Posted November 29, 2012 on
AP on Fox
(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) By MICHAEL MAROT AP Sports Writer As the NFL game slows down for him, T.Y. Hilton is playing faster. As opponents pay more attention to Reggie Wayne, he is emerging as a key contributor. And as the smallest player on the Colts' roster, Hilton is making a huge impact.
The 5-foot-9, 183-pound rookie couldn't dream of a better way to start a career.
''It's been a lot of fun,'' Hilton said Wednesday. ''I love changing games, bringing another dimension to the game. It's all fun.''
Hilton is no ordinary rookie and in no ordinary learning environment.
Interim coach Bruce Arians has a history of waiting patiently for new receivers to get acclimated to facing bigger, faster defenders before turning them loose and raising the expectations. See Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh.
Hilton also didn't come from a big school with a gaudy draft grade or the burden of living up to the reputation of other higher-profile receivers.
He was able to get a crash course in film study and practice habits from Pro Bowler Wayne, who spends his offseasons working out in Hilton's hometown of Miami. And with veterans such as Wayne and Donnie Avery already on board, Hilton didn't have to emerge as a go-to receiver immediately.
Instead, the fourth player selected in Indy's rookie class was able to blend in behind the first three picks - quarterback Andrew Luck and tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen - and learn things on his own timetable.
Now the Colts (7-4) are reaping the rewards.
''You can just tell that he's playing faster every week, more comfortable,'' Luck said. ''I'm glad to start seeing it pay dividends and hopefully he'll continue to play fast and continue to do decent things.''
In this rookie class, record-breaking chases have become the norm.
Luck is on pace to break the NFL's rookie single-season marks for pass attempts, completions and yardage. With a win Sunday in Detroit, Luck also would break Sam Bradford's rookie record for wins by a No. 1 overall pick (seven).
Allen is closing in on the franchise's rookie receptions record for tight ends.
Hilton, too, is making history. He already shares the Colts' rookie record for 100-yard games (three) with Andre Rison, and last weekend, Hilton became the first player in franchise history to catch a touchdown pass and score on a punt return in the same game.
The second-best rookie in Indianapolis was so impressive against Buffalo, he was named this week's AFC special teams player of the week.
''He's extremely explosive. I think I'll go back to the Louisville game (last year) where he just blew off the tape catching balls down the middle, catching short passes, making guys miss,'' Arians said. ''Punt returns, kick returns, you knew that in the open field, he was extremely dangerous, not just top end speed but elusiveness to go with it, and he had solid hands. More than all those things, he's got a great work ethic and humility about him. He's going to be a great pro.''
Despite being the 13th receiver taken in April's draft, only two rookie receivers have topped Hilton's numbers (33 receptions, 488 yards). And Buffalo coach Chan Gailey acknowledged that it was Hilton - not the usual suspects like Luck or Wayne- who changed last Sunday's game.
It may only be the start.
''Thanksgiving to Christmas is when you want your young wide receivers to step in and have a major role,'' Arians said. ''LaVon (Brazill) has started to increase his productivity. T.Y. has had more opportunities and, obviously, now is becoming a major factor in our offense but also as a punt returner. We always thought it was there, but you've just got to watch him grow.''
And Hilton intends to deliver on that promise.
''I still have a lot of room to grow,'' Hilton said. ''This is the turning point of the season, where rookies normally hit that rookie wall. But I'm feeling good and the game is slowing down for me right now.''
NOTES: The Colts have placed defensive tackles Josh Chapman and Fili Moala on season-ending injured reserve with knee injuries. Indy signed safety Delano Howell off of Buffalo's practice squad and defensive tackle Kellen Heard to take their spots on the active roster. ... Arians expects to get two starters - Fleener and cornerback Vontae Davis - back on the field Sunday at Detroit. Both have missed the last four games with injuries. ... Arians said earlier this week that he didn't expect Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to be suspended this week and when asked Wednesday whether he considered Suh a dirty player, Arians responded: ''No I don't think he's a dirty player. I'd love to have him on my team. I like the way he plays, he plays aggressive, hard and fast and physical and I don't think there's anything wrong. I think that's why they call it football.''
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The spotlight continues to shine brightly on T.Y. Hilton.
The Indianapolis Colts rookie receiver/return man has been named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his impactful game against the Buffalo Bills.
Hilton, a third-round draft pick, gave the Colts a 7-0 first-quarter lead by returning a punt 75 yards for a touchdown. It was the Colts first TD with a punt return...
The Indianapolis Colts have come to terms with DT Kellen Heard, per Mike Chappell.
The team placed Fili Moala on injured reserve earlier this afternoon and the move to sign Heard is likely a direct response to the former’s injury.
Heard appeared in 8 games with the Rams this season and is a hefty nose tackle at 339 lbs, measuring in at 6’6″. He figures to be a two-gap tackle...
Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians could face tampering charges from the NFL for stating that he'd love to have Lions star Ndamukong Suh on his team.
Colts rookie nose tackle Josh Chapman will have to wait until next season to make his long-awaited NFL debut.
Chapman tweeted today the Colts have placed the fifth-round pick on injured reserve to let his surgically repaired left knee heal.
Chapman tweeted late this morning: Injured Reserve For the rest of the season now its just time to get this knee to a 100% so its Beast...
Defensive tackle Fili Moala and nose tackle Josh Chapman officially had their 2012 seasons come to an end as the Indianapolis Colts placed both on injured reserve Tuesday. Defensive tackle Kellen Heard, who has played in 23 career NFL games, was signed. He appeared in eight games with the St. Louis Rams this season. Chapman was activated from...
As much as Bruce Arians is enjoying leading the Indianapolis Colts as the team's interim coach, he has made it clear exactly where his loyalties lie. Arians, who has led the Colts to a 7-4 record heading into Sunday's game at Detroit, continues to give all credit for the team's unexpected run of success this season to his boss, coach Chuck Pagano. Indianapolis was...
It probably wasn’t meant a recruiting pitch, but Bruce Arians of the Indianapolis Colts went a little too far while discussing the talents of Ndamukong Suh. Arians made comments about Suh that were in contrast to those made by Texans QB, Matt Schaub. Unlike Schaub, Arians doesn’t see Suh as a dirty player. He should [...]
The Indianapolis Colts have come to terms with DT Kellen Heard, per Mike Chappell.
The team placed Fili Moala on injured reserve earlier this afternoon and the move to sign Heard is likely a direct response to the formers injury.
Heard appeared in 8 games with the Rams this season and is a hefty nose tackle at 339 lbs, measuring in at 66″. He figures to be a two-gap tackle...
Rookie safety Delano Howell was signed to the Indianapolis Colts' active roster from the practice squad of the Buffalo Bills. Howell entered the league as an undrafted free agent from Stanford. He played in one game with the Bills and was waived, then re-signed, twice. Offensive guard Seth Olsen was cleared to return to practice, but remains on injured reserve. Olsen has...
Luck vs Stafford will undoubtedly provide entertainment
It’s no secret that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has been as good as advertised so far in 2012. He’s turned a 2-14 ball club into a playoff contender, and has done it in style.
Luck has thrown for 3,205 yards and 13 touchdowns in his rookie campaign, leading the Colts to a 7-4 record.
If the season ended...
Last week: 9 (-3)
Net points per drive: -0.4 (23rd)
DVOA: -22.0% (28th)
Weighted DVOA: -22.1% (27th)
Tier 4: Young teams that could make the playoffs, but won’t do much once they get there
LT Anthony Castonzo: Allowed 1 quarterback hurry on 47 pass block snaps, run blocked for 6 yards on 3 attempts
WR Reggie Wayne: Caught 8 passes for 102 yards on 14 attempts...
Colts interim coach Bruce Arians expects Chuck Pagano to take full control of the team when he returns -- even if that means making a coaching change in the playoffs.
"If he comes back, he'll be the head coach," Arians said when asked if Pagano would be making all of the game day decisions.
It's the most definitive answer the Colts (7-4) have given since Pagano...
Not much was expected of the Indianapolis Colts this season, but they're right in the AFC playoff hunt.
The Detroit Lions are well out of the NFC race after ending a lengthy postseason drought a year ago.
The Colts will go for their sixth victory in seven games on Sunday while the host Lions try to avoid a fourth straight loss.
While much was expected from No. 1 overall pick...
Indianapolis Colts (7-4) at Detroit Lions (4-7)
The Lions are in a bad spot and normally this is the type of team I like to stay away from. They are favorites after a loss as dogs and will next be dogs. Last week, they lost to the Texans and next week they have to go to Green Bay. That’s called a sandwich game. Teams tend to take it easy in the middle part of that 3 game stretch...
Former Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore has been hired by the Titans to assist with the teams offense the rest of the season.
Moore, who coordinated the Colts high-flying offense for 12 years, was at Baptist Sports Park on Thursday, and attended practice.
Munchak said Moore doesnt have a title, but hell work with the team the rest of the season.
Hell be a resource...