By Will Willems
There has been a lot of talk in the past week about some of the Colts’ youngsters hitting the proverbial “rookie wall.”
December is usually the time where a lot of rookies are wearing down because they have never played that much in a season.
But for one Colts’ rookie, he seems to just be getting stronger.
T.Y. Hilton continued his strong play during the last month, becoming the first Colt in franchise history with a punt return and receiving touchdown in the same game.
After recording 18 catches in the first seven games, Hilton has 15 in the last four, for 235 yards and four of his five touchdowns.
“T.Y. just keeps getting better every day,” Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said. “You can see it, he plays confident; he plays fast and that goes for all the young guys. They’re playing fast and when so much attention is attracted to Reggie (Wayne) [they are getting chances]. T.Y. is starting to strive on that. He watches Reggie, watches how he operates and realizes that ‘hey, there’s a good chance I’m getting the ball on this play because of how productive Reggie is.’”
Hilton said that the game has been “slowing down” for him.
“I just keep studying,” Hilton said. “I have to know my opponent better than he knows me. I am ready for whatever is ahead of us.”
Hilton said that he and Luck continue to get more comfortable with one another.
“It is growing every week,” Hilton said of his relationship with quarterback Andrew Luck. “We are working a lot in practice, doing some one-on-one stuff. We are still young, growing together and you can see it on the field.”
Hilton had an 18-yard catch on third-and-11 to keep the Colts’ opening drive alive, but his first really big play came later in the quarter.
After the Indianapolis defense held Buffalo to a three-and-out on its first possession, Hilton fielded the ensuing punt at his 25, took a few steps to his right then cut up field, making a couple of defenders miss on his way to the score.
“I talked to coach before the game and he just told me to ‘stretch and cut,’” Hilton said. “I was able to stretch it out and keep the defenders off and then my blockers did a great job in front of me. I made a couple of guys miss and took it to the house.”
It was the Colts’ first punt return for a touchdown since T.J. Rushing did it Dec. 16, 2007.
For more of this story, read Tuesday's Lebanon Reporter.