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
Pacers rest starters, edge Bucks 104-102
Chris Copeland’s driving layup with 1.2 seconds remaining gave the Indiana Pacers a 104-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night that moved them back into first place in the Eastern Conference.
Copeland finished with a season-high 18 points. Luis Scola also recorded a season high with 24 points and Evan Turner added 23 for Indiana, which benched all of its usual starters for the entire game.
Turner seeking to find comfort in Pacers' rotation
Following the trade-deadline move to Indiana, Turner has struggled of late in adjusting to a new role with the Pacers.
Turner played over 40 minutes nine different times with Philadelphia, but he’s played less than 20 minutes in every game since scoring eight in 21 minutes of the victory over Miami.
Short-handed Raptors stop Pacers
Late in the third quarter Friday night, some jostling between John Salmons and Paul George turned into a shoving match. The dust-up brought the cheering crowd at the Air Canada Centre to its feet and earned both players matching technical fouls. But even more, said Salmons, it showed that the Toronto Raptors won’t be pushed around.
Terrence Ross led the way with 24 points as the short-handed Raptors defeated the Indiana Pacers 102-94.
Pacers' victory could be sign of return to Pacers of old
One step in the right direction.
The Pacers — losers of five their past six games — didn’t declare themselves back after Wednesday night’s 101-94 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
Pacers end three-game slide
All five Indiana Pacers’ starters reached double figures Wednesday night to ignite an offense that was mired in a franchise-worst slump.
Instant reversal: After pickoff call is reversed in 10th inning, Walker’s homer lifts Pirates over Cubs
Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker understands not everybody is going to be a fan of Major League Baseball’s expanded replay system, which threatens to slow down a sport that already struggles to be played with any sort of urgency. Funny, there weren’t many critics to be found on Monday at PNC Park.
Molina’s homer enough for Cardinals
Yadier Molina got the loudest boos during pregame introductions. The five-time All-Star catcher got booed again as he rounded the bases for his game-turning homer. On opening day, he was driving them batty in Cincinnati again.
Spurs beat Pacers for 18th straight win
Tony Parker scored 22 points in the San Antonio Spurs’ franchise-record 18th straight victory, a 103-77 rout of the slumping Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
De Aza, Abreu propel White Sox to opening win
As openers go, this one was promising for the Chicago White Sox. Now, all they have to do is build on it. Alejandro De Aza hit two homers, and Jose Abreu had two hits in his major league debut to back Chris Sale and lead the White Sox to a 5-3 season-opening victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday.
Pacers use rally late to beat Heat 84-83
Paul George scored 23 points and Roy Hibbert had 21, leading the Indiana Pacers back from a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit for an 84-83 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.
After three months apart, Heat, Pacers to meet again
Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh has a confession: NBA games at this time of year simply mean more to him than games in December.
Not exactly shocking, of course.
But when so much hubbub surrounded the last game between Miami and Indiana way back on Dec. 18, Bosh wasn’t necessarily buying into the supposed significance. After all, he figured, the season was basically only one-third over at that point.
Pacers lose to Bulls, still need one win to clinch Central Division title
Taj Gibson led five players in double figures with 23 points and the Chicago Bulls brushed off a poor offensive first half to rally for an 89-77 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
Knicks open Jackson era with seventh straight win
Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and the New York Knicks opened the Phil Jackson era by beating the Indiana Pacers 92-86 Wednesday night for their season-high seventh straight victory.
With their new team president watching from a midcourt seat, the Knicks dominated the first half, then pulled away after the Eastern Conference leaders finally got untracked in the second half.
Colts owner has double image in media
Colts owner Jim Irsay is known in NFL circles as a tough businessman and eccentric billionaire who enjoys interacting with fans about his beloved team and favorite songs from bands like the Beatles and the Grateful Dead. He may end up adding convicted felon to the mix.
Pacers hand 76ers 21st straight loss, 99-90
After Philadelphia’s latest loss gave the 76ers their longest skid in franchise history, coach Brett Brown insisted he doesn’t dwell on the streak. Lance Stephenson scored 25 points and the Indiana Pacers rallied from an early deficit to beat Philadelphia 99-90 on Monday night, handing the 76ers their 21st straight loss.
Pacers rally from huge deficit to beat Pistons in overtime
Paul George scored 30 points and the Indiana Pacers rallied from a 25-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Detroit Pistons 112-104 in overtime on Saturday night.
Evan Turner added 20 points for the Pacers, and David West scored six of his 15 points in overtime. Indiana leads Miami by 3 1/2 games in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Colts sign former Giants receiver Nicks
Ryan Grigson loves to make a deal. The Indianapolis Colts third-year general manager has earned a reputation around the National Football League as a guy who will act decisively and quickly if there’s somebody that he really wants. That trait proved true again Friday as the Colts added former New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks to the team’s roster.
Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years
Shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, Pat McAfee — the Indianapolis Colts’ punter and kickoff specialist — tweeted that he had a special announcement to make at the top of the hour.
Jefferson, Bobcats top Pacers
Al Jefferson had a pretty good inkling it was Charlotte’s night when he banked in a 31-footer from well beyond the top of the key to beat the shot clock midway through the fourth quarter.
Thompson's last-second jumper lifts Warriors over Pacers in Indy
Klay Thompson made a 12-foot turnaround jumper with 0.6 seconds left, and the Golden State Warriors held off Indiana 98-96 Tuesday night to hand the Pacers only their fourth home loss this season.
Thompson scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter. Stephen Curry finished with 19 points for the Warriors, who have won five of six.
Turner scores 13 in Pacers' debut as Indiana tops Los Angeles
Paul George scored 12 of his 20 points in the third quarter, Evan Turner had 13 points in his Pacers debut, and Indiana beat the Los Angeles Lakers 118-98 on Tuesday night.
Indiana improved its league-leading record to 43-13.
West posts season-high 30 in Pacers' win at Milwaukee
Paul George scored 32 points and David West tied a season high with 30, helping the Indiana Pacers hang on to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 110-100 on Saturday night.
Lance Stephenson added 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Pacers, who had lost three of their previous five games. Stephenson scored seven straight points to open the fourth quarter.
Love has 42 points, 16 boards, Wolves beat Pacers
Kevin Love had 42 points and 16 rebounds, Ricky Rubio added a career-high 17 assists and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat Paul George and the Indiana Pacers 104-91 on Wednesday night.
J.J. Barea scored 12 points off the bench as the Wolves took control early against the Eastern Conference leaders.
George scores 26 to lead Pacers over Hawks
Paul George scored 26 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 108-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.
David West had 17 points and Lance Stephenson added 13 to help the Pacers beat the Hawks for the second time in three meetings this season.
White Sox open camp looking to shake off misery
The stark reminder of how far the Chicago White Sox fell last season was on a wall behind Chris Sale as he fielded questions in a hallway at the team’s spring training complex.
There was a large photo from the team’s championship rally in 2005. Last season, they looked as though they were light years from a title.
Ellis, Nowitzki hand Pacers third home loss of season
Monta Ellis had 23 points and nine rebounds, and Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points as the Dallas Mavericks handed the Indiana Pacers their third home loss of the season, 81-73 on Wednesday night.
Pacers roll past short-handed Nuggets 119-80
David West scored 25 points in less than 27 minutes and Roy Hibbert added 14 as the NBA’s top team dominated the middle and blew past short-handed Denver 119-80 for its most lopsided win this season.
Hill scores 37, leads Pacers to win over Blazers
George Hill had a career-high 37 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, leading the Indiana Pacers to a 118-113 overtime victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
David West scored a season-high 30 points and had 10 rebounds and Paul Geoege added 17 points for the Pacers (39-10), who have won 5 of 6 games.
Pacers snap streak of 12 straight regular-season losses in Atlanta
It's over. This time, the Indiana Pacers had a successful regular-season trip to Atlanta.
David West scored 22 points, Paul George added 18 and the NBA-leading Pacers beat the Hawks 89-85 on Tuesday night.
Second-half surge lifts Pacers over Magic
Pacers coach Frank Vogel kept the game plan simple. Make the extra pass, take care of the ball, play defense and get more out of his bench. The four-pronged approach worked. Danny Granger scored a season-high 16 points, Paul George and Lance Stephenson each had 15 and the Pacers plowed through some rough stretches to pull away from the Orlando Magic, 98-79 on Monday night.
- More Pro Sports Headlines
- Pacers rest starters, edge Bucks 104-102