Late Big Play Leads Colts to 26-22 Win Over Chargers

San Diego Chargers v Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck missed T.Y. Hilton on one critical play Sunday. The Colts quarterback didn’t make the same mistake again.

On his second chance, Luck threw a perfect strike to Hilton with 1:17 to play, and the Pro Bowl receiver spun out of a tackle and zig-zagged 63 yards down the field to give Indianapolis a 26-22 victory over San Diego.

Just 35 seconds earlier, Luck tried the same play with Hilton on fourth-and-7 but an off-target throw forced Hilton to spin around for an 8-yard catch on fourth-and-7. The next time, Luck got it right.

“It was the same sort of play and I kind of missed him,” Luck said, referring to the fourth-down throw. “So I came back to him and this time I hit him in stride.”

Hilton took care of the rest.

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Chargers at Colts NFL Week Three Inactives

Here’s today’s inactives for the Chargers and Colts

Chargers

Antonio Gates (TE)
Jahleel Addae (S)
Ryan Carrethers (DT)
Joey Bosa (DE)
Joshua Perry (LB)

Colts

Darius Butler (CB)
Patrick Robinson (CB)
Donte Moncrief (WR)
Devin Street (WR)
T.Y. McGill (DT)

Chargers vs Colts NFL Week 3 Capsule

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (1-1) AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (0-2)

SERIES

  CHARGERS COLTS
SERIES LEADER 16-9  
STREAKS 4 of past 5  
COACHES VS. OPP. Mike McCoy: 1-0 Chuck Pagano: 0-1
LAST WEEK W 38-14 vs. Jacksonville L 34-20 at Denver
LAST GAME 10/14/13: Colts 9 at Chargers 19. San Diego QB Philip Rivers throws for 237 yards & TD. Chargers WR Keenan Allen has 9 catches for 107 yards & TD.
LAST GAME AT SITE 11/28/10: Chargers 36, Colts 14. San Diego RB Mike Tolbert rushes for 103 yards & TD. Chargers S Eric Weddle and LB Kevin Burnett each record INT-TD.
REFEREE Ronald Torbert
BROADCAST CBS (4:25 PM ET) Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon. Westwood One: John Sadak, Ross Tucker. SIRIUS: 112 (SD), 81 (Ind). XM: 382 (SD), 225 (Ind).

STATS

PASSING Philip Rivers: 42-60-463-5 (T2L)-0-120.3 (3L) Andrew Luck: 52-87-582-5 (T2L)-1-94.1
RUSHING Melvin Gordon: 38-159-4.2-3 (T1L) Frank Gore: 27-103-3.8-0
RECEIVING Travis Benjamin: 13-147-11.3-2 T.Y. Hilton: 10-120-12.0-0
OFFENSE 372.5 351.5
TAKE/GIVE +3 -1
DEFENSE 400.5 424.0
SACKS Melvin Ingram: 2 Zach Kerr, Erik Walden: 1
INTs Casey Hayward: 2 (T1L) Darius Butler: 1
PUNTING Drew Kaser (R): 39.0 Pat McAfee: 52.6
KICKING Josh Lambo: 17 (8/8 PAT; 3/4 FG) Adam Vinatieri: 17 (5/5 PAT; 4/4 FG)

NOTES

CHARGERS: QB PHILIP RIVERS has won past 2 starts vs. Ind. & has 100.4 rating. Since 2008, has 35,222 pass yards, 2nd most in NFL. Has 5 TDs, 0 INTs & leads AFC with 120.3 rating…RB MELVIN GORDON ties for NFL lead with 3 rush TDs. Aims for 3rd in row with rush TD…TE ANTONIO GATES ranks 2nd in NFL history among TEs with 105 rec. TDs. Had TD catch last week & is 2nd TE in NFL history to record TD catch in 14 consecutive seasons. Is only TE in NFL history with 100+ rec. TDs with team. WR TRAVIS BENJAMIN had 6 catches for 115 yards & 2 TDs (45 & 6 yards) last week. Has 4 career 100-yard games & 3 games with 2+ rec. TDs. WR TYRELL WILLIAMS had 44-yard TD catch last week, his 2nd career TD catch…CB BRANDON FLOWERS (15) & LB MANTI TE’O (14) lead team in tackles. CB CASEY HAYWARD had 2 INTs last week. LB MELVIN INGRAM has 8.5 sacks & 2 FFs in past 7, incl. 2 sacks & FF last week…COLTS: QB ANDREW LUCK has 110.4 rating in past 2 at home, completing 52 of 83 (62.7 pct.) for 637 yards with 6 TDs vs. 0 INTs…RB FRANK GORE rushed for 158 yards & TD (52 yards) in last game vs. SD (12/20/14 with SF). Leads active players with 12,143 rush yards. Had TD catch in Week 2. RB ROBERT TURBIN had rush TD last week, his 1st with Ind…Since 2014, WR T.Y. HILTON is averaging 16.1 yards per catch, best mark in NFL (min. 150 catches). Has 5 rec. TDs in past 7 at home. 3 of past 7 catches at home for TE JACK DOYLE have resulted in TD…DE ROBERT MATHIS ranks 4th among active NFL players with 118 sacks. Is tied for 1st among active NFL players with 47 def. FFs. Has 4 sacks in past 4 vs. SD (incl. playoffs). LB ERIK WALDEN has 3 sacks in past 4 home games. DE KENDALL LANGFORD has sack in 4 of past 6 at home. S MIKE ADAMS has 7 INTs (1 TD) in past 14 at home. DT ZACH KERR had sack last week. CB DARIUS BUTLER had INT in Week 2…K ADAM VINATIERI is 3rd in NFL history with 507 FG.

Colts Fall Short in Denver Against Champion Broncos 34-20

Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos

When the Denver Broncos settled for another field goal and were clinging to a six-point lead over the Indianapolis Colts with 1:51 remaining, one thought went through Von Miller’s head.

“It’s time to close.”

And they did, thanks once again to Miller, who gave the Denver fans a reminder of his Super Bowl 50 MVP performance, sweeping in for the sack-strip of Andrew Luck that sealed the Broncos’ 34-20 win Sunday.

Miller burst past right tackle Joe Reitz and swiped the ball from Luck’s grasp. Fellow linebacker Shane Ray scooped it up and returned it 15 yards for the touchdown.

“It was Von Miller being Von Miller,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano lamented. “We did a great job on him at some points in the game. But he’s a great, great player and he made a great, great play.”

Miller added a sack on the last play for his third of the game as the Broncos (2-0) sent the banged-up Colts limping to their third consecutive 0-2 start.

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Lions at Colts NFL Week One Capsule

DETROIT LIONS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 

REGULAR SEASON SERIES

  LIONS COLTS
SERIES LEADER   21-18-2
STREAKS   Past 4
COACHES VS. OPP. Jim Caldwell: 0-0 Chuck Pagano: 1-0
LAST GAME 12/02/12: Colts 35 at Lions 33. Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck throws for 391 yards & 4 TDs, including GW 14-yard TD to WR Donnie Avery as time expires.
LAST GAME AT SITE 12/14/08: Colts 31, Lions 21. Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning passes for 318 yards & TD. Colts TE Dallas Clark records 12 catches for 142 yards & TD.
REFEREE Ed Hochuli
BROADCAST FOX (4:25 PM ET): Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 135 (Det), 83 (Ind). XM: 382 (Det), 226 (Ind).

2015 STATS

PASSING Matthew Stafford: 398-592-4262-32-13-97.0 Andrew Luck: 162-293-1881-15-12-74.9
RUSHING Ameer Abdullah: 143-597-4.2-2 Frank Gore: 260-967-3.7-6
RECEIVING Golden Tate: 90-813-9.0-6 T.Y. Hilton: 69-1124-16.3-5
OFFENSE 346.7 321.4
TAKE/GIVE -6 -5
DEFENSE 349.6 379.1
SACKS Ezekiel Ansah: 14.5 (3L) Kendall Langford, Robert Mathis: 7.0
INTs Glover Quin: 4 Mike Adams: 5
PUNTING Sam Martin: 46.0 Pat McAfee: 47.7 (2L)
KICKING Matt Prater: 102 (36/39 PAT; 22/24 FG) Adam Vinatieri: 107 (32/35 PAT; 25/27 FG)

NOTES

LIONS: QB MATTHEW STAFFORD passed for 4,262 yards in 2015, his 5th consecutive 4,000-yard season. Has 23,174 pass yards since 2011, 3rd most in NFL. Since 2011, averages 289.7 pass yards per game, 2nd among NFC QBs (DREW BREES)…RB-KR AMEER ABDULLAH was 2nd in NFL with 29.1 KR avg. last year. RB THEO RIDDICK led NFC RBs with 80 catches in 2015…WR ANQUAN BOLDIN has 1,009 career catches, 1 of 13 in NFL history with 1,000+ catches. WR GOLDEN TATE has 189 catches in past 2 seasons, 5th most in NFL. Has 4 TDs in past 4 games…DE EZEKIEL ANSAH has 12.5 sacks, 4 FFs & 2 FRs in past 13. Led NFC with 14.5 sacks last season. DE DEVIN TAYLOR has 4.5 sacks in past 6. DT HALOTI NGATA had INT in last meeting vs. Ind. (10/5/14 w/ Bal.). CB DARIUS SLAY led team with 13 PD last year. S GLOVER QUIN has 39 tackles, 7 PD & FR in 8 games vs. Ind….K MATT PRATER ranked 4th in NFC in 2015 with 91.7 FG pct. (22/24). Has 100+ points in 3 of past 4 seasons…COLTS: QB ANDREW LUCK passed for 391 yards & 4 TDs – incl. GW TD with no time remaining – in only start vs. Det. Has 14,838 career pass yards & needs 162 to reach 15,000. Can reach mark in 56th career game & would be tied for 2nd fastest in NFL history…RB FRANK GORE leads active players with 12,040 rush yards. Has rush TD in all 5 career games vs. Det. In 5 career meetings, has 590 rush yards (118 per game)…Since 2014, WR T.Y. HILTON is averaging 16.4 yards per catch, best mark in NFL (min. 100 catches). Has recorded 1,000+ rec. yards & 5+ TDs in 3 consecutive seasons. Had 6 catches for 100 yards in only meeting…C RYAN KELLY was selected No. 18 by Ind. in 2016 NFL Draft. Won 2015 Rimington Trophy at Alabama as NCAA’s top center…LB D’QWELL JACKSON led team with 150 tackles in 2015 & has led club in tackles in both seasons with Ind. DE ROBERT MATHIS ranks 4th among active NFL players with 118 sacks. Is tied for 1st among active NFL players with 47 def. FFs…K ADAM VINATIERI ranks 3rd in NFL history in FGs (503) & points (2,253).

Colts Add Two Defensive Backs – Matthias Farley and Neiko Thorpe

Matthias Farley

On Sunday, one day after the NFL required teams to reduce rosters to the regular-season 53-man limit, the Colts added some needed depth in their secondary by claiming two defensive backs off waivers, Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star reports.

The Colts added safety Matthias Farley a day after he was cut by the Arizona Cardinals. They also claimed cornerback Neiko Thorpe after he was waived by the Oakland Raiders.

To make room, the Colts released tight end Chase Coffman, who was one of four tight ends on the final roster, and cornerback Jalil Brown.

Farley started 26 games at Notre Dame before joining the Cardinals as an undrafted free agent in May. He registered 13 tackles in four preseason games with the Cardinals before being released. The Colts have a need at safety, where they had just three healthy players. Clayton Geathers was activated from the non-football injury list on Saturday, but he’s still recovering from a broken foot.

Thorpe has appeared in 37 NFL games with two starts after spending parts of the past three seasons with the Chiefs and Raiders. The Colts will be without cornerback Vontae Davis for several more weeks while he recovers from an ankle injury, creating a need for quality depth in the secondary.

Andrew Luck Finally Has Continuity At Skill Positions

Buffalo Bills v Indianapolis Colts

Since he was drafted with the number 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Andrew Luck has never had continuity at the skills position, which makes what he has been able to accomplish in his sort career very impressive. However, that won’t be a problem this year because he will have continuity at the skills position for the first time in his career. Despite having a disastrous 2015 season, the Colts are expected to bounce back this year and have favorable NFL betting odds to win the AFC South.

This year, Luck has running back Frank Gore, wide receivers Donte Moncrief and T.Y. Hilton, tight ends Jack Doyle and Dwayne Allen all coming back, giving the offense some continuity, something they haven’t had in years.

In previous seasons, the team has rotated players at the skill positions. Guys like Andre Johnson, Trent Richardson, Hakeem Nicks, Donald Brown, and others have come and go, but this time around, Luck will see a lot of familiar faces in the huddle.

When speaking with reporters, Luck said the continuity was important to him especially after having to miss a lot of games like he did last year. The quarterback said having familiar faces, especially guys like Hilton and Allen, whom he has played with since entering the league, is very helpful. He also called it something that is very underappreciated in the league.

One of the reasons having continuity is good for Luck is the fact that he doesn’t have to worry about a player still trying to learn the system, and he already knows their strengths and tendencies.

The Colts had a lot of success during the Peyton Manning era because there was stability at the skills position. For most of his career in Indianapolis, Manning had Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne to throw the ball to, which is why he and Harrison were able to break the record for most touchdowns from a quarterback to a receiver.

At the tight end position, Manning had Dallas Clark, who also played a big part in the team’s success.

Earlier in his career, Manning also had Edgerrin James, who was one of the best-running backs in franchise history before leaving for Arizona. Joseph Addai took James’ place in the lineup and helped the team win a Super Bowl.

When asked about the impact continuity had on his career, Manning told a story of a time he was in the huddle with Marvin Harrison, and they would recall a play from six seasons ago. Manning said when he asked Harrison about a game in Buffalo in 1999, Harrison knew exactly what he was talking about because they had great chemistry from playing together from the very start of their careers.

Luck is hoping to have the same type of continuity Manning had, but so far it hasn’t happened. Despite the lack of continuity, Luck has great chemistry with Hilton and Moncrief, who have been on the team since he was drafted.

The chemistry between Luck and his receivers is one of the reasons the team has been successful during his time in Indianapolis despite not having a real running game until last season when they signed Gore.

Colts Agree to Terms with Veteran CB Antonio Cromartie

Antonio Cromartie

The Colts signed cornerback Antonio Cromartie after the former Jets star worked out in front of coaches on Monday, Chris Wesseling of NFL.com reports. The deal is for one year, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source informed of the contract.

Rapoport reported last month that the 32-year-old was battling “lingering” hip problems. Monday’s workout was Cromartie’s first reported visit since he was released by Gang Green in February.

Top cornerback Vontae Davis is expected to miss regular-season action due to a medial sprain in his ankle, per Rapoport.

Colts Rookies Impressing Coaches And Teammates

57afd6fc4ad28.image

After making the playoffs every year since they drafted Andrew Luck in 2012, the Indianapolis Colts suffered a setback last season when Luck got injured and failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012. While the Colts and their fans were disappointed about the outcome of the season, they were able to get a high draft pick out of it, which could have a significant impact on the team’s success this season. With a healthy Luck back in the lineup, the Colts are one of the NFL expert picks to make the playoffs.

After two weeks of training camps here is how the 2016 Colts draft class has progressed.

Ryan Kelly, the team’s first-round pick, was selected to anchor the offensive line, which has been one of the team’s biggest problems since Luck was drafted. Kelly has been the team’s starter during training camp and is expected to start the season opener, however, a left shoulder strain has kept him out of practice for about a week.

Safety T.J. Green, the team’s second-round pick, is also expected to play a big role this season. Green has been practicing with the first unit in place of Clayton Geathers, who is battling a foot injury, and could earn the starting job if he performs well during the preseason. However, if Green reinjures his calf and is forced to miss some time, Geathers can reclaim the starting job from the rookie.

LeRaven Clark is another offensive lineman the Colts drafted to address their offensive line woes. Clark was penciled to be the team’s starting right tackle in their preseason game against the Packers, but the game was canceled because of the field conditions. The team will likely start him in their next preseason game and if he plays well, he could end up being the opening day starter.

Hassan Ridgeway, the team’s fourth-round pick, wasn’t expected to start this season. But, injuries to Kendall Langford and Henry Anderson, in addition to the suspension of Art Jones, have opened a door for the possibility of Ridgeway starting. The defensive tackle is currently backing up starter Zach Kerr, but that might change depending on how he performs in the preseason.

Antonio Morrison is making the best of the opportunities he has been given during training camp, and has performed so well that the team released inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera this week. With Herrera gone, Morrison is all but guaranteed a roster spot for the season.

Chuck Pagano is very excited about what he has seen from Joe Haeg so far because he played tackle in college and is expected to play guard with the Colts. The transition can be difficult for a lot of players, but Pagano said Haeg’s transition was very quick and feels the rookie can help the team for years due to his ability to play multiple positions on the offensive line.

As a product of the University of Maine, not much was expected from linebacker Trevor Bates, but he has since changed the perception with his performance on the field. Bates is a favorite of several veterans and has worked his way up to backup strong-side linebacker.

Austin Blythe is the team’s seventh-round pick, but will have a hard time getting on the field as a center because the team already drafted Ryan Kelly in the first round. Barring an injury, Blythe’s best option to make the team will be to switch positions.