Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson traded back into the
bottom of the third round to select the Florida International star because
he saw a player with game-breaking speed.
During Sunday’s crucial 20-13 victory against the Buffalo Bills at Lucas
Oil Stadium, the rest of the world saw it, too.
Hilton broke free for a 75-yard touchdown on a punt return in the first
quarter and added an eight-yard touchdown reception late in the third --
becoming the first player in Colts history to record that scoring combo --
as Indianapolis (7-4) strengthened its position in the AFC playoff race.
“Those things, big plays like that, normally turn games,” Bills head coach
Chan Gailey said of Hilton’s return TD, “and it certainly turned momentum
with that play.”
In a game Buffalo (4-7) likely had to win to remain a factor in the
postseason chase, Hilton’s return with 9:56 remaining in the first quarter
gave the Colts the lead. A rejuvenated pass rush, led by outside
linebackers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, helped them keep it.
“Mathis and Freeney are well known, obviously, especially at home, for
creating some havoc,” Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “They did a
really nice job. There were times when we tried to get chips on them and
just varying the snap count a little bit, not letting those guys get off
on us. I thought those guys are really good players over there, and they
did a really good job today.”
So did inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman. He led the team for the ninth
time in 11 games with 16 tackles and added one sack. His
sideline-to-sideline speed was a key factor in keeping Buffalo’s screen
game in check.
“You can’t say enough about Free,” Indianapolis interim head
coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. “He is a quality, quality
football player, and I’m sure glad he’s on our team. He’s fast, and he can
run with these guys.”
The Bills gained just 304 yards of total offense and didn’t score a
touchdown until the 11:30 mark of the fourth quarter when Fitzpatrick
connected with wide receiver Lee Smith on a 1-yard pass.
“They didn’t give them anything on defense,” Arians said, “hung in there
when they had to.”
The Colts offense made plays when it had to as well.
Indianapolis was clinging to a 10-6 lead late in the second quarter when
the defense forced the Bills to punt from their own 12-yard line. The
Colts took over at their own 49 with 32 seconds to play and marched the
ball to the Buffalo 1.
Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne -- who set an NFL record with at least
three receptions for the 59th straight game -- was tackled short of the
goal line on a second-and-goal pass from the 3. With no timeouts left,
rookie quarterback Andrew Luck rushed the offense to the line of scrimmage
and spiked the ball with one second remaining.
Adam Vinatieri made the 19-yard field goal to give the Colts a seven-point
Indianapolis added to that advantage with an 87-yard drive that ate 8:04
off the third-quarter clock. Luck converted four third-down chances on the
march, including an eight-yard touchdown pass to Hilton on third-and-goal.
“We need more of those drives,” Luck said. “I realize that. As an offense,
we realize that. But I think when we needed it most we got that drive and
ended it with a four-minute drive or whatever you want to call it. We need
more of those types of drives.”
Trailing again by seven, Buffalo drove to the Indianapolis 36-yard line
with 4:43 remaining in the game. Safety Tom Zbikowski intercepted
Fitzpatrick’s second-down pass, but he fumbled the ball back to the Bills
at their 47.
Forced to stop Buffalo again, the defense allowed two net yards on the
next three plays and caused a punt with 3:32 to play. The Colts offense
took over at its own 5 and used an 11-yard run by Donald Brown, a 14-yard
reception by Reggie Wayne and a pass interference penalty against Bills
rookie Stephon Gilmore to run out the clock.
The win, coupled with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss to the Cleveland
Browns, gives the Colts a one-game lead for the fifth seed in the AFC
playoffs with five regular season games remaining.
Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano, preparing for his third and final
round of chemotherapy to fight leukemia, again was in attendance. He waved
to fans from owner Jim Irsay’s suite during the fourth quarter and
received a loud ovation.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the football team because Chuck was here, and
the goal was to make him smile when he left,” Arians said. “And I’m sure
he’s up there (in Irsay’s suite) smiling.”
Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson traded back into the
- Indianapolis Colts
Colts rookie camp over
Now that the Indianapolis Colts rookie camp has wrapped up, second-year head coach Chuck Pagano is now setting his sights on the team's organized team activities practices which are set to begin in two weeks.
Colts big spending done
With the possible exception of adding a few lesser priced players coming on board, the Indianapolis Colts' big-time foray into the veteran free agent marketplace is pretty much done.
Colts busy in free agency
After adding five veteran free agent players to the Indianapolis Colts roster on Tuesday, general manager Ryan Grigson plucked two more plums late Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.
Colts franchise McAfee
A week ago, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano said that it was a priority that the team retain the services of punter Pat McAfee.
Colts back and ready to go
Back and ready to go.
Colts find quick replacement for Telesco
It didn't take the Indianapolis Colts much time to find a replacement for former vice-president of football operations Tom Telesco, who was named as the San Diego Chargers' new general manager last week.
Colts officials announced Monday that former Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye had accepted an offer to take over Telesco's old position with the team.
With 2012 over, Colts move forward
Moving on. That's the immediate plans for the Indianapolis Colts as they head into the off season.
Indianapolis saw the 2012 season come to an end with a 24-9 AFC wild-card playoff loss to Baltimore Sunday.
Colts enjoy marvelous season
In the minutes after last Sunday’s win over AFC South champion Houston, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano marveled at how the 2012 season has progessed for his team.
A relatively new coaching staff and a re-tooled roster, a team that has been forced to rely on it’s rookie draft class for most of the year to carry most of the weight, and yet here are the Colts heading into the AFC playoffs with an 11-5 record.
Colts/Ravens Game Capsule
The game -- Indianapolis Colts (11-5, 342 AFC South) at Baltimore Ravens (10-6, 4-2 AFC North), 1 p.m. (ET), M&T Bank Stadium (FieldTurf), Baltimore, MD, AFC Wild-Card Game.
Coverage -- CBS Sports (Jim Nantz, Phil Sims); Colts Radio Network (Bob Lamey, Will Wolford, Kevin Lee); Sirius NFL Radio (Channel 88, Dial Global Radio; Channel 92, Colts; Channel 86, Ravens); XM NFL Radio (Channel 88, Dial Global Radio; Channel 225, Colts; Channel 226, Ravens); Dial Global Radio (Ian Eagles, Trent Green, Laura Okmin).
Banner year for rookie quarterbacks
It's been quite a year for rookie quarterbacks in the National Football League.
Three have led their respective teams in the NFL playoffs -- Indianapolis' Andrew Luck, Washington's Robert Griffin III and Seattle's Russell Wilson. Griffin's Redskins won the NFC East. Luck's Colts and Wilson's Seahawks finished a strong second in both of their divisions (AFC South and the NFC West).
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