Tags: Andrew Luck, darius butler, donald brown, indianapolis colts, infographic, Jerrell Freeman, robert mathis, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
Tags: 2013 nfl season, Adam Vinatieri, Andrew Luck, antoine bethea, arizona cardinals, Bjoern Werner, boom herron, chuck pagano, cincinncati bengals, cory redding, da'rick rogers, darius butler, darrius heyward-bey, Denver Broncos, divisional playoffs, donald brown, Griff Whalen, houston texans, indianapolis colts, infographic, jacksonville jaguars, Jerrell Freeman, kansas city chiefs, laron landry, LaVon Brazill, miami dolphins, new england patriots, nfl playoffs, Oakland Raiders, Reggie Wayne, Ricky Jean-Francois, robert mathis, san diego chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, st. louis rams, T.Y. Hilton, tennessee titans, wild card weekend
Posted in Colts Blog
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.
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, indianapolis colts, pat mcafee, robert mathis, ryan grigson, T.Y. Hilton, Tom McMahon
Posted in Colts Blog
The one-hour show aired on WNDE here are some of the highlights from No. 87:
On Wayne’s rehab and his visit to Dr. Uribe last week in Miami:
“He just wanted to see my progression, where I was at. He was actually pretty excited about it, pretty geeked up of where I am after six weeks. He gave me some good words of encouragement telling me he can’t remember anyone that’s looked this good at this point and time of their surgery. I guess I’m doing something right. He released me to go into that next phase. That next phase is some weight room stuff, some squats, some things like that. It was a great trip.”
“Full-throttle, we are doing everything football related six months from surgery. I’m already a month and a half done basically. Right now, I’m not even looking to that. I’m looking to the three month mark and that’s where I’m able to do straight ahead running. That’s kind of what I have my eyes set on. I want to make sure at that three month mark, I’m ready to go start running, no set backs and so far so good.”
On if Wayne will be good for OTAs, minicamp:
“Yeah, but I doubt if I’ll participate in them. I want to make sure that I’m right. I think training camp is more of an ideal approach. OTAs and stuff, I probably wouldn’t do that stuff if I was 100 percent healthy. I’ve got my goals. I’m breaking them down and hopefully I can get “Comeback Player of the Year” next year. That’s what I want to get accomplished.”
On the play of Da’Rick Rogers against the Bengals:
“I think as a team we knew he was going to have an opportunity to go out there and show what he’s capable of doing. He was out there in practice each week doing a little bit more each time. It was only a matter of time before he was going to get his number called and go out there and really make something happen. I was happy for him and he showed up big for us.”
On LaVon Brazill also recording a two-touchdown game:
“I was very happy because you watch on film and there was times he was open and just didn’t get his number called. But you tell him, ‘Just continue to do your job. It’s going to come your way and when it does, you just make the best of it.’ He was able to some great things for us. He had an outstanding touchdown. He broke like six or seven tackles. He’s one of those guys, just like a T.Y. Hilton, when they have the ball in their hands, it’s almost like a punt return mentality. He was able to go out there and produce, have some good things happen. Hopefully he can build on that.”
On Wayne taking 15 teammates to the Pacers/Heat game and if he’s friends with some of the Pacers:
“Oh yeah. A lot of the guys on their team, they help when it comes to community work, they help support our foundations and vice versa. We help them as well. We all root for each other. We all want to help whenever someone has something going on in the community, you want to help as much as you possibly can with their cause. And that’s just the way it goes. We feel like even though it’s football and basketball, we feel like we are all in the same game. We take pride in that, support each other, support the state of Indiana, the city of Indianapolis and we just want to see each other do well.”
Tags: da'rick rogers, LaVon Brazill, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
The Colts had a total of 60 offensive and 77 defensive snaps on Sunday afternoon.
There were some interesting takeaways from the snap counts on both sides of the ball:
- In his NFL debut on Sunday, Daniel Adongo logged 22 special teams snaps. Adongo even fielded a pooch kickoff and had 1 kick return for 0 yards. Adongo lined up in the front line of the kick return unit on the far right side of the field. On kickoff cover, Adongo was the first person lined up to the right of Pat McAfee.
- The wide receiver breakdown for a total of 60 offensive snaps are as followed: T.Y. Hilton (45), LaVon Brazill (42), Da’Rick Rogers (41) and Darrius Heyward-Bey (23). The rise in Rogers snaps continues the trend from what we saw late in the Titans game on Dec. 1.
- At the running back position Donald Brown (32 snaps), Trent Richardson (24 snaps) and Chris Rainey (3 snaps) accounted for the snaps. Brown had 8 touches for 29 yards. Richardson had 11 touches for 88 yards.
- At inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (51 snaps, 5 tackles) got the start. Pat Angerer played 22 snaps and finished with 1 tackle.
Tags: Chris Rainey, da'rick rogers, Daniel Adongo, darrius heyward-bey, donald brown, kelvin sheppard, LaVon Brazill, pat angerer, T.Y. Hilton, trent richardson
Posted in Colts Blog
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.
Tags: Andrew Luck, da'rick rogers, indianapolis colts, Jim Irsay, LaVon Brazill, robert mathis, Sergio Brown, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
Over the past few weeks, Colts fans attention on the status of Da’Rick Rogers rivals that of any player on the team.
Could it be this weekend for the rookie wide receiver?
“I would venture to say that’s a good probability,” Chuck Pagano said on Wednesday when asked if the four current receivers on the 53-man roster will be active this weekend.
The enthrallment in Rogers stems from him leading the SEC with 67 receptions for 1,040 yards during his 2011 season at Tennessee.
Off the field issues caused Rogers to go undrafted this past April but it appears he’s beginning to realize that the clock is ticking on his chances.
“I’ve been doing everything Coach Pagano has asked of me and a little more,” Rogers said on Wednesday. “Coming in early, staying late, putting in the extra work I need to get acclimated from the offense, letting these guys know I’m here learning and helping the team out.”
Pagano talked about that acclimation period that players go through when making the move from a practice squad (where they are mostly scout team players during practice) to the 53-man roster (where they are actually running the Colts playbook at practice).
Now, it’s extended reps with Andrew Luck and the Colts quarterback likes what he sees from the 6-3, 215-pound Rogers.
“He’s been doing a great job, focused, done a great job learning the playbook so I’m excited for him and excited about him,” Luck said.
And Pagano’s thoughts on Rogers?
“Now he’s at a point where he’s picked things up and we are going to put him out there and give it a shot,” Pagano said of Rogers.
“He’s a big, athletic, talented guy. He’s put in the time, been here early, stays late so I’m fully confident that the kid can go out there and make a play for us.””
Rogers knows the Colts are searching for some production from a receiver not named and T.Y. Hilton and the rookie is relishing the chance to make an impact.
“Coach Pagano has put that pressure on us. “That pressure makes dominance so just go out there and do what you go to do,” Rogers said.
“It’s football. It’s a child’s game and we just got to go out and execute.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, da'rick rogers, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
Intro: Indianapolis suffered a second wide-margin defeat in four games by losing at Arizona, 40-11. The Colts are at 7-4 and still own a two-game lead in the AFC South in hosting 5-6 Tennessee, their closest divisional foe.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts’ trip to Arizona more resembled the one they took to San Diego in week six (19-9 loss) than it did the one to San Francisco in week three (27-7 win).
The Colts (7-4) fell at Arizona, 40-11, in a game they never led and one that spun out of control in the first 30 minutes.
Indianapolis has responded from eight prior defeats under Chuck Pagano with victories, a resilience that must be called upon again as Tennessee (5-6) visits with intentions of tightening the AFC South race and earning a playoff berth of some kind.
Improvement is needed from the Colts, and here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.
PERCEPTION VERSUS REALITY – The reality is Indianapolis needs to play more consistently in the next five games than it has done in the last four. Personnel losses have not been used as a crutch, and the secondary has been battered of late after most of the injuries early in the year were spread across the offense. While players said they could not “big-picture” the situation in the moments after the Arizona game, a long flight home certainly provided that time. Sure, 8-3 beats 7-4. Sure, New England had pulled it off (going to 8-3 from a near 7-4 after a 24-point home halftime deficit to Denver) about the same time the Colts’ flight landed. What’s done is done, but reality also holds that the Colts control their playoff fate with a two-game lead over Tennessee. This Sunday’s game has added implications, but no added meaning. Chuck Pagano says every game is a must-win because he wants to win them all. The approach this week will be to improve and take advantage of being in a good spot. No season-opening goal has been lost.
STILL SEARCHING POST-REGGIE – The 16 quarters Indianapolis has played since Reggie Wayne’s injury late in the Denver win have seen the team struggle much more than thrive. T.Y. Hilton has done well. Colts tight ends did well at Tennessee, but large deficits have put the offense in modes it doesn’t particularly enjoy. Needing a surge at Arizona, wide receivers other than Hilton caught six-of-13 passes targeted, gaining 57 yards. After tight ends had nine receptions in 13 attempts against Tennessee, the unit had five receptions at Arizona. The offense is laboring with a consistent identity. Early deficits have hindered the growth.
MAKE A PLAY – When Arizona moved for a game-opening score, the onus shifted to a team whose first-half struggles have been rehashed and debated for the past month. Still, Indianapolis failed to extend five-of-six first-half possessions beyond three plays. The one drive that did stalled in the red zone. The offense also gave up a defensive touchdown to Arizona in that span as the Cardinals bolted to a 24-point halftime advantage. The Colts now have converted three-of-25 first-half third downs in the last four games. Until it improves, this remains one of the key storylines around the team.
STOP A PLAY – Over the last four games, opposing quarterbacks are operating at a 122.1 rating level and though it’s a small sample compared to 11 games, only one QB in the league has higher individual seasonal rating. Since beating Denver, the success of opposing QBs (Case Keenum, Kellen Clemens, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Carson Palmer) has caused the Colts’ seasonal numbers to increase in pass defense – 58.7 completion percentage to 61.3; yards per attempt from 7.23 to 8.07; yards per completion from 12.3 to 13.2; TD:Int ratio from 8:8 to 16:8 and rating from 78.3 to 92.4. The Colts have allowed 11 TD passes while intercepting one.
CIRCLE TIGHTLY – A cut-throat, competitive league can have teams going from advantageous positions to peril in a matter of two-to-four weeks. Clearly the Colts are more in peril than after being 6-2. To a man, players are circling tighter to improve themselves and to lessen any noise outside the locker room that could cause harm. While this could sound minimally important outside the circle, those inside it know the imperative nature of doing so. Antoine Bethea said Sunday the Colts win and lose as a whole, and they must look each other in the eyes to spur a rebound. Hanging as a band of brothers is the only way.
Tags: antoine bethea, chuck pagano, indianapolis colts, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
Andrew Luck was a guest of Reggie Wayne’s earlier this week on the “Query and Schultz Show” in Indianapolis.
While Wayne joined the show for the first time since his injury, Luck was making his debut.
Here are some of Luck’s highlights from the show:
On having Reggie Wayne back for the Houston game and now in the building:
“I don’t think he could survive sitting at home, watching the guys play without him. His drive and his motivation, even being hurt, he’s still such a locker room presence, still such a voice for the team. I think we wanted him back. Obviously, Mr. Irsay made it happen with whatever strings he pulled. I was very happy to see Reggie walk into the team meeting the night before the game and give us some words and it means a lot when he’s here. It really does.”
On Wayne’s presence now around the complex:
“You can tell he’s taken on more of a coaching role in a sense and breaking it down for T.Y. Hilton, LaVon Brazill or the other guys, or helping (Coby) Fleener out with releases. He’s still incredibly actively involved because again he’s still apart of the Colts fabric. I can’t imagine the Colts without Reggie Wayne. You just don’t imagine it, so I’m thankful he’s around.”
On how the Colts offense is adjusting to life without Wayne:
“It’s definitely a transition. I think what I always admired about Reggie was third down he made a play. When you needed to make a play in the fourth quarter he was open, you needed a two-minute drive, Reggie was getting open. So to lose that safety net, if you will, is different. But I’ve been really impressed with how the other receivers, tight ends, have approached it as a challenge as the guy that gets open on a big third down.”
On Trent Richardson:
“I think he’s done great and I think it’s unfair the flak that he’s been catching from folks. They don’t understand what he’s doing protection wise, what he’s doing coming out of the backfield and how tough it is to switch teams midseason. He’s in Cleveland on a Wednesday then he’s in Indianapolis on a Thursday preparing for third down against another team. Never seen a playbook before, new teammates, new everything. I think the way he’s been able to adjust has been great. He’s a smart, smart football player. He’s a great football player. I think it will be a short amount of time before people get their heads around that.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, Coby Fleener, david reed, Jim Irsay, LaVon Brazill, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog, Colts Casey B
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.”
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, Daniel Herron, donald brown, Griff Whalen, indianapolis colts, pat angerer, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog