looking for a spark among receivers may have found one at Cincinnati.  Rogers is young and learning.  Brazill needs to make a push as his second year nears completion.  Yesterday’s production was a needed boost that needs to remain.  Each showed a physical nature that produced yards after the catch.

SERGIO BROWN IS SPECIAL – Sergio Brown has been among many bright spots for the Colts this year.  Every unit likes a go-to performer, and Brown has been that on coverage units.  With seven tackles, Brown is among club leaders.  He also has two fumble recoveries and a blocked field goal.  Twice against Denver, he downed punts deep in Broncos territory.  At Cincinnati, he downed a punt at the one and batted another back into play that was downed at the Bengals’ four.  Brown is a heads-up guy, a play waiting to happen.

STINGIER ON GROUND – Seven times this year the Colts have allowed 140-plus yards in a game.  Seven of the last nine opponents have rushed at least 30 times, each time topping 30 minutes possession time and but once not reaching a 4.0 average.  Cincinnati ran 35 times Sunday, netting 155 yards and a 4.4 average.  Where some games have had skewed rushing totals with quarterback scampers (Ryan Fitzpatrick had 54 of Tennessee’s 162 yards and eight of its 36 attempts a week ago), yesterday was not one of them.  Five times in the last eight games an opponent had at least 33:55 possession time.  Opponents’ rushing production is a factor in the time of possession, and it creates added pressure on the other team to maximize its opportunities.


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Colts Daily Headlines: November 7th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 7, 2013 – 8:42 am

The Colts wrapped up their first practice of the week on Wednesday in preparing for the St. Louis Rams. Today’s news looks at the vaunted Rams pass rush and how the Colts locker room handles hazing.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Thursday, November 7th.

Rams pass rush will look familiar to Colts fans

By: Reggie Hayes, The News-Sentinel

When Colts pass rusher Robert Mathis looks at the St. Louis Rams he sees almost a mirror image to past teams.

Rams defensive end Robert Quinn leads the NFC with 10 sacks, along with 10 tackles for loss. His partner on the other end, Chris Long, has 5.5 sacks.

“They have a high motor,” Mathis said. “I love guys that keep their motor running play after play. They are definitely double trouble. They kind of remind me of 93 and 98.”

Mathis refers, of course, to No.93 Dwight Freeney and No.98 Mathis when they used to wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks during their decade-long run together with the Colts. In fact, they were so good at what they did, Mathis used to joke that they lived at “9893 Bring The Heat Boulevard.”

Quinn and Long will be trying to evoke that spirit, much to Colts’ fans chagrin, when the Rams (3-6) play the Colts (6-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Mathis’ respect for the duo is echoed by Colts coach Chuck Pagano.

“From a defensive standpoint, they’re No.1 in the league as far as putting pressure on the quarterback and sacking the quarterback,” Pagano said. “They’ve got corners that can play. They can get up in your face and make things tough on your receivers to work to get off the line of scrimmage. From a defensive standpoint, they kind of smother you. That’s going to be a challenge.”

No hazing, just brotherhood with the Colts

By: Mike Wells, AFC South Blog

The talk on Wednesday in the Colts locker room centered on the national story of hazing in the Miami Dolphins locker room.

This goes back to when Tony Dungy started coaching the team in 2002.

“When he was here, he was all about there would be none of the rookie hazing type stuff and it’s continued that way,” veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri said. “We’ve got a group of older veteran guys that don’t believe in dumb stuff and that’s the way it is.”

Having fun and cracking jokes in the locker room is expected amongst teammates. Players often joke about the type of music some of their teammates listen to or their clothing choices. But it’s all in fun. Something you would do with your close friends. The Colts are around each other on almost a daily basis from the end of July until the season ends in January or February. You can even argue that they spend more time with each other than with their own families.

But it doesn’t go overboard — the way it’s reportedly happened in Miami — with the Colts.

“Guys in this locker room understand what hazing is,” said cornerback Vontae Davis, who spent his first three seasons with the Dolphins. “When you can’t distinguish taking advantage of somebody from just cracking jokes, you’re not being reliable as a veteran. We know how to distinguish if we’re taking advantage of somebody or not. We hold each other accountable. We’re a big family.”


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Five Things Learned, Colts-Houston

Posted by craigkelleycolts on November 4, 2013 – 9:59 am

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts are 6-2 and have a two-game AFC South lead at the season’s midpoint.  The wins that followed a loss at San Diego came in dramatic style over unbeaten Denver and against a 2-5 Houston group fighting for its 2013 survival.

The Colts produced a 10th comeback win under Chuck Pagano by wiping out an 18-point halftime deficit in a 27-24 victory at Houston.  Plays were made across the board in keeping a two-game AFC South lead over Tennessee.

Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

PERFECT WITH PERFECTION – The Colts are 7-0 under Pagano (3-0 in 2013) in turnover-free performances.  That the club has seven in 24 outings (almost 30 percent of the time) is a pretty healthy percentage and is a testament to his ball security preaching.  Prior to Pagano, it took a 37-game span back to 2010 to encompass seven spotless performances.  The Colts’ six giveaways lead the league.  Only four other teams are in single digits.  Three of those seven miscue-free games have been on the road, further evidence of the ability to play like Pagano preaches.

OVERCOME ADVERSITY – Houston sucker-punched the Colts one minute into the game with a long TD pass.  Adam Vinatieri had a field goal blocked moments later to the delight of the Houston fans, but the defense held on third- and fourth-and-one rushes to thwart the Texans.  One possession later, a near blocked punt helped set up a short field and a second Houston TD in the opening quarter.  After replay overturned what appeared to be a recovered fumble on a kickoff return, Houston added its third TD for an 18-point lead.  It came on a gut punch with 34 seconds left in the first half, a time when late scores can damage a team’s mindset.  The Colts hung tough on the road and after trading field goals in the third quarter, scored on three straight drives to take the lead.  It was producing and being non-judgmental in adversity.  “Chuck (Pagano) puts into us the ‘never-give-up’ spirit,” said Anthony Castonzo.  “It’s a trickle-down effect.  Everybody buys in.  We’re all 100 percent in on every play.  There’s no give-up in this game.”

LUCK REMAINS MASTERFUL – With 10 game-winning drives in fourth quarter and overtime, Andrew Luck has the most of any quarterback in the first two years of a career since 1970.  Luck’s manner in the huddle and calm leadership style affects teammates deeply.  “Andrew basically takes control of the huddle.  He’s telling us, ‘One play at a time, one play at a time.’  He’s focused,” said Castonzo of Luck, who must have read Kipling while earning his architecture at Stanford.  Even after the latest Houdini act, Luck credits teammates and coaches first.  There is no “I” in Luck.  If a player can have a virtuoso career after 24 games, Luck has done it.

LINEBACKERS MORE THAN MATHIS – Houston was able to neutralize Robert Mathis probably better than any team this year.  Still, Erik Walden had a 10-yard second-quarter sack of Case Keenum that preceded a missed field goal that would have put Houston up, 17-0.  After the Colts took the 27-24 lead with four minutes left, Mathis and Angerer stopped Ben Tate for short yardage around midfield, then Angerer stayed at home and dropped Keenum for a three-yard loss on a Pistol keeper, a superb one-on-one effort.  On the ensuing play, Mathis contained Keenum and Angerer delivered a hit on Keenum’s release.  Keenum’s pass hit Walden in the facemask and Mathis nearly corralled the ball for a touchdown.  Three linebackers, three plays in the clutch, and the Colts forced a punt.  While Angerer’s 12 tackles topped the team, Walden was in the middle of key moments for a second straight game.

PRODUCTION PAST WIDE RECEIVERS – With Reggie Wayne gone for the season, developing production past the wide receiving corps is a must.  Luck hit wide receivers 12 times in 29 targets, with more plays being made in the second half than the first.  Indianapolis was able to get three receptions from Coby Fleener, plus a critical two-point snare.  Trent Richardson had two receptions, including a 24-yarder that set up T.Y. Hilton’s third TD.  Success in spreading the ball paid dividends, and the club must continue that as Luck’s cohesion with wide outs continues to develop.


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