Today’s Colts Notebook contains quotes and information courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts Public Relations Department.
Reggie! Reggie! Reggie! Milestones for Reggie Wayne
Yesterday, the Colts took care of business against the Buffalo Bills, 20-13. It was a great day for the defense, a win for the special teams, and a shaky but successful day for the offense, who converted 8 of 16 third downs. A big part of that success was Reggie Wayne, who, as you may know, broke a record and moved up on some career lists in the process.
With eight catches for 102 yards, Wayne moves past retired 16-year veteran receiver Art Monk (940) and Derrick Mason (943) for 11th all-time with 946. He needs just eight more catches to tie former Bills receiving great Andre Reed for 10th place in NFL history. Wayne is now 14th all time in NFL receiving yards with 12,813, moving past both Irving Fryer and Monk.
He also broke Chris Carter’s record (58) for the most consecutive games with multiple (at least three) receptions with his 59th in a row. Wayne now has 84 receptions for 1105 yards and three touchdowns in a season in which he turned 34 years old and is the primary target of a rookie quarterback.
Reggie’s perspective on his record and milestones is exactly the professional attitude to which fans have become accustomed throughout the likeable receiver’s career. “Right now,” said Wayne, “it doesn’t even matter. I’m trying my best just to win games. That’s what I want to do. I want to win games. Everything else will come.
“You win games; everything else will take its course. At the same time, whenever you play 12 years, you’re bound to do something. There’s something coming. I’m happy to just still be playing and playing with a good group of guys.”
Asked about how he is putting up such impressive numbers this late in his career, Wayne added, “That’s what I want to do. It’s hard to do in this league, and everybody’s good. Whenever you go out and, keep being consistent, that’s big. I want to be available whenever my number is called.”
Winning the Special Teams Battle and a Big Day from Hilton
The Colts’ rookie receiver TY Hilton also managed to have a remarkable day, scoring on a 75-yard punt return and an 8-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Luck. It had been about a month shy of five years since the Colts last had a touchdown on a punt return (TJ Rushing against the Patriots, December 16th, 2007), and Hilton’s, it can be argued, could not have come at a better time.
The Colts offense was unable to get into the end zone until an 87-yard drive culminated in Hilton’s late 3rd quarter touchdown catch. That blazing fast return touchdown provided the lead that Indianapolis was able to protect throughout the game.
“It was about time, right on time, and made a big difference in the game,” Hilton said of the return. “Just stretch-and-cut. I was able to stretch-and-cut and the guys were able to block. We needed it. Coach told me just make plays. Be smart back there and just have fun. That’s what it’s all about. Have fun and get your teammates involved.”
Overall, the special teams, though they had a couple miscues and penalties on returns, came through in impressive fashion against one of the best special teams units in the NFL. McAfee kicked off and punted well, Vinatieri hit his field goals, and the coverage units downed punts and bottled up some of the best returners in football.
“Pat (McAfee) did a great job of kicking the football where it needed to be, especially the last one after the re-kick,” Interim Coach Bruce Arians said, referring to the strong special teams play. “We had a great job and we tried to go out and hustle off and we had a guy and they had a guy, both teams had 12 on the field and then the next kick was the perfect kick, pinned him right on the sidelines out of bounds. He’s capable of letting, especially when we have the roof closed.”
A Few More Good Quotes
The Colts made Buffalo’s proficient screen game a defensive priority and managed to all but shut it down on Sunday. Asked about how much emphasis they put on defending screen passes, Arians said, “Oh gosh, a ton. We put a bunch of emphasis with the officials on the linemen being downfield. They’re a great screen team, the one got us down there in the red zone was a well-executed one. I still think the guard was downfield but that doesn’t matter, that’s not the officials fault.”
Safety Antoine Bethea on Jerrell Freeman, who had 16 tackles, a sack, a quarterback hit, and 3 tackles for a loss on the day: “He’s a hell of a player,” said Bethea. “We joke around with him calling him ‘Baby Ray’ but he’s sideline-to-sideline making plays, picks, sacks, whatever. Jerrell has had a great year this year.”
Jerrell Freeman on his impressive production: “It felt like I was in a position to make a play. I definitely had a lot of help. If you pan your cameras over there (pointing to his fellow defenders) the d-line helped me a lot. They were phenomenal.”
Freeman again, on his journey from UDFA camp cut, to the CFL, and back to the NFL: “It says that I’m just able to work, work hard. Like I said, I have a good team around me, a good d-line that allows me to use my speed sideline-to-sideline. My journey has been long but I’m here now and willing to do whatever it takes to stay on that field.”
Bills Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, on the Colts’ defense and relentless pass rush: “(Robert) Mathis and (Dwight) Freeney are well known, obviously, especially at home for creating some havoc. They did a really nice job. There were times where 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 good job today.”
Outside Linebacker Robert Mathis, on his big third down quarterback sack: “I’d like to thank the crowd for that. They were loud and I was able to get a good jump. I give that to the credit of the crowd noise.”
Robert Mathis again, on where the team stands compared to where the experts thought they would be: “I guess that’s why you call them experts. We were picked to finish 1-15 and now sitting at 7-4.”
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