AFC South: Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts are getting some help along the defensive line at just the right time.

Defensive lineman Art Jones, who has played in less than three games this season because of an ankle injury, will be back in the lineup Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“Nobody anticipated the ankle and the injury and those types of things and you don’t wish it on anybody and it is frustrating for everybody in this building, but he’s back out there and he has to go play and he has to go play well,” coach Chuck Pagano said.

Jones’ return comes after the New England Patriots rushed for 244 yards against the Colts last Sunday.

Jones has made his presence felt when he’s been on the field. The issue is he hasn’t been able to stay on the field long enough to have the type of impact the Colts envisioned when they signed him to a five-year, $33 million contract in March.

In the 104 snaps Jones has played this season, the Colts have not given up a rushing touchdown and they’ve allowed only five runs of at least 10 yards. The Colts have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns and 33 plays of at least 10 yards, including six to the Patriots, without Jones on the field.

In other injury news for the Colts on Wednesday:
  • Running back Trent Richardson didn’t practice because of an illness.
  • Cornerback Greg Toler has to go through the NFL’s concussion protocol before he can practice. He took a hit in the game against New England and showed up at the facility with a headache on Monday.
  • Tight end Dwayne Allen didn’t practice because of his injured ankle.
  • Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and receiver Reggie Wayne were given Wednesday off for rest days.
INDIANAPOLIS -- It was the perfect mix early in the season. The kind of mix the Indianapolis Colts had been waiting to have for more than a year.

Running backs Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw supplied enough on the ground to keep the defense honest and allow quarterback Andrew Luck to make plays with his arm.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Luck, Trent Richardson
Jonathan Moore/Getty ImagesThrough 11 weeks, Trent Richardson and the Colts rank 17th in rushing yards per game with 104.3.
First came the demotion of center A.Q. Shipley that still has yet to be explained. Then there were some injuries on the interior part of the offensive line. And to cap off what's been a very unimpressive past few weeks on the ground, the Colts lost Bradshaw for the season earlier this week because of a fractured fibula.

"It's like when Trent was out [against Pittsburgh] with the hammy, Ahmad was the guy then," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "The next man up filled that role. Trent and [Daniel "Boom" Herron] and whoever."

Richardson and Bradshaw have basically shared the workload this season, but if the Colts are going to use the same type of system they used against the Steelers on Oct. 26, that means Richardson will get the majority of the carries. Bradshaw played 48 of the 66 snaps against the Steelers, with Herron getting the other 18 snaps.

There's a good chance the Colts will add another running back to the active roster. LeGarrette Blount was released by Pittsburgh on Tuesday, and the Colts could also elevate Zurlon Tipton from the practice squad.

Something needs to be done with the running game because Indianapolis has not rushed for 100 yards in a game in its past three contests and in four of its past five. Not counting Luck's 15 yards rushing, Bradshaw and Richardson ran for an embarrassing four yards on 14 attempts against the New England Patriots last weekend.

The Colts were a cohesive group along the offensive line when Shipley started. They averaged 118 yards a game rushing in the four games he started. That average has drastically dropped since Jonotthan Harrison became the Colts' starting center. They're only averaging 95 yards a game rushing in the past five games. Guards Jack Mewhort and Hugh Thornton have both missed two games since Harrison became the starter.

Comparing opponents isn't a valid excuse because the Colts have always talked about having the ability to be successful no matter who's lined up on the other side of the line of scrimmage against them.

"It comes back to execution," Pagano said. "You never discount the opponent, you always give them credit, but again, you have to execute. We have a Jacksonville team that has a bunch of playmakers in their front seven. They have as good a [defensive line] as anybody.

"If you're not communicating and not on the same page, they're going to wreak havoc. You're going to have issues in your backfield. It's everybody being on the same page and doing their job."
INDIANAPOLIS – Will the second time be the charm for Marvin Harrison and Tony Dungy when it comes to getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Harrison, Dungy and Edgerrin James are among the 26 semifinalists for the Hall of Fame class of 2015. Former general manager Bill Polian was named as a contributor candidate earlier.

Harrison and Dungy missed out on being elected into the Hall of Fame's 2014 class earlier this year. Harrison had 1,102 receptions, 14,580 yards and 128 receiving touchdowns in his career. Dungy led the Colts to a Super Bowl victory over the Chicago Bears in 2006 and had a 92-33 record as coach of the team. James is the Colts’ career leader in rushing yards with 9,226.

The 26 Modern Era candidates will be cut to 15 and the Hall of Fame Class of 2015 will be announced Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona, site of Super Bowl XLIX.
INDIANAPOLIS -- A receiver/return specialist over a running back?

Cribbs
That’s probably the question many of you asked after hearing the news about the Indianapolis Colts signing former Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Cribbs.

The running back situation is impacted by the signing of Cribbs. Daniel “Boom” Herron, the Colts’ new No. 2 running back with Ahmad Bradshaw out with a fractured fibula, has returned kicks at times this season. The Colts can’t afford to put him back there now considering their lack at depth at running back.

Enter Cribbs.

Griff Whalen, the Colts’ primary return specialist on kicks and punts this season, has been far from impressive.

The Colts are 23rd in the league in punt return average at 7.2 yards per return.

Enter Cribbs, who worked out for the Colts last week.

Cribbs was with the Browns from 2005-12, and he returned 11 kicks -- eight kickoffs and three punts -- for touchdowns during his time there. He played six games with the New York Jets after being released by the Oakland Raiders in 2013.

The Film Don't Lie: Colts

November, 18, 2014
Nov 18
11:00
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A weekly look at what the Indianapolis Colts must fix:

The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t the New England Patriots, but they did rush for 105 yards against the Colts in the first meeting between the two teams on Sept. 21. And you can bet that the Jaguars will look to duplicate what the Patriots did to Indianapolis on Sunday night.

The Patriots had no problem running the ball down the Colts’ throats for 244 yards in their 42-20 victory.

Patriots running back Jonas Gray, who rushed for 199 yards and four touchdowns, was successful running toward his guard and tackle on each side. He gained 88 yards on 12 attempts rushing to the right. He had 14 attempts for 66 yards and a touchdown running to the left side. His other three touchdowns came up the middle where he gained 45 yards on 12 attempts.

“That’s tough, that’s tough, it’s hard to beat a team if you can’t stop the run,” safety Mike Adams said. “If you can’t stop the run, it opens up the pass and Tom Brady, like I said before, he was throwing dimes. We have to get better. We have to get better stopping the run. Not just our front seven, everybody. All 11 players, we got to swarm to the ball. We can’t let teams do that to us, we just can’t.”

The Colts’ goal of wanting to improve their run defense, which was 26th in the league last season, started when they signed defensive lineman Arthur Jones in the offseason. Jones has played less than three games because of an ongoing ankle injury.

Jones’ presence is definitely missed. They’ve yet to give up a rushing touchdown, and they’ve allowed only five runs of at least 10 yards when he’s been on the field. The Colts have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns and 33 plays, including six to the Patriots, of at least 10 yards without Jones on the field.
Here’s Tuesday’s Reading the Coverage:

Conrad Brunner of 1070thefan.com raises a question: With Ahmad Bradshaw out, should the Colts pursue former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice?

Stephen Holder of the Indy Star gives his “Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down” from the Colts’ loss to New England. Something tells me the defense is on the “Thumbs Down” list. It’s just a hunch.

Mike Chappell of RTV6.com says the Colts will miss running back Ahmad Bradshaw’s energy and passion. “To see a brother go down, especially a guy I’ve been around all day, every day, that’s tough. It’s real tough,” running back Trent Richardson said. “It’s heartbreaking to see a guy like that go down.Whenever he can get ready to come back, if he can do it this year or next year or whatever it is, it’s going to be open arms for him.”

Kevin Bowen of Colts.com highlights a few topics from Monday’s media session at the team’s facility. One of the areas Bowen touched on was receiver T.Y. Hilton being doubled teamed by the Patriots. “Obviously, we didn’t do a good enough job of getting points on the board and they had a great plan, but I think a key to it is staying patient,” quarterback Andrew Luck. “We realize there’s a bunch of guys that can make plays. If you focus on one guy too much, then someone else is going to step up, and I thought some guys really did step up and play well.”

 
INDIANAPOLIS -- Not all the news is bad from a medical standpoint for the Indianapolis Colts. While running back Ahmad Bradshaw's season is in serious doubt because of a fractured fibula, tight end Dwayne Allen's ankle injury doesn't appear to be as severe as originally thought.

Allen
Allen's goal is to be in the lineup when the Colts host the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, but the low ankle sprain could end up keeping him out the lineup at least one game.

That's not too bad when it seemed like the injury was more severe.

"It shouldn't be anything too serious," Allen said. "So get some rehab, get some ice on it, see how it feels. I feel like I'm day-to-day."

Allen became injured when center Jonotthan Harrison accidentally landed on his teammate's ankle after Allen got pushed to the ground by New England's Rob Ninkovich in the second quarter of Sunday's loss to the Patriots.

"It comes with the game," Allen said. "We know every time we step on the field that there's a chance of us getting injured. You never want it to happen, but it happens. I embraced it. I love what I do, I love the game that I play and I'm going to continue to prepare and play the way that I play."

Fellow tight end Coby Fleener had seven catches for a career-high 144 yards against New England, but the Colts can't afford to be without Allen for an extended period of time because he's their most-versatile player at that position. Allen has 26 receptions for 374 yards and seven touchdowns this season.
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INDIANAPOLIS -- It's now or never for Trent Richardson.

It truly is.

No more of the Indianapolis Colts' running back needing to learn the playbook or get comfortable with the rest of the offensive unit.

Simply no more excuses.

With Ahmad Bradshaw's season in doubt because of a fractured fibula, the Colts' running game falls strictly on Richardson's broad shoulders. Bradshaw is getting further evaluations before he and the Colts decide what course of action to take next. Daniel "Boom" Herron will back up Richardson.

"It's tough," quarterback Andrew Luck said about the loss of Bradshaw. "A great teammate, a great player, but it's a part of football and we know no one is going to feel sorry for the Colts. We certainly don't feel sorry for ourselves. Unfortunate or not, it's a theme of football and we have to make it work."

Richardson will get the majority of the snaps in the backfield, so here's another opportunity for him to try to help general manager Ryan Grigson look better for trading for him in September 2013. So far, the trade has not paid off for the Colts. Richardson has yet to to rush for 100 yards in a game since being acquired.

[+] EnlargeTrent Richardson
Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY SportsTrent Richardson has rushed for an average of 3.4 yards per carry this season, but he'll need to step it up in the wake of Ahmad Bradshaw's recent injury.
If Sunday's performance against the New England Patriots was any indication, there's every reason to be worried on whether Richardson is capable of being the Colts' workhorse in the backfield. He had seven rush attempts and finished with zero, yes, zero yards.

"It's going to be what it is," Richardson said after the game. "Will it be bigger shoes for me to fill? Of course. I have to make sure I step up and do what I have to do."

The Colts once had a balanced attack on offense, but things have changed in recent weeks. They rushed for a season-low 19 yards on 17 attempts against the Patriots and haven't had a 100-yard rushing game as a team since running for 171 against Cincinnati on Oct. 19.

"[The running backs and offensive line] all go hand in and hand and they all work together," coach Chuck Pagano said. "...The line has to do their jobs and the backs have to do their job. If everybody is not on the same page and everybody is not doing their job on a consistent basis ... it falls on everybody."

Richardson not only has to produce running the ball, but he also has to be a pass-catching running back. Bradshaw has 38 catches for 300 yards and six receiving touchdowns. Richardson has 22 receptions for 203 yards and no touchdowns.

Here's further proof of what the Colts will miss without Bradshaw. They've run 135 plays on third down this season, Bradshaw was on the field for 114 of those plays.

And Richardson?

Only nine plays.

"He's a warrior, he loves football," Pagano said about Bradshaw. "He loves his teammates. He loves the shoe. He loves competing. We're going to miss his energy, his passion, everything he brings to the table during the week, during preparation and certainly on game day. Hate to see it."

Now it's time for Richardson to be that warrior.
Colts defensive tackle Art Jones will miss his seventh game this season because of a high ankle sprain, coach Chuck Pagano said Friday.

Jones originally injured his ankle against Philadelphia in Week 2. He returned against Pittsburgh on Oct. 25 only to re-injure the same ankle. Ricky Jean Francois will continue to start in Jones’ place.

Right tackle Gosder Cherilus will play after his status was question earlier this week because he missed some practice time.

Colts vs. Patriots preview

November, 14, 2014
Nov 14
8:00
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video When: 8:30 p.m. ET Sunday Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis TV: NBC

INDIANAPOLIS – This isn’t simply about Andrew Luck vs. Tom Brady between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots.

Those two quarterbacks are definitely worth paying attention to, but playoff seeding in the AFC is the priority in the matchup between the two teams at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts need the victory to own the tiebreaker over the Patriots because it’s unlikely they’ll pass the Denver Broncos, who beat Indianapolis in Week 1. New England currently has a one-game lead over the Colts for the No. 2 seed, which gets you a bye in the first weekend of the playoffs.

ESPN.com Patriots reporter Mike Reiss and ESPN.com Colts reporter Mike Wells preview the game.

Wells: Mike, you’ve covered Bill Belichick for a long time. You’ve watched as he’s gotten the upper hand on some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The Colts watched it with Peyton Manning early in his career and they’re watching it again with Luck (seven interceptions in two games vs. New England). What is it about Belichick’s style that makes it so tough on opposing young quarterbacks?

Reiss: Mike, I wouldn’t necessarily say Belichick always has the upper hand, as we could look at some games this year in which more inexperienced quarterbacks such as Oakland’s Derek Carr and the New York Jets’ Geno Smith had notable success. But one of the things I think Belichick’s defenses generally do well is take away the one or two things an offense wants to do, and make the opposition go to something else. In essence, his defenses take offenses out of their comfort zone. The other thing that stands out is the role turnovers play. The Patriots are traditionally one of the NFL’s leaders in turnover differential, and they currently rank tied for first at plus-12 (18 takeaways, 6 giveaways). As cornerback Darrelle Revis said earlier this year, the Patriots are at their best when playing physical and creating turnovers.

What have you noticed from Luck that is different this season compared to the previous two?

Wells: It’s no secret that Luck is an underrated runner. You were there when Brady talked about it during his news conference with the media earlier this week. I think Luck’s biggest growth this season has been his ability to not be predictable. It would be easy for him to constantly look for T.Y. Hilton, his big-play receiver, or Reggie Wayne, his security blanket in the time of need, but Luck is not doing that. He’s avoiding zeroing in on one or two targets when he’s in the pocket. The playmakers around him have made it possible for him to be able to spread the ball around. He’s completed passes to at least seven players in all nine games this season. He’s completed passes to nine players three times. I think that will help Luck against Belichick, the master of disguising his defense, on Sunday.

Colts fans don’t like to hear this, but I believe there’s no quarterback in the NFL, Peyton Manning included, who does a better job of getting the most out of his receivers and tight ends than Brady. Brady puts up numbers and wins every year even when you have to Google to see who some of his targets are. Is it Brady or the offensive system in New England that makes it happen?

Reiss: If I had to pick one, it would be Brady because I don’t think you can just put another quarterback in this system and expect the same results. He’s special in so many ways. At the same time, the system is part of it, too. It’s a “game plan” approach that morphs into something new on a week-to-week basis based on the perceived weaknesses of the opposition. Combine the fact that you have a Hall of Famer running the offense who has been in the same system for his entire 15-year career and it’s a pretty powerful force. Brady’s accuracy and decision-making are as sharp as ever and he’s been extending plays more in recent weeks by using his feet to buy more time. It’s been impressive to watch.

What do the Patriots have to be concerned about most when it comes to the Colts’ defense?

Wells: That’s a tricky question, Mike. The Colts have 23 sacks this season against quarterbacks not named Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger. Like any team in the league, the Colts are at their best when they’re able to get pressure on the quarterback. Roethlisberger picked them apart for 522 yards and six touchdowns last month. Brady will have similar success if Indianapolis defensive coordinator Greg Manusky isn’t able to put together a scheme that makes Brady uncomfortable in the pocket. Linebacker Robert Mathis supplied the majority of the pressure on the quarterback in the past. He’s out for the season with the torn Achilles, so Manusky has put together a package that allows a number of players to “eat,” as the Colts call their blitzes. You might see nickelback Darius Butler on one player. Mike Adams might come in from the safety position. The linebackers will also rush. The goal is to not be predictable with their blitz packages. It’s worked so far this season, as the Colts are tied for 10th in the league in sacks with 24.

Brandon Browner was in Seattle last season when Hilton (five catches, 140 yards and two TDs) went off against him and Richard Sherman in the Colts’ victory. How do the Patriots plan to slow down one of the NFL's most talented young receivers?

Reiss: The Patriots have been solid this year when it comes to protecting against the big play. Hilton, of course, is a big play waiting to happen. I’m anticipating the Patriots playing most of the game in their sub packages, which they’ve been in 67 percent of the time this season, and that ties in to how I’d envision they attempt to slow him down -- plenty of safety help over the top and physical play at the line of scrimmage. This is why safety Devin McCourty is a key player for the Patriots. A converted cornerback, he has very good range, is a solid tackler and plays a big part in limiting the big strike.

What should Patriots followers know about former New England Patriots players (kicker Adam Vinatieri, cornerback Darius Butler, safety Sergio Brown, injured guard Donald Thomas) and their roles and futures with the Colts, as well as the Boston College bookends on the offensive line, left tackle Anthony Castonzo and right tackle Gosder Cherilus?

Wells: Belichick hit it on the head about Vinatieri when he said he doesn’t see an end in sight for the ageless kicker. Vinatieri’s backing it up, as he’s currently on a streak of 26 consecutive made field goals. I know some people might not think much of nickelbacks, but Butler is very valuable to the Colts’ defense. He's so valuable that they keep him on the slot receiver even if starting cornerbacks Vontae Davis or Greg Toler go down with an injury. Butler missed two games earlier this season because of an ankle injury and there was a significant drop-off between him and Josh Gordy, the team’s fourth cornerback. Brown has proved over the past five games that he’s more than just a special-teams player. He stepped into the starting lineup after LaRon Landry was suspended four games for using performance-enhancing drugs. Many thought that would be a short-term situation until Landry returned. Landry is back, but Brown will be starting alongside veteran Mike Adams at safety on Sunday. Castonzo will continue to protect Luck’s blind side for the next 10 years. The interior part of the Colts’ line was supposed to be the weak link this season, but Cherilus has struggled, too. He’s been dealing with an assortment of injuries, including a groin injury that kept him out of practice some this week.
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INDIANAPOLIS – How the Indianapolis Colts do offensively against the New England Patriots – or any week, for that matter – will come down to how well quarterback Andrew Luck and the rest of the unit execute the game plan.

But there’s another person who is almost just as important to the offense. Coordinator Pep Hamilton has likely spent many hours in his office at the team’s facility and in his office at home watching video of the Patriots defense, trying to find flaws in it.

[+] EnlargeIndianapolis' Pep Hamilton
AP Photo/Paul JasienskiColts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton will try to find a way to outwit Bill Belichick, which is no easy task.
Hamilton has called the plays for the NFL’s best offense all season. Now he’s about to face his toughest test of the season outside of the Denver Broncos in Week 1.

“I’m just going to do my job and it just happens it’s one of the best teams in the National Football League with arguably the best head football coach in the history of the National Football League,” Hamilton said.

The Colts have said all week that they know they need to expect the unexpected when it comes to facing Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his defense because they make you play “left-handed” by taking something away from you offensively.

It’s up to Hamilton to make sure the Colts aren’t put in that position. They need to be the ones dictating how the game is played.

“It’s a game-plan defense, if you will,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “Just watching them against Denver, they do a great job of missing things up. They’re not going to give you the same thing over and over again. ... Right when you think you’ve got to the four guys identified as the four rushers, they bring different people and do a great job of hiding their fronts and coverages.”

This is Round 2 against the Patriots for Hamilton. His first go-around was a 43-22 loss in the AFC playoffs last season. New England made the Colts one-dimensional, something they want to avoid. Indianapolis gained 386 yards on offense, with 317 coming through the air because they were playing catch-up most of the game.

The Patriots might use a certain style of defense one week, but that doesn’t mean they’ll use it again the following week.

“It’s a 60-minute chess match,” Hamilton said. “They take away the guys that up until this point have made a lot of plays for us. We feel like we have a lot of guys that can make plays. So it’s a matter of us finding ways to get our playmakers open.”

The Patriots improved their defense in the offseason by getting cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis. But the Colts have gotten better, too, which is why they lead the NFL in several statistical categories.

Quarterback Andrew Luck won’t be throwing to Griff Whalen, Da'Rick Rogers and Griff Whalen on Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. He’ll have T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks at receiver. Tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. And running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson.

Wayne, Nicks, Allen and Bradshaw either weren’t on the roster or were injured for that playoff game last season.

“I have to do a better job making sure that I find ways to get guys open for [Luck] in the passing game and we hope with Reggie available and Dwayne Allen and having Ahmad along with T.Y. and Hakeem and guys that we have at the quarterback’s disposal that he’ll be able to find a matchup that will be in our favor,” Hamilton said.
INDIANAPOLIS -- What does a four-year, $24 million contract get you these days?

Landry
For Indianapolis Colts demoted safety LaRon Landry it gets him a spot on special teams. He spent time working with the special teams unit in practice Wednesday. That's a significant fall for a player who the Colts signed in 2013 and thought would be their long-term solution at safety.

Landry was suspended for four games this season for using performance-enhancing drugs. The Colts placed him on the exempt/commissioner permission list for a week once he returned from his suspension on Oct. 27.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano announced earlier this week that even after more than two weeks of practice that Sergio Brown would continue to start over Landry.

"(We) want him to be the best LaRon Landry that he can be moving forward,” Pagano said Monday. “We'll get him back in the mix and see where we go from there.”

This isn't the first time the Colts have moved a former starter to special teams. Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who had a case of the drops last season, spent the final part of last season on special teams. Heyward-Bey actually embraced the role and did well downing punts deep in the opponents' end of the field.

Now we'll find out if Landry will embrace it as well.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts, on their bye this week, has the best offense in the NFL by several maeasurements.

The Colts lead the league in first downs with 235. The New Orleans Saints are second with 217.

Indianapolis has picked up 161 first downs through the air, 51 rushing and 23 by way of penalty.

Here’s a breakdown of quarterback Andrew Luck ’s top targets when it comes to getting a first down through the air:
Allen definitely knows how to take advantage of the opportunities when they come up. He’s fourth on the Colts in receptions with 26, but as you can see from above, 22 of those receptions have led to first downs or touchdowns. The same can be said about Hilton. Only 12 of his catches, for 65 yards, have not picked up a first down or touchdown.

Here’s a breakdown of how the Colts have picked up first downs on the ground:
  • Bradshaw: 18 attempts, 213 yards, 2 TD
  • Trent Richardson: 18 attempts, 156 yards, 2 TD
  • Luck: 12 attempts, 105 yards, 2 TD
  • Daniel Herron: 5 attempts, 39 yards

Coach Chuck Pagano recently talked about how they have been working on Luck’s sliding skills for three years. When Luck tucks the ball and runs, odds are good that he’s going to pick up a first down. He’s gained 105 yards on plays he’s rushed for a first down or touchdown. He’s only rushed for 129 yards this season.

 

 
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts had become ineffective on offense for a portion of the first half in Monday’s game against the New York Giants. They had back-to-back offensive series where they ran eight plays for a total of 17 yards.

Things changed in the second quarter.

First came the 21-yard completion from quarterback Andrew Luck to tight end Coby Fleener. Then came the play where they hurried to the line of scrimmage and snapped the ball before the play could be stopped. Luck connected with Fleener again, this time for a 32-yard touchdown pass.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin threw the red challenge flag onto the field, but he did it too late, as the Colts had already snapped the ball. Coughlin (don't laugh) couldn't pull the flag out of his sock in time.

“I think Gosder [Cherilus] and T.Y. [Hilton] both sort of motioned, you know, “hey, hurry up, let’s get it going”, and Pep [Hamilton] called it in, too, just to make sure we get a play off and get it run and, you know, luckily it turned out to be a touchdown, too,” Luck said.

Challenging the play would have cost the Giants a timeout because replays showed that Fleener was down before he fumbled.

Getting a play off in time before the opponent can challenge it isn’t an easy task. The last thing Luck wants is to have the unit scramble to the line of scrimmage only to get called for a false start.

“There’s things we practice for that situation and other situations and it’s not easy, but you do it in practice, it becomes easier,” Luck said. .
Not counting the series right before the end of the first half where they let the clock run out after Luck was sacked, the Colts scored on six of their seven possessions after the Fleener touchdown reception.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It was one of those moments that was talked about as it was happening, shortly after it ended and inside the locker room after the Indianapolis Colts' 40-24 victory over the New York Giants.

Veteran Reggie Wayne, the player who continues to put in the time to do everything he can to lead the Colts and also play on the field every week, stood along the sideline with tears slowly coming down his face as the national anthem was being played and a gigantic United States flag was on the field at MetLife Stadium.

Bush
Wayne
Wayne couldn't stop the tears because he didn't want them to stop. As much as he doesn't like to talk about it, Wayne knows his career, one where he'll likely end up in the Hall of Fame, is coming to an end sooner or later.

That's why he let the emotions get the best of him and he embraced each second of that moment as the national anthem was being played.

"It finally caught me," Wayne said. "I've kind of hid it other games. I'm truly blessed, 14 years and still here, playing a kids game. I've dreamed of playing in the NFL since I was 7 years old and I'm still playing. It's a prime-time game, the bright lights, great teammates, great coaching staff and great organization. It couldn't get any better than this. Each game it hits me. You never know when it's going to be your last one. Your life expectancy is 3 1/2 years. Fourteen years for me. I've done beat that. I'm just blessed to be out there each game giving everything you've got. I just want to lay it on the field."

Wayne played in all 16 games in 11 of his first 12 seasons, but injuries have impacted him the past two seasons. He tore his ACL in Week 7 of the 2013 season and then he missed the Oct. 26 game at Pittsburgh with an elbow injury.

"I've been fighting some injuries and I've been busting my hump to get out there," Wayne said. "Just being able to defeat some odds, whatever those odds were, to be out there with my teammates. You get emotional. An old wise guy told me you shouldn't hold back your tears; if you have tears coming let them out. Tonight was the night with the tears."

Wayne showed he still has something left in his 35-year-old legs when he caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andrew Luck in the third quarter Monday.

"Sometimes you have to floor it and see how much juice you have left," Wayne said. " It was an opportunity for me to make a play. T.Y. [Hilton] gave me some help with a big block. The rest was just like a dog was chasing me."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano joked, "He looked like he had feet like a shore bird running down the sideline. It was awesome. There are so many guys with what he's got and what he's dealing with, there's no way they could do it, especially at his age."

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