This week’s “Back-Up of the Game” presented by Venyu is cornerback Cassius Vaughn
After starting the last four weeks for injured cornerback Greg Toler, Cassius Vaughn slid over to the nickel role on Sunday.
He flourished in that spot with a career-high two interceptions in helping the Colts get a much-needed 22-14 win.
“I knew we needed to step up on defense and I felt like our whole defense stepped up out there,” Vaughn said after his two interceptions.
“I felt like (Sunday) I wanted to be the best corner on the field.”
Vaughn’s first interception came when Fitzpatrick over threw Kendall Wright with under a minute to play in the first half. The Colts would turn Vaughn’s interception into three points with Adam Vinatieri kicking a 37-yard field goal at the halftime gun.
The second pick for Vaughn came late in the third quarter after the Colts had just taken a 15-14 lead.
On a third-and-four from the Titans 39-yard line, Vaughn stepped in front of a pass intended for Nate Washington and picked off Fitzpatrick.
“He’s a veteran, he’s had a lot of playing time so it’s no surprise,” Chuck Pagano said of Vaughn. “Cassius had a great game.”
Tags: Cassius Vaughn
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The Colts returned to play in front of their home fans on Sunday afternoon and delivered with a vital 22-14 divisional win over the Tennessee Titans.
With the win, the Colts moved to three games up in the AFC South with just four weeks remaining in the regular season.
Find out what the Colts players said on Twitter after their Week 13 victory:
Linebacker Kelvin Sheppard:
Linebacker Erik Walden:
Tight End Weslye Saunders:
Cornerback Vontae Davis:
Safety Antoine Bethea:
Punter Pat McAfee:
Long Snapper Matt Overton:
Tags: antoine bethea, erik walden, kelvin sheppard, Matt Overton, pat mcafee, Vontae Davis, Weslye Saunders
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Throughout the course of the season, Colts.com will run a “Newcomer of the Week” following each regular season game. With the Colts having an influx of the newcomers this season here’s a look at the “Newcomer of the Week” from Tennessee.
This week’s “Newcomer of the Week” is inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.
The third-year linebacker had five tackles in 21 defensive snaps and was a major reason why the Colts defense put together its best effort in over a month.
“Really proud of the defense playing the way they did,” head coach Chuck Pagano said after the 22-14 win. “They were asked time and time and time again to go out there and make stops and got off the field against a team that came in doing a really good job on third down.
Sheppard has seen a variety of playing time in his first season with the Colts and has accounted for 11 tackles the last two weeks.
The Colts acquired Sheppard via trade for outside linebacker Jerry Hughes in late April.
At 256 pounds, Sheppard gives the Colts a physical presence at inside linebacker that is critical in stopping the opponents rushing attack.
That was once again the case on Sunday as the Colts held Chris Johnson to just 3.8 yards per carry with his longest rushing being just nine yards.
“It took every man that was donning a jersey on that side of the ball to get the job done,” Pagano said of the defense. “Every one of them that played tonight went in there and gave everything they’ve got and again, getting off the field was a major emphasis during the week, and obviously we’re always stressing turnovers.”
Other Newcomers of Note:
–Safety LaRon Landry was roaming the middle of the field all afternoon Sunday. He recorded four tackles, including a four-yard loss on a screen pass.
–Outside linebacker Erik Walden returned from his one game suspension and played all 75 defensive snaps. Walden had four tackles and one pass deflection.
–Inside Linebacker Josh McNary made his NFL debut on Sunday and played a total 21 snaps. In McNary’s three defensive snaps, the Army product recorded a quarterback hurry.
Tags: erik walden, josh mcnary, kelvin sheppard, laron landry
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Intro: Indianapolis earned a 22-14 victory over Tennessee to move within one win or a Titans loss of the AFC South crown. It takes 60 minutes and 45 players to win a game, and rarely does one like yesterday symbolize that more. Here are Five Things Learned from Sunday’s win.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts’ 22-14 victory over Tennessee was a 60-minute effort that needed something from every player.
Indianapolis got it to vanquish Tennessee and move much closer to a second straight playoff berth. It was a good bounce back after a difficult loss at Arizona, and the club kept alive its nearly two-season streak of not losing consecutive games.
The Colts are on the cusp of a divisional title that yields a home playoff game, and here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.
FOCUS DURING ADVERSITY – The clamor around the Colts last week was loud as observers asked how the team would respond to a 2-2 stretch that included 29- and 30-point losses. Some outsiders who might have thought the ship was sinking heard Colts players talk about doing what they do, but only doing a little better. The process put in place by Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson in 2012 has been modified cosmetically as needed as things do through 28 games, but the bedrock foundation of trust, faith and philosophy stays rooted. Players knew execution and fundamentals were needed to beat Tennessee. The mid-week message was repeated afterward. From statesman Cory Redding after the win: “We settled down. We trusted one another to get the job done. We went back to basics, and it worked. That’s what we kind of got away from, guys trying to do too much. Just do your job and trust the man next to you to do theirs.”
BIDE YOUR TIME, SERVE YOUR TEAMMATES – Donald Brown waited 12 games this year to get a starting nod. He had not opened a game since week four of 2012. Brown came through as the leading rusher for the fourth time this season. After four straight starts for Greg Toler, Cassius Vaughn did not start. His focus then was to be the best CB on the field should his time come. It came – two interceptions. Jeff Linkenbach started at RG for the third time this season, and the Colts won for a third time. Mike McGlynn contributed in other roles, and Pagano praised every player involved for professionalism. It truly was a mature mindset by a team that listens to its coach. His mantra of, ‘45 Men, 60 Minutes, Don’t Judge, All You Got,’ was on full display.
PRODUCE IN CRUNCH – The Colts mustered 25 rushing yards through three quarters, but had 79 when it counted the most, including a four-yard Brown TD burst. The defense gave up a long TD drive to open the second half. An unsightly three-and-out offensive possession that included a penalty and sack, plus a long punt return, put the defense at its 32 just two minutes later. Robert Mathis had a sack-strip that led to a field goal to re-gain the lead. Four plays after the kick, Vaughn intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick. Takeaways on consecutive drives kept Tennessee from scoring again. The Colts scored 10 unanswered points, while the defense forced two punts and had one more interception with 33 seconds left to seal the game. Indianapolis produced in the crunch. Not always does a team win going away. Many do so by making plays when it matters.
ADAM VINATIERI VINTAGE – Adam Vinatieri twice before had made five field goals in a game, but not since 2004. Vinatieri tied a club record done seven other times by hitting from 47, 48, 45, 37 and 49 yards. His first, third and fifth kicks put the Colts ahead. It looked like Indianapolis would have to win a game without scoring a touchdown for the first time since 2003 – until late. Vinatieri is 26-of-29 this year, including 15-of-18 from the 40-plus range. He has made 22 of his last 23 efforts, 34-of-35 inside 50 yards. In addition to joining Morten Andersen as the only kickers with 800-plus points with two different teams, Vinatieri joined eight others (done a total of nine times) who hit four times from the 40-yard range in a game. Of all free agent signings in Colts history, his is one of the best.
STEADY IS MONEY – In going 4-2 at home and away, the Colts are 8-4. After going 3-1 in the first two quarters of the season, Sunday’s win put the Colts at 2-2 in the season’s third quarter. That steady production has the Colts within grasp of a 16th playoff berth since moving to Indianapolis. Under Pagano and Grigson, the Colts started 2-2 in the first quarter of 2012 with nearly a completely rebuilt team. Afterward, Indianapolis was 3-1, 3-1 and 3-1 to reach 11-5. This year’s two 3-1 starts meant five consecutive quarters of seasons had that steady production. Fighting injuries and uneven play, the Colts ended the third quarter with a .500 mark. An extended period of play since 2002 has seen the Colts have only five non-winning seasonal quarters – a span of almost 12 full seasons. Colts fans – current and long-time – should appreciate that feat.
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, Cassius Vaughn, chuck pagano, cory redding, donald brown, greg toler, indianapolis colts, Jeff Linkenbach, mike mcglynn, ryan grigson
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