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Anatomy of the Drives: Wild Card Edition

Posted Jan 6, 2014

Each week Colts.com will take a look at the Colts touchdown drives. For this week, here’s a look at the six offensive touchdown drives in the Colts 45-44 AFC Wild Card win over the Chiefs.



T.Y. Hilton’s 10-yard touchdown catch

The scene:
Down 7-0, the Colts took over at their own 26-yard line with 8:06 to go in the first quarter.

The anatomy of the drive:
7 plays, for 74 yards in 3:37.

Key play:
For the second straight week it was the T.Y. Hilton show early and often. On the Colts opening drive, Hilton caught passes on the first three plays amounting for 41 yards. Pep Hamilton has talked in recent weeks about trying to get Hilton in more advantageous situations and there was variety in every one of Hilton’s first three completions. He lined up outside, in the slot, on each side of the formation and ran three different routes to set up a touchdown drive he would eventually finish.

The score:
On a second-and-five from the 10-yard line, Hilton lined up in the middle of a trips formation to the right side of Luck’s shotgun formation. With Chiefs cornerback Dunta Robinson playing close to the line of scrimmage, Hilton made a jab to the left and that was enough to get separation. Luck saw the window he needed to drop a perfect pass into Hilton’s arms for the opening score.

Donald Brown’s 10-yard touchdown run

The scene:
Down 38-10, the Colts took over at the their own 20-yard line with 13:39 to go in the third quarter.

The anatomy of the drive: 5 plays, for 80 yards in 1:52.

Key play: It looked pretty gloomy when the Colts began this drive down four touchdowns. The offense was in need of a chunk play and it was undrafted rookie Da’Rick Rogers who was there to make it. On a first-and-10, Luck did a tremendous job in sliding to his left and that allowed for one-on-one coverage with Rogers and Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith. It was a jump ball and the 6-3 Rogers did a spectacular job to win the ball away from Smith.

The score:
The Colts quickly got up to the line of scrimmage and came out in a shotgun set with Donald Brown and Luck in the backfield. It was back to a play that has worked so well for the Colts this season. Left guard Hugh Thornton pulled to the right and Brown followed him into the hole. Thanks to seal blocks from Thornton, right tackle Gosder Cherilus and wide receiver Griff Whalen, Brown was able to get into the end zone relatively easy to start the comeback.

Donald Brown’s 3-yard touchdown catch

The scene:
Down 38-17, the Colts took over at the Chiefs own 41-yard line with 9:00 to go in the third quarter.

The anatomy of the drive:
5 plays, for 41 yards in 1:28.

Key play:
It was still a three-touchdown deficit when the Colts defense headed back onto the field. You almost had the feeling that Robert Mathis was due for a big play and the All-Pro carried that out. Thanks to some persistence pass rush, Mathis avoided the double team of Chiefs tight end Anthony Fasano and left guard Jeff Allen. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith began rolling to his left and unbeknownst to him, Mathis was closing in quickly from the backside. The tomahawk chop came and inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard was able to secure the bouncing ball to complete the turnover.

The score:
Thanks to their best field position of the day, the Colts offense moved quickly inside the Chiefs 10-yard line. On a second-and-goal from the Chiefs three-yard line, it was more innovation from Pep Hamilton’s playbook. The Colts came out in a bunch receiver set to the right as tight ends Jack Doyle, Coby Fleener and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey were in front of Donald Brown. Those three executed blocks to open up a lane for Brown who received the bubble screen pass from Luck. Brown eluded the tackle attempt by Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Flowers and dove into the end zone to cut the lead to 14.

Coby Fleener’s 12-yard touchdown catch

The scene:
Down 41-24, the Colts took over at the their own 20-yard line with 4:08 to go in the third quarter.

The anatomy of the drive:
6 plays, for 80 yards in 1:41.

Key play:
While Andrew Luck’s running ability continues to get some headlines, the subtle steps he makes in the pocket can be equally as impressive. Here it was a mix of both as Luck was forced to roll to his right on a first-and-10 from the Indianapolis 45-yard line. Luck sidestepped a sack attempt by Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey and the Chiefs defensive backs/linebackers began to creep forward thinking Luck was going to run. No. 12 saw this and found Brazill open on the right sideline. Brazill hauled in the lofted pass and his 25-yard reception proved pivotal.

The score:
A few plays later, the Colts faced a second-and-10 from the Chiefs 12-yard line. In a trips formation to the left, Coby Fleener lined up nearest to the line of scrimmage just a few feet away from Anthony Castonzo. Fleener did a nice job settling behind the zone created by Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson. Luck’s pass was just high enough to clear the leaping Johnson and Fleener caught Luck’s third touchdown of the day.

Andrew Luck’s five-yard fumble recovery

The scene:
Down 41-31, the Colts took over at the their own 10-yard line with 14:40 to go in the fourth quarter.

The anatomy of the drive:
12 plays, for 90 yards in 4:02.

Key play:
There weren’t many monumental third-down conversions for the Colts on Saturday but on the final two touchdown drives, a pair early in those drives was immense. It was a 12-play drive, but the Colts faced an early third-and-10 at the Indianapolis 10-yard line. T.Y. Hilton was in the right slot and ran a drag route to the left side of the field. Luck once again showed his elusiveness and stepped up in the pocket to hit Hilton on the run for a 16-yard conversion.

The score:
It’s play that will go down in Colts history. The play was supposed to be very similar to Donald Brown’s first touchdown run. Brown took the handoff from Luck with Hugh Thornton pulling to the right. However, All-Pro safety Eric Berry came flying in with helmet on the ball to cause a Brown fumble. The ball bounced off the helmet of center Samson Satele and there was Luck with zero hesitation as he scooped up the football and dove into the end zone for the touchdown. Perhaps the most amazing stat, is Brown came into Sunday without losing a fumble in his over 550 NFL carries.

T.Y. Hilton’s 64-yard touchdown catch

The scene:
Down 44-38, the Colts took over at the their own 20-yard line with 5:36 to go in the fourth quarter.

The anatomy of the drive:
4 plays, for 80 yards in 1:15.

Key play:
The second third-down conversions of the final quarter came with the Colts facing a third-and-five from their own 25-yard line with the clock ticking under five minutes. It was a trips set to the right with Coby Fleener in the slot closest to the line of scrimmage. Covered by the All-Pro Eric Berry, Fleener ran a perfect out pattern. The pass from Luck, who was under pressure, was as beautiful as the route. The ball placement was where only Fleener could catch it and that’s exactly what the second-year tight end did for the 11-yard reception.

The score:
The day started with Hilton so it might as well have ended with him. On the play following the Fleener conversion, the Colts trips set was now to the left side of the formation as Hilton was in the middle of the three-receiver set. Hilton beat Hassim Abdullah off the line of scrimmage. Next up was safety Kendrick Lewis and Hilton got the safety’s hips turned which gave him free release behind the Chiefs secondary. Luck told Hilton “just run” and the second-year receiver did exactly that. Luck delivered a strike into the second-year receiver’s hands to complete the second largest comeback in NFL postseason history.


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