NFL Nation: Matt Overton
RUNNING BACKS (4)
The Colts will have a solid running combination if -- and we’re saying if until proven wrong -- Richardson can bounce back from a poor first season in Indianapolis and Bradshaw and Ballard can stay injury-free. Havili, a fullback, gets the edge over Mario Harvey, who switched from linebacker to fullback during offseason workouts.
The final receiver spot will come down to Rogers and Griff Whalen. If the Colts want to play it safe, Whalen is the guy because he’s familiar with Luck and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, but Rogers has the size and speed the team likes. There’s also the possibility of the Colts keeping six receivers.
TIGHT ENDS (4)
Allen, who missed all but one game in 2013, and Fleener have the potential to be one of the top tight end duos in the league. Doyle and Saunders are both familiar with the system after backing up Fleener in Allen’s absence last season.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)
- Khaled Holmes
- Hugh Thornton
- Jack Mewhort
- Anthony Castonzo
- Gosder Cherilus
- Donald Thomas
- Joe Reitz
- Lance Louis
- Xavier Nixon
There are plenty of questions surrounding the offensive line outside of tackles Castonzo and Cherilus. The one thing general manager Ryan Grigson wanted with this group is depth. The Colts have plenty of it.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)
Like the offensive line, the Colts want depth on the defensive line so they can constantly rotate in players, so come the fourth quarter they still have fresh legs to get after the opponent. Jones was the key offseason acquisition for the Colts. Chapman showed flashes last season; now he needs to do it every snap that he’s on the field.
- Robert Mathis
- Erik Walden
- D'Qwell Jackson
- Jerrell Freeman
- Bjoern Werner
- Andrew Jackson
- Jonathan Newsome
- Daniel Adongo
- Henoc Muamba
- Josh McNary
All eyes will be on outside linebacker as the Colts look to find a replacement for Mathis, who is suspended for the first four games of the season. Werner gets the first crack at starting in Mathis’ spot. McNary is a player for whom Grigson has high expectations. It’ll be up to defensive coordinator Greg Manusky on how he uses McNary.
DEFENSIVE BACKS (10)
- Greg Toler
- Vontae Davis
- Darius Butler
- LaRon Landry
- Delano Howell
- Mike Adams
- Sergio Brown
- Josh Gordy
- Colt Anderson
- Loucheiz Purifoy
It’s anybody’s guess how the secondary will perform. It’s anybody’s guess who will start alongside Landry at safety. It looked like it would be Howell for most of the offseason, but the Colts signed the veteran Adams in June. Can Toler finally remain healthy? Can Davis live up to his contract? So many questions with no answers at the moment.
This only changes if an injury occurs.
Mathis' team, Team Jerry Rice, beat Luck's team, Team Deion Sanders, 22-21 in Honolulu.
Luck was the No. 1 overall pick in the Pro Bowl draft and started at quarterback over Carolina's Cam Newton, who had more votes than him. But it's understandable that Luck started since he was playing for his head coach.
Luck was 5-of-7 for 80 yards, a touchdown and an interception. His lone touchdown pass came on a flea flicker play where Kansas City's Jamaal Charles tossed the ball back to Luck, who launched a pass to Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson that looked like it would be intercepted . Jackson went up into double coverage and hauled the pass in.
Luck's interception happened when St. Louis' Robert Quinn tipped his pass and Cincinnati's Vontaze Burfict picked it off. It's a good thing Luck won't have to see Quinn anytime soon again. Quinn sacked the Colts' quarterback twice during the regular-season meeting that St. Louis won 38-8.
The NFL did away with the traditional AFC-NFC Pro Bowl teams in favor of a draft. That meant there would be opportunities for teammates during the regular season to go against each other on Sunday.
Mathis didn't get an opportunity to sack Luck. Mathis, who led the league in sacks with 19.5, finished with four tackles.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and linebacker Robert Mathis will see a bunch of familiar faces when they play for Chuck Pagano and the rest of the coaching staff as part of Team Deion Sanders in the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.
Overton, the team’s long snapper, will play for Team Jerry Rice.
Luck is used to being the top player chosen in a draft. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft and he was the No. 1 overall pick in Day 2 of the Pro Bowl draft over players like Carolina’s Cam Newton and San Diego’s Philip Rivers. This is the first year that the Pro Bowl did away with the traditional AFC-NFC teams, instead choosing to have a draft.
Having Luck and Mathis on the same team means the NFL’s sack leader doesn’t have to worry about being in the awkward position of sacking his teammate.
Luck will have plenty of offensive weapons to turn to, as he has Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles to hand the ball off to and pass to and Cincinnati's A.J. Green and Dallas' Dez Bryant at receiver.
Luck was 12-of-19 for 205 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in his first Pro Bowl last year. Mathis, voted to six straight Pro Bowls, had five tackles and a sack in last year’s game.
If NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has his way, Overton won’t have to be worry about snapping on extra points anymore. Goodell told NFL Network that the competition committee may consider getting rid of extra points because of such high success rate.
Overton, who is in Hawaii to play in the Pro Bowl this week, went to Twitter to give his opinion over the possibility of having extra points taken away.
“From a specialist standpoint I’d rather see the extra point remain in the game simply because it’s a traditional part of a scoring drive,” Overton wrote.
This wasn't one these meetings where they gathered in a dark room to watch some more game film. It was more of a heart-to-heart talk between the quarterback coach, the veteran quarterback and the franchise player.
Christensen wanted to make sure Luck wasn't too amped up for his second career playoff game.
"Clyde compared it to the Indianapolis 500," Hasselbeck said. "Don't come out too fast and do something stupid early in the game that takes us out of the race. Ironically, we started well. Then things changed for a little bit."
The Colts looked like they were going to crash out early and have their season end in embarrassment at Lucas Oil Stadium. Luck, the kid who never gets rattled, lost some of his composure as the interceptions increased and the deficit grew.
Then he reverted back to the quarterback who all too often told his teammates not to think about losing because they wouldn't stop playing until the clock had all zeroes on it.
In what's become the norm for Luck during his young career, he shook off his three interceptions and did something that's happened only one other time in playoff history, leading the Colts back from a 28-point deficit to beat the Chiefs 45-44.
"He's a second-year guy, so technically he's still a kid in the league, but he plays like a grown man," Colts linebacker Robert Mathis said. "As long as we have 12, we have a chance."
As crazy as it might sound, the fact Luck led the Colts to the come-from-behind victory isn't surprising. The Colts have won seven games in which they've trailed by double-digits in 34 games as Luck as their quarterback.
It's the 28-point deficit they came back from that's surprising. That's the second-largest comeback in playoff history. Luck finished 29-of-45 for 443 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
He capped off the comeback when he took a step up in the pocket and found receiver T.Y. Hilton streaking downfield for a 64-yard touchdown with less than five minutes left in the game.
"He kept telling us, even at 38-10, 'We're going to win this game,'" offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo said.
Luck has never been one to show much emotion when things go wrong during the game. But there he was, slapping both hands on the ground as he lay there after one of his interceptions and slapping his hands together as he ran off the field after throwing his third interception.
That's how bad things were going for the Colts and their franchise player. They looked like they were on their way to another one-and-done in the playoffs.
"Yeah, I was disappointed in myself, angry," Luck said. "Really felt like I was letting the team down, especially after I think we got a little momentum on some of those, then I go up there and throw a pick and sort of set everything back. I was angry. You got to flush it. You got to forget about it."
You would have never known Luck made those mistakes when he told his teammates to stay calm because they still had a chance to win the game, despite the large deficit.
As crazy as it sounds, it was all about patience despite the 28-point hole.
"He's not giving you a bunch of bulls--- when he says that stuff," Castonzo said. "At no point does he not believe we're not going to win. He's led us on a lot of comebacks for a reason. The guy does not freak out."
There was some luck involved in this comeback. After running back Donald Brown fumbled, the ball bounced off of center Samson Satele's helmet, Luck picked it up and ran in from 5 yards out.
"I sort of set Donald up for failure a little bit there," Luck said. "It was a loaded box and I called a run. I was hoping Donald would do one [of] his amazing plays like he'd been doing all game. It didn't happen. Sort of saw the ball there and I think you revert back to playground whatever. Pick it up and try to score."
That was the indication that it was meant to be on this night for Luck and the Colts.
"Andrew kept saying, 'Stay with me, stay with me,'" Colts tackle Gosder Cherilus said. "He willed us to this win."
Or as long snapper Matt Overton put it, "An ESPN Instant Classic."
Finding a rhythm: Running back Trent Richardson had a brutal first half -- and that’s being polite -- when he ran for 2 yards on six carries. But things changed for him in the second half when he averaged 5.4 yards on his 12 carries. You had a feeling Richardson would have a better second half when he took off for 16 yards, his longest run of the season, on his first carry. His best run came when he went off the left tackle for a 10-yard gain on third-and-5 to keep a drive alive in the fourth quarter. Adam Vinatieri later made a 49-yard field goal to put the Colts up 34-28. Richardson is still working to find a rhythm, with his play in the second half being a step in the right direction. “Everything is starting to slow down for me,” he said. “At first, you know it was pretty fast, trying to learn. Now I’ve played three games. With that, I’m still a professional, so at the same time I got to be on my P’s and Q’s. I've got to know what’s going on.”
Special teams were special: It was a rough start on special teams. The normally reliable Pat McAfee shanked his first punt -- 34 yards -- giving the Seahawks the ball near midfield. Then the Seahawks overloaded the middle and ran a pick-and-roll (excuse the basketball terminology) on snapper Matt Overton, allowing Jermaine Kearse to block McAfee’s punt. Jeron Johnson couldn’t gather the ball before it went out of the back of the end zone, giving Seattle a safety. The Colts countered the Seahawks’ blocked punt when defensive lineman Lawrence Guy blocked Steven Hauschka’s 48-yard field goal attempt. Safety Delano Howell picked up the loose ball and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown, barely outrunning Seattle holder Jon Ryan. “He was kind of quick,” Howell said. “I wasn’t expecting that. Respect to him. I heard he was a wide receiver at one point.” Sunday marked the fourth time in team history that the Colts have returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown.
Most significant move: I didn’t expect they were doing anything with Dwight Freeney, but his $19 million salary had stirred up a new round of rumors that the Colts could let him go. He’s on the team, and there were no real cuts of note aside from the team’s most senior player, long-snapper Justin Snow. It’s not as if they were so deep there was no room, but the Colts held on to several players who weren’t drafted -- tight end Dominique Jones, offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe, linebackers Mario Addison and Mario Harvey and long-snapper Matt Overton.
Onward and upward: The Colts kept both Drew Stanton and rookie Chandler Harnish as backups to Andrew Luck. I understand that Stanton’s been with the Colts through Bruce Arians' installation and there is value in that. But last season showed the value of a decent backup quarterback. If Luck gets hurt and the Colts need an alternative, I suspect there are some guys who just became available who qualify as more talented. General manager Ryan Grigson should have insight into one of them, Mike Kafka, who was released by Philadelphia. Grigson was hired by the Colts from the Eagles personnel department.
What’s next: Every player who is not a vested veteran is subject to waivers. And as the worst team in the NFL last season, the Colts still retain the first pick in the waiver order. That means they will get anyone they claim, so long as the claim comes with a corresponding roster move. That means guys who are feeling good tonight might still be in position to turn in their playbooks Saturday, or in the days to follow. Grigson could do a lot of work to upgrade the last five spots on his roster. Or more. I’d expect some turnover on the offensive line, in the secondary and perhaps at linebacker and quarterback.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Longtime Cardinals snapper Nathan Hodel has landed with the Patriots not long after Arizona released him. New England announced the signing Tuesday.
We've seen veteran snappers hit the market regularly this offseason. The Broncos released Mike Leach and signed the Patriots' snapper, Lonie Paxton, as an unrestricted free agent. The Texans' Bryan Pittman also hit the unrestricted market.
Snappers are expendable until you can't replace one. The Seahawks have employed Thomas Gafford, Jared Retkofsky, Derek Rackley, Boone Stutz, Tim Lindsey, Jeff Robinson, Ryan Senser and Schmitt since watching J.P. Darche leave after the 2006 season. They have also brought in Pittman, Mike Schneck, Matt Overton and Joe Maese for tryouts.
Releasing Hodel spared the Cardinals from paying a $200,000 roster bonus this offseason. Hodel has snapped in every game for Arizona since 2002.
Final San Diego 22 Buffalo 10 Final Dallas 34 St. Louis 31 Final Washington 34 Philadelphia 37 Final Houston 17 New York 30 Final Minnesota 9 New Orleans 20 Final Tennessee 7 Cincinnati 33 Final Baltimore 23 Cleveland 21 Final Green Bay 7 Detroit 19 Final Indianapolis 44 Jacksonville 17 Final Oakland 9 New England 16 Final San Francisco 14 Arizona 23 Final/OT Denver 20 Seattle 26 Final Kansas City 34 Miami 15 Final Pittsburgh 37 Carolina 19