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
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:
Great team win!!!! Ur remembered by what u do in December!!! #BTM #8-4— Kelvin Sheppard (@KelvinSheppard) December 1, 2013
Linebacker Erik Walden:
Great Win ColtsNation were awesome in there today#ColtsNationStandUp#OnAMission#BTM— Erik Walden (@E_Ninety3) December 1, 2013
Tight End Weslye Saunders:
It's a lot more fun to wake up on Monday after a WIN. Good morning Indy! #ColtsNation— Weslye Saunders (@Wes_Saunders88) December 2, 2013
Cornerback Vontae Davis:
We are #COLTSTRONG— Vontae Davis (@VontaeDavis23) December 1, 2013
Safety Antoine Bethea:
Thank you Colts nation for sticking with us!! Great team win today!!— Antoine Bethea (@Tweez41) December 2, 2013
Punter Pat McAfee:
Guys... Winning makes life so much better.. Vinatieri is a baller from way back.. Thank you so much #Colts nation.. Let's enjoy this— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) December 1, 2013
Long Snapper Matt Overton:
Tags: antoine bethea, erik walden, kelvin sheppard, Matt Overton, pat mcafee, Vontae Davis, Weslye Saunders
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
The Colts bye week is now over with the team starting a nine-game stretch in Houston on Sunday night. Today’s news looks back on the first two month of the season and how the team’s offense has stayed true despite injuries.
Take a look below at the top pieces from Tuesday, October 29th.
By: Mike Wells, AFC South Blog
Darrius Heyward-Bey didn’t flinch when asked if there is “pressure” in receiving some more reps with Reggie Wayne’s absence.
“No pressure,” Heyward-Bey said when asked Monday afternoon. “I was just talking to [quarterback] Andrew [Luck] about that. We all work hard and our craft, that’s what we expect to do week in and week out.”
All eyes will be on the receiver spot every time Luck steps back in the pocket and throws to Heyward-Bey, T.Y. Hilton or whoever manages to step up to be the No. 3 receiver – it’s anybody’s guess on that spot right now.
Miscues will likely be followed by, “Reggie could have made that catch,” or “Reggie would have known to get to the first-down marker.”
That’s what happens when you attempt to replace a future Hall of Famer. But Heyward-Bey, the No. 7 pick in the 2009 draft, has soaked in everything Wayne has taught him since the first time the two met after he signed with the Colts during the offseason.
“Things don’t always go how the coaches draw it up,” Heyward-Bey said. “Reggie has taught me that’s OK. I’m a very black and white type of guy. I’m not a gray area [guy], but that’s what football is, a gray area. Every day coming to work and putting in that grind, I thought I was putting in a good grind in Oakland, I worked my butt off, but he took it to another level. He doesn’t come out of any reps. Me and T.Y. have definitely taken that in.”
By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star
Chuck Pagano and the Colts players offered some updates on Reggie Wayne having surgery last Friday.
The No. 2 receiver in Colts history underwent surgery Friday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered during the fourth quarter of the Oct. 20 win over the Denver Broncos. Dr. John Uribe, who also repaired the torn ACL in Edgerrin James’ left knee in 2001, performed Wayne’s surgery.
“Uneventful as they usually say … everything came out great,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “He’s in good spirits, rehabbing three times a day, grinding it out as we would all expect.”
The initial phase of Wayne’s rehabilitation will take place in Florida until he’s allowed to travel.
“He’ll be back here eventually; as soon as they let him,” Pagano said.
Safety Antoine Bethea and linebacker Robert Mathis were among the first players to check out Wayne as he remained on the ground after suffering the injury. Along with placekicker Adam Vinatieri, they’re Wayne’s longest-tenured teammates.
“I’ve talked to him a couple of days,” Bethea said. “He’s doing well. Everybody knows what type of fighter he is. He’s going to bounce back.”
Added Mathis: “He’s upbeat, very positive, back on the trail.”
By: Mike Marot, The Associated Press
After a 5-2 record through the first two months of the season, the Colts returned to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center eager for the final stretch.
Players were focused, excited and eager to get back to work as they embark on a critical two-week stretch that could dictate their fate in the AFC South.
No, one week wasn’t enough to get everyone healthy, but it was long enough to give these players time to rest, recover and recharge before turning their competitive switch back on.
“You’ve got to, you’re a professional,” cornerback Darius Butler said. “Even on the off time, you’re still watching film, still rehabbing, still talking to some of the guys. You’ve always got to stay tuned in and you’re right back to it on Monday.”
Tags: antoine bethea, chuck pagano, darius butler, darrius heyward-bey, Reggie Wayne, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES
With Monday Night Football on the schedule this week, the Colts will ramp up their practice pace on Thursday afternoon. Today’s news looks at the early talk of Peyton Manning returning to Indianapolis and the play of Jerrell Freeman.
Take a look below at the top pieces from Thursday, October 10th.
By: Jarrett Bell, USA Today
At NFL owners meetings in Washington D.C., Bell caught up with Colts owner Jim Irsay to take a look ahead at the October 20th meeting with the Denver Broncos.
Obviously, Peyton Manning was the topic and the Colts plans for welcoming back No. 18.
“We’re going to have a great tribute to him,” Irsay said while in Washington for NFL owners meetings on Tuesday. “It’s going to be something where you go into it wanting to have a lot of fun, where you love Peyton as a Colt fan, but now we’re competing against him.”
“For this one day, we’re competitors,” Irsay said. “You look for a great game and that’s the main thing.”
By: Stephen Holder, Indy Star
The calendar has turned to 2013 but Jerrell Freeman is once again turning heads, especially after his game-high 13-tackle performance against Seattle.
“He was all over the field,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “Jerrell, he’s a good player, great player. He’s very athletic. He can do everything. He’s good in the run game. He’s good in the pass game as well. There’s no liability when you speak of Jerrell.”
Freeman, according to the Colts (who keep their own tackle statistics), had a team-record 203 tackles last season. Not the kind of thing you generally expect from a guy who played college ball at a former women’s school and began his career with three years in obscurity north of the border.
But that’s in the past. Freeman didn’t get here by being easily satisfied.
“The mark of a good pro is being able to be consistent year-in and year-out,” Freeman said. “It’s about getting better at what you do and not staying the same. I didn’t want to come back and be the same guy. I wanted to get better this year.”
By: Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports
In the first of many national stories comparing Luck and Manning over the next week and a half, Wetzel looks at the questions surrounding the former Stanford signal caller when he was drafted by the Colts.
There were just a few things no one could measure.
Could Luck handle the pressure of replacing a legend? And if, yes, what if that legend returned to greatness with another team, offering a weekly reminder to players and fans back in Indianapolis of what they were missing, what they had let go?
What no one could imagine was the possibility that Manning might not only return to form, but actually be better than ever – as he’s been this season in Denver. Or, to take even further, to play the position better than anyone has ever played it.
What kind of a young player could handle that?
As it turns out, Andrew Luck.
Tags: Andrew Luck, antoine bethea, chuck pagano, Jerrell Freeman
Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES
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.
Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.
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.
Tags: Andrew Luck, antoine bethea, chuck pagano, Delano Howell, indianapolis colts, Jerrell Freeman, Lawrence Guy, pat mcafee, Reggie Wayne, robert mathis, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
The practice week for the Colts will wrap up this morning. Today’s news looks at the Colts balanced attack, comparing Russell Wilson to Andrew Luck and Trent Richardson’s patience.
Take a look below at the top pieces from Friday, October 4th.
By: Bob Kravitz, Indy Star
Since Peyton Manning arrived in Indianapolis, the Colts were almost always known for their prolific offense.
That has changed under the new Ryan Grigson-Chuck Pagano regime. In two short years, the Colts have undergone a complete personality transplant, and it’s the kind of transformation that figures to hold them in good stead for years to come.
“This is our most balanced team by far,” said Antoine Bethea, who’s been a Colt for eight years. “By far. Previous years it was Peyton and the offense. This year, the offense is doing well, special teams is playing great and the defense is doing good.”
By: Reggie Hayes, The News-Sentinel
Comparing the 2012 quarterback draft class will be an endless endeavor over the next decade.
While Russell Wilson has dual-threat capabilities, he made it clear what his “label” is as a quarterback.
“Quarterback that runs,” he said. “It’s one of those things that I love throwing the football. I love to sit back there and just step up and slide and make the throws. Then, if it’s not there, just try to get to something positive and make something happen.”
Isn’t that Luck in a nutshell?
“I know both of us can run,” Wilson said. “For how big he is, he can run extremely well. It’s one of those things that we’re looking to facilitate the ball to the right guy at the right time.”
By: Mike Wells, AFC South Blog
Trent Richardson isn’t worried about his quiet start with the Indianapolis Colts.
“I know the 100-yard games are going to come,” Richardson said. “I do say ‘games,’ because there’s going to be more than one. When they do come, it’s going to keep coming. Last two teams have been stacking the box.”
Richardson has rushed for 95 yards on 33 carries in two games since the Colts acquired him from Cleveland on Sept. 18. His longest run has been 12 yards as he searches for a crease to break free.
“I’m not concerned because it’s early still and (he’s) getting acclimated to the system, to the calls, to his surroundings, to the people up front, getting used to the blocking, those types of things,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “He’s a shoelace here and there from breaking some really big runs, which obviously will change those numbers.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, antoine bethea, chuck pagano, trent richardson
Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES
Antoine Bethea joined the NFL AM crew last week and the eight-year veteran shared some insight on a couple of interesting storylines with the Colts.
While the faces around Bethea have changed significantly, the safety has enjoyed watching new teammates fit into the Horseshoe.
“It’s different having different guys come in and out but it’s a lot of fun seeing a lot of the young guys come in, step in and make a lot of plays for us, especially coming off last year. It’s been a great ride,” Bethea said.
One of the new teammates who has joined Bethea in the secondary is LaRon Landry.
The Pro Bowl safety is known for his physicality and Bethea is ready to welcome receivers to the Colts secondary this year.
“Having LaRon it’s going to be fun,” says Bethea. “I just can’t wait to get back there with receivers coming across the middle and just laying wood and raising havoc back there.”
Typical to most national interviews, the segment was not over until Bethea fielded a question about Andrew Luck.
Bethea said one of the things that Luck has improved on this year is accepting the fact that he doesn’t need to force balls into tight windows.
“This year in preseason (Luck) will get a check down to a running back. He will put the ball in places only where receivers will catch the ball,” Bethea said.
“No. 12 man, he won’t have a sophomore slump. He will just continue to do great things for this team.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, antoine bethea, laron landry
Posted in Colts Blog
While many Colts players traveled to tropical islands and other destinations this offseason, Pat Angerer stayed right here in Indianapolis rehabbing.
No NFL player wants his offseason spent doing the ‘r’ word but that’s what was in store for Angerer.
Angerer tied for the team lead in tackles during the first half and his fellow defenders were glad to see him back in the starting lineup.
“Another tackling machine out there, alongside (Jerrell Freeman),” safety Antoine Bethea said of Angerer’s return.
“We’ve got two guys who can get to the ball, know the defense, intelligent guys. Having (Angerer’s) leadership in the linebacker corps and out on the field is going to help us out a lot.”
During Angerer’s first two seasons in the NFL, the second-round draft pick started 27 games and did not miss a contest.
However, a foot injury limited Angerer to just three starts last season.
Angerer, who was the Colts leading tackler in 2011, ran out with the starting unit against the Browns and wasted little time making an impact.
“Last year (Angerer) was kind of limited and this offseason, so having him back out on the field gives us a veteran guy that has played a lot of downs in this league so that’s always good for the defense,” cornerback Darius Butler said.
“I’m out there in nickel so I’m communicating a lot with him, Jerrell so it’s good to have a guy in there who knows what’s going on.”
With Angerer back in the starting lineup, the Colts inside linebackers both have finished in the top five of the NFL in tackles over the past two seasons.
“It’s always good to get one of your leaders back,” backup linebacker Mario Harvey says of Angerer.
“It’s just another addition to the team that we lost during the spring. It adds more depth on the defense and I’m happy to see him play.”
Tags: antoine bethea, darius butler, Jerrell Freeman, Mario Harvey, pat angerer
Posted in Colts Blog
Two statistics that every NFL defensive coordinator looks at when scouring a post game box score are third-down efficiency and red zone efficiency.
Greg Manusky has to be very pleased with what his eyes are seeing after looking over the Colts/Giants box score.
Third Down efficiency: 3-15
Red Zone efficiency: 0-4
“We finished (eighth) last year in the NFL in red zone defense and they’ve kind of picked up right where they left off,” Head Coach Chuck Pagano said of the team’s defense following the Colts 20-12 victory. “
The Colts four red zone stops of the Giants offense in the first half were as followed:
- 12:17 to go in 1st quarter-With the Giants facing a fourth-and-one, Andre Brown is stuffed on a run to the left by Erik Walden and Antoine Bethea.
- 6:44 to go in 1st quarter-The Giants settle for a 25-yard field goal after reaching the seven-yard line before an Eli Manning incompletion.
- 4:09 to go in 2nd quarter-The Giants drive down to the Colts five-yard line but lose four yards on a David Wilson carry before eventually kicking a 27-yard field goal.
- :03 to go in 2nd quarter-The Colts force a pair of incompletions from the Giants 12-yard line. New York kicks a 45-yard field goal after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
The Colts defense holding the Giants to a 20 percent conversion rate on third-down was impressive but the unit also had some timely plays on the “money down.”
Greg Toler’s interception came on a third-and-one late in the first quarter.
Then in the second half with the Colts not allowing the Giants into the red zone, Caesar Rayford and Marshay Green both recorded sacks on third downs.
From a first-half yardage standpoint, there wasn’t much of a differential (15 yards) between the Colts and Giants.
It was all about defending the goal line that made up the eight-point difference.
“Our mindset down there is they aren’t in until they are in,” Pagano said of the red zone. “That’s third and goal from the 10, the seven, or from the one-yard line, we are going to do everything we can to keep them out.”
“Our guys are really comfortable with what we do down there, the schemes, the calls we make down there and the players do a nice job of executing them.”
Tags: antoine bethea, Casear Rayford, chuck pagano, erik walden, Greg Manusky, marshay green
Posted in Colts Blog