LaVon Brazill wasn’t expecting to hear his name get called.
With 4:28 left in the fourth quarter on Sunday, the Colts punted and stopped Pro Bowl returner Josh Cribbs for a four-yard gain.
However, a holding penalty forced a tired punt coverage group to have to head back down the field in hopes of neutralizing Cribbs one more time on Sunday.
As the unit made the trek back to the Indianapolis 19-yard line, Brazill heard his name get called on the sideline.
Brazill is a backup gunner for the Colts but admitted on Monday afternoon that he hasn’t seen a rep on the punt coverage unit in a long time.
Special teams coaches Marwan Maalouf and Brant Boyer inserted Brazill in for a winded Joe Lefeged as the Colts gunner lined up to the right side of the line of scrimmage.
It looked as if the Colts special teams were going to get off the field but now they would have to kick to Cribbs one more time without their special teams leading tackler.
“I was thinking man I’m tired,” linebacker Justin Hickman said on Monday. “We just knew in that situation, with the point we were at in the game, it was probably the biggest play on special teams all day and we just had to bust our (butts) to get down there and make sure (Cribbs) couldn’t bust anything.”
“I was thinking this was a situation where it can come back to bite you in the (butt). You go down and cover it good the first time and then you get a penalty. The second time he normally busts it loose. On TV that’s how you normally see it happen.”
Brazill made sure the Colts punt coverage unit wouldn’t find their way onto any future Cribbs highlight reel.
Prior to the snap, Browns cornerbacks Johnson Bademosi and Joe Haden lined up across from the Colts rookie.
Bademosi eventually slid inside to rush punter Pat McAfee but Haden, an All-Pro cornerback, still shadowed Brazill.
Knowing that Haden was winded from the first punt, Brazill made a move to the outside and immediately found himself barring down on Cribbs with Haden trailing him.
As Cribbs fielded the punt at the Browns 29-yard line, there was Brazill ready to make a vital stop.
“They had me doubled than one of the guys dropped down so my plan was beating (Haden) and go down there was to make up fair catch but Josh Cribbs is a great player so in his eyes he wanted to make a great play,” Brazill said. “I just broke down and wrapped up and held on.”
The Colts defense eventually forced a turnover on downs on the following possession thus preserving the 17-13 victory over the Browns.
McAfee was one of the first of many Colts teammates to congratulate Brazill and appreciates a coverage unit that held one of the league’s finest returners to just two attempts for 12 yards.
“We have an amazing group of gunners. Sergio (Brown) and Joe Lefeged have done amazing but after one rep, it’s all out so Joe was a little gassed,” McAfee said following the game.
“Marwann Maloouf and Brant Boyer decided to put in a fresh guy LaVon Brazill, who has been working all week for his chance. It was his fresh legs and a smart decision to put him in that really affected the game. That was a huge play and Brazill did an amazing job tackling one of the hardest guys in the league to tackle.”
Tags: Brant Boyer, Joe Lefeged, Justin Hickman, LaVon Brazill, Marwan Maalouf, pat mcafee
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