If there is a word that best describes the 2012 Indianapolis Colts, it just might be “resilient.”
Give up a lot of points in road losses to Chicago, the New York Jets and New England? No problem. Lose a close game at home? Again, no problem.
Every time that the Colts have lost a game this year, they’ve battled back the next week to secure a much needed win. Indianapolis is 4-0 in such week-after games. Not bad for a mostly young squad that is still learning about what life is like in the National Football League.
“Yeah, it just shows a lot about this team and this coaching staff. One thing is protecting home field. After a tough loss, sometimes a tough loss can carry over into the next week, but guys came in the next week just being focused,” free safety Antoine Bethea said Sunday after the Colts’ 20-13 win over Buffalo.
Bethea is one of the few veterans remaining on the Indianapolis roster, along with wide receiver Reggie Wayne, outside linebackers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, defensive end Cory Redding and strong safety Tom Zbikowski. Redding and Zbikowski are both new to the team, but not new to the NFL after playing the last several seasons in Baltimore.
“A very resilient team. A young team that’s guided by veteran leadership. Everybody’s all-in, all-aboard and that’s what happens,” Mathis added, not resisting a chance to tweak any and all prognosticators who had the Colts winning only a couple games this season.
“I guess that’s why you call them experts. We were picked to finish 1-15 and now [we’re] sitting at 7-4.”
Redding says the secret, if there is one, to an ability to move past tough losses is to have a short memory.
“Being able to put any bad situation behind you very quick. You can’t let one loss turn into two. Definitely have to see and man up to your mistakes and go to work honestly trying to correct those mistakes and keep your team in mind so that they don’t happen again,” he said Sunday.
“Guys responded well and leaders stepped up this week. Everybody else followed our lead and we just put together another good, solid win together to get No. 7 and keep us in the hunt.”
• Hilton’s big day — Rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton got off to a slow start during training camp due to some injury issues. But as the preseason and the regular season has progressed, the former Florida International standout has continued to impress his coaches, teammates and fans.
Hilton caught three passes for 33 yards and a touchdown while also returning four punts for 111 yards and a TD. Not a bad day’s work. In doing so, he became the first player in franchise history to score a touchdown receiving and returning a punt for a TD in the same game. Hilton is also the first Colts player to return a punt for a touchdown since T.J. Rushing did it against Oakland in 2007.
Interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians knew early on, despite the training camp injuries, that he had something special in Hilton.
“He reminds me a lot of [Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver] Antonio Brown,” Arians said. “They’re from the same neighborhood. They’re friends, they have the same desire to be good and they take it very serious to be good. When you have those and God-given talent, you should be successful.”
• Tackling machine — Former Canadian Football League all-star Jerrell Freeman is quickly making believers out of everybody who watches him play.
Freeman, who attended Mary Hardin-Baylor College in Texas, didn’t get too many looks from NFL teams. He did get a tryout with the Tennessee Titans and impressed the coaching staff there, but became a casualty of roster cuts at the end of training camp. Freeman went on to play with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, where he caught the attention of the Colts’ scouting department.
He’s a big favorite of first-year general manager Ryan Grigson and was the first outside player to be signed by Grigson upon being named to his current post. Ever since Freeman moved into the starting lineup in the season opener with Chicago, filling in for an injured Pat Angerer, all he’s done is perform.
Freeman has led the team in tackles in nine of the Colts’ 11 games. He had a game-high 16 tackles against the Bills on Sunday, including nine solos, a sack, three tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry.
“You can’t say enough about [Freeman]. He is a quality, quality football player and I’m sure glad he’s on our team. He’s fast and he can run with these guys,” Arians said.
• Luck keeps moving up the charts — Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck completed 20 of 37 passes for 240 yards for a TD and had one pass intercepted in the Buffalo game.
He has now thrown for 3,205 yards while throwing 13 touchdown passes and had 13 passes intercepted this season. With the win over the Bills, he tied St. Louis’ Sam Bradford for the most wins (7) by a quarterback drafted No. 1 overall since 1970.
Luck became the second rookie quarterback in Colts history to throw for 3,000-plus yards in their first season. With 449 passing attempts this season, he passed Jack Trudeau (417) for the second-most in a season by a rookie in team history.
• Wayne does too — Wayne finished with eight catches for 102 yards against the Bills. The performance was the third 100-yard contest for Wayne this season and the 41st of his career.
With his eight receptions, he upped his career total to 946 and surpassed Derrick Mason for 11th place on the NFL’s all-time receptions list. Wayne also improved his career yardage total to 12,813 and moved past Irving Fryar for 14th place on the league’s all-time receiving yardage list.
He set the NFL record for consecutive games with three-plus catches (59), topping Chris Carter’s old mark of 58.
• Injury list — Defensive tackle Fili Moala left Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter with a sprained right anterior cruciate knee ligament. He did not return.
Zbikowski incurred a right shin contusion in the fourth quarter but returned to the game later. Hilton suffered a head injury while returning his second punt and left the game. After a trip to the locker room for tests, he also returned after being cleared.
Cornerback Vontae Davis (knee) and tight end Coby Fleener (shoulder) were pregame inactives, along with inside linebacker Mario Harvey, nose tackle Josh Chapman, defensive end Clifton Geathers, offensive tackle Tony Hills and tight end Dominque Jones.
If there is a word that best describes the 2012 Indianapolis Colts, it just might be “resilient.”
- Pro Sports
Colts waive running back Rainey
What a difference a couple of days make. After Saturday's morning training camp practice, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was effusive in his praise of running back Chris Rainey. But on Monday, the Colts surprisingly announced that Rainey had been waived after violating an unspecified team policy.
Colts camp: Defense shines in workout
There was a change in the Indianapolis Colts training camp schedule Monday as the team had just one practice instead of the usual two.
Grinding away: Phegley, Ashley strive for shot in major leagues
Being a catcher in professional baseball is taxing. Not only on the knees and hands — and various other parts of the human anatomy — but it’s a mental grind as well.
Wayne gets special escort to Colts’ training camp
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne has seemingly raised the bar the last several years when it comes to making flashy arrivals for Indianapolis Colts training camp. So when the unmistakable roar of an IndyCar engine was heard on the Anderson University campus Wednesday morning, nobody was surprised. Wayne, decked out in an official racing uniform and custom-made helmet, had reported for duty.
Pacers sign Stuckey, face uphill battle
Last week, the Indiana Pacers lost Lance Stephenson. On Monday, they replaced one of the NBA’s best young players with shooting guard Rodney Stuckey. It’s a swap that will make it a challenge for Indiana to win a third straight title in a division that might be the toughest in basketball.
Pacers’ Stephenson goes to Hornets
Lance Stephenson is bringing his swag to Charlotte. The controversial shooting guard has agreed to a $27 million, three-year deal with the Hornets, according to a person familiar with the contract. The deal includes a team option for the third season.
AP Source: Pacers get Stuckey for one year
A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Indiana Pacers have agreed to terms with free agent guard Rodney Stuckey on a one-year deal to help replace the departed Lance Stephenson.
Major League All-Star Game: Bring on the heat
Mike Matheny had quite the choice for the National League’s All-Star starter.
There was his own Adam Wainwright, the St. Louis Cardinals ace with a 12-4 record and a 1.83 ERA. And there was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA and fresh off a 41-inning scoreless streak that ended last week. He chose Wainwright, who will start tonight at Target Field against the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez.
Pacers face new obstacles in NBA Central
The road to another Eastern Conference final just got a whole lot tougher for the Indiana Pacers. In less than a month, they’ve seen their division transformed from Lottery Central to the NBA’s center of attention.
Pacers sign three free agents
The Pacers couldn’t keep waiting around for Lance Stephenson to make up his mind. So on Friday, they went to work. The two-time Eastern Conference runner-ups announced they had signed three free agents — backup big man Lavoy Allen, swingman C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez, a sharp-shooting forward from Europe.
Odum heads for Vegas with Kings summer team
Terre Haute native Jake Odum scored three points in the Indiana Pacers’ 84-74 victory on Thursday over the Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League.
Odum has 5 points for Pacers in summer play
Former Indiana State standout Jake Odum contributed five points, three assists and a steal in 15 minutes on the court Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers summer league team.
Odum scores 2 points off bench for Pacers
Three of the top picks in last month’s draft are adjusting to NBA at different speeds at the Orlando Pro Summer League.
ISU's Odum talks about agreeing to play for Pacers' summer-league team
No team selected him in the two-round NBA draft Thursday night, but Terre Haute native and four-year Indiana State basketball standout Jake Odum agreed Friday to play for the Indiana Pacers’ summer-league squad next month.
LeBron James tells Heat he will become a free agent
LeBron James delivered his message loud and clear, without actually saying a word.
He’s willing to leave Miami, if that’s what it will take to win more championships. And what happens next will likely be up to not just the Heat, but Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as well.
Big man curse always affects NBA draft
Greg Oden has had years to think about the plight of his knees, and still has no good answers. The No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft is a poster child for big man bad luck, an epidemic that’s been sweeping the league for years. The latest victim seems to be Joel Embiid, a 7-footer expected to be the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s draft before a recently suffered stress fracture in his right foot almost certainly robbed the former Kansas star of that chance.
Retiring as Colt, Clark appreciates Terre Haute fans
Dallas Clark was always a fan favorite when the Indianapolis Colts conducted their annual summer training-camp workouts at Rose-Hulman. During an emotional 45-minute retirement ceremony Wednesday morning at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, Clark — who spent 11 seasons as a tight end in the NFL (nine with the Colts) and signed a one-day career-ending contract with the Colts this week — admitted the obvious. The team’s fans in Terre Haute meant a lot to him too.
Team’s all-time top tight end Clark to retire as Colt
Jeff Saturday did it last year, returning to the Indianapolis Colts after a brief stint as a center with the Green Bay Packers and officially ending his National Football League career with the team where he had his most success. Now it looks like Dallas Clark will be following in Saturday’s footsteps.
FROM TERRE HAUTE TO THE MAJORS: Catchers Phegley, Lucas putting together solid seasons
Two Vigo County catcher prospects are accumulating strong numbers as backstops in professional baseball.
Terre Haute North product Josh Phegley has three home runs in his past six games to put his power numbers close to on par with his career-best 2013 season, and West Vigo alum Jeremy Lucas took a six-game hitting streak into Friday night’s doubleheader for the Carolina Mudcats.
Reed signs with Astros
A.J. Reed’s Wednesday was already pretty good when he was named Baseball America’s College Player of the Year in the morning. In the afternoon, it got even better for the Terre Haute native. The Houston Astros, who drafted Reed with the first pick of the second round in last week’s Major League Baseball draft, announced that they had agreed to a deal with Reed. According to several sources, Reed signed his deal for $1.35 million.
Master of ovals, Ed Carpenter celebrates win at Texas
Car owner Ed Carpenter now drives his car only on ovals. He does it well.
Carpenter won the IndyCar Series race on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, staying in front of Will Power during a two-lap shootout after a late caution.
A.J. Reed picked by Astros with first pick of second round
Terre Haute native A.J. Reed wasn’t expecting the Houston Astros to be the team that would select him in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft.
But now that they nabbed him late Thursday night with the first pick of the second round, No. 42 overall, he’s ready to wear an Astros cap.
Ex-Sycamore Lutz begins NFL journey with Colts
The end of the journey. Or, really, just the beginning. That's how former Indiana State center FN Lutz described his emotions after signing a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday morning.
Staying together: Pacers eager to keep Stephenson, starters intact
Larry Bird wants Lance Stephenson back with the Indiana Pacers at the right price.
Miami puts emphatic end to Eastern Conference Finals
The Heat became the third franchise in NBA history to reach the title series in four consecutive seasons, a laugher of a conference-title finale getting them there again Friday night. LeBron James and Chris Bosh each scored 25 points, and Miami eliminated the Pacers for the third straight year with a 117-92 romp in Game 6 of the East championship series.
George cries foul after Pacers fall 102-90 to Heat
The Pacers fall behind 3-1 in Eastern Conference Finals.
Mathis apologizes to teammates, wishes he had a 'redo'
Just as Indianapolis Colts players rallied around head coach Chuck Pagano in 2012 and wide receiver Reggie Wayne in 2013, not having outside linebacker Robert Mathis available for the first four games of the 2014 NFL season has elicited a familiar-sounding call.
James helps Heat beat Pacers 87-83 in Game 2
LeBron James scored six straight points to spark the decisive 12-2 run and the Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 87-83 on Tuesday night to leave the Eastern Conference finals tied at a game apiece.
James had 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. Dwyane Wade had 23 points, 13 in the first half when the Heat desperately needed them to stay close.
Game 3 is Saturday in Miami.
Pence, Indianapolis mayor lament losing Super Bowl
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Mike Pence and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard are lamenting the city losing its bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl.
James, Heat seek to regroup vs. Pacers
LeBron James is ready to help the Miami Heat get even against the Indiana Pacers.
- More Pro Sports Headlines
- Colts waive running back Rainey