Friday, January 10, 2014
Hilton will be a focal point of New England
By Mike Wells
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton did something nobody in team history had been able to accomplish in the playoffs last weekend.
Hilton, all 5-foot-9 of him, caught 13 passes for a franchise playoff-record 224 yards in a 45-44 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
But with success comes the pressure to continue to play well as the focal point of the opposition.
T.Y. Hilton caught 13 passes for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns -- including the game winner -- against the Chiefs last week.
That's what Hilton will face when the Colts take on the New England Patriots on Saturday. Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Patriots coach Bill Belichick's ability to make teams use their other options is like making an opponent “play left-handed.”
“The main thing for me is just to stay focused and don't get frustrated,” Hilton said. “They're going to roll some coverages my way. Sometimes they might single me. Sometimes they may double me, or even have help over the top. But the main thing for me is just not to get frustrated. Just continue playing my game and don't worry about what they're doing. Just do what your team asks you to do and just don't try to do too much.”
Hilton had back-to-back games of at least 121 yards after receiver Reggie Wayne was lost for the season with a torn ACL, but then teams started taking him out of the game by double-teaming him and providing help over the top.
Hilton had four straight games in which he didn't have more than 46 receiving yards. Against the Cincinnati Bengals he only had 7 yards. The Colts can't afford to have that happen again.
Hilton had six catches for 100 yards against the Patriots in 2012.
“He's pretty dangerous on everything,” Belichick said. “He's caught long passes, intermediate passes, short catch-and-run plays. He's very quick, fast, explosive, good with the ball in his hands. Runs good routes. Hard guy to tackle. So he can beat you in a lot of different ways.”
It would be easy to assume that Patriots Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib will shadow Hilton around the field all game. But ESPN.com Patriots reporter Mike Reiss said don't be surprised if New England uses different defensive backs on Hilton.
“There's no way for us to know what their plan is until we kick the ball off,” Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. “We've said since Day 1, there's no can't-dos. Now is the time for us to let our hair down and let it all hang out. We're not saving plays. We're not saving any of our bullets, should I say.”
Hamilton did an exceptional job of moving Hilton around the field to make it difficult for the Chiefs to key in on him last weekend. He played out of the slot in 48 of his 57 snaps against the Chiefs, according to the Indianapolis Star.
“He's played all four spots,” Hamilton said. “We feel like that's important so that teams just can't kind of game plan and scheme to take him away and so we've challenged T.Y. early and often to understand the concepts and understand all four spots. He's done extremely well for himself. He's really helped our football team with big-play potential and the big plays that he has made over the course of the season. It was really exciting to watch T.Y. make a ton of big plays in last week's game and we hope that he'll continue to do so moving forward.”