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Colts Absent From 2016 AP NFL All-Pro Teams

Posted Jan 10, 2017

Intro: In a year in which T.Y. Hilton led the league in receiving and Pat McAfee was again one of the top punters in the league, neither were voted to the first- or second-team AP All-Pro teams in 2016.

INDIANAPOLIS — In 2000, Torry Holt led the National Football League in receiving with 1,696 yards, but was somehow not included as a first- or second-team selection on the Associated Press' NFL All-Pro Teams.

Since that time, every single NFL receiving champion has been a first-team selection, except in two seasons, when the top receiver in the league was voted to the second-team.

That was, until this season.

Despite leading the league with 1,448 receiving yards this year, the Colts’ T.Y. Hilton was not among those voted All-Pro in 2016, as Antonio Brown and Julio Jones (first team) and Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans (second team) got the nods instead.

Now, there’s no disputing those four receivers’ talents and worthiness of an All-Pro selection, but perhaps the most perplexing aspect of this year’s All-Pro vote is that Hilton — again, the league’s leading receiver — didn’t earn a single All-Pro vote. Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson was the only other receiver to have received a vote this year.

Almost equally as perplexing? Pat McAfee — perhaps the best all-around punter/kickoff specialist in the league — also was not voted to the All-Pro team this year.

Unlike Hilton, however, McAfee at least got a couple votes, but the Rams’ Johnny Hekker (who was very deserving this season) was voted first-team All-Pro, while the Raiders’ Marquette King — who had a fine season but trailed McAfee in just about every important statistical category — was voted second-team All-Pro.

Is this worth getting in a tizzy about? Nah, probably not. I mean, both Hilton and McAfee will be going to Orlando later this month to take part in the Pro Bowl, and both guys have received accolades elsewhere (thanks, Pro Football Focus).

But it’s just interesting to see where Colts players oftentimes stack up in the national landscape when they put together just as good — if not better — performances as others who might receive more media attention.

For the full 2016 AP NFL All-Pro teams and voting results, click here. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of the selections who played the Colts this season showed why they are to be considered among the best of the best in the league:

First team:

• Tight end — Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs: Kelce was a major pain for the Colts’ defense in the Chiefs’ 30-14 Week 8 victory in Indianapolis. Kelce led all receivers on the day with seven receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown, and was targeted 10 times overall by quarterbacks Alex Smith (who was knocked out of the game with a reported concussion) and backup Nick Foles. Kelce’s 14-yard touchdown reception from Foles early in the second quarter put Kansas City ahead 10-0, and he would continue to make plays throughout the contest. Kelce ended his 2016 season with 85 receptions for 1,125 yards and four touchdowns.

• Wide receiver — Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers:
Brown was a menace in the Colts’ 28-7 Thanksgiving Night loss to the Steelers at Lucas Oil Stadium. Adding insult to injury — Indianapolis was playing that night without quarterback Andrew Luck, who was in the league’s concussion protocol — Brown took advantage, catching five passes for 91 yards and three (count ‘em, three) touchdowns for Pittsburgh. Brown finished 2016 with 106 receptions for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns.

• Right tackle — Jack Conklin, Tennessee Titans:
The 22-year-old rookie out of Michigan State has turned into a stud for the Titans, but Tennessee struggled in its two games against the Colts in 2016, both losses. In Week 7 in Nashville, the Colts came back to win, 34-26. In their Week 11 matchup in Indy, the Colts came away with a 24-17 victory. In that first game, the Tennessee offensive line paved the way for 124 net yards rushing, and allowed three sacks. In their second contest, the Colts improved against the run, allowing just 97 net yards, and had five sacks of quarterback Marcus Mariota.

• Left guard — Kelechi Osemele, Oakland Raiders:
With a playoff spot already in hand, Osemele and the Raiders’ impressive offensive line continued its dominating ways Week 16 against the Colts in Oakland, as the Raiders ran 37 times for 210 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns, and the team only allowed one sack all afternoon, though it was a big one. The play, by Trent Cole, led to a broken leg for starting quarterback Derek Carr, meaning the Raiders must play the Houston Texans Saturday in the Wildcard Round of the playoffs with a backup QB.

• Cornerback — Marcus Peters, Kansas City Chiefs:
Peters had a mostly-quiet day against the Colts during the Chiefs’ Week 8 win in Indianapolis, as he had just one tackle and two pass breakups. As a whole, however, the Kansas City defense would make its presence felt against Luck, as they notched one interception and sacked him six times on the day. Peters finished the 2016 season with 45 tackles with six interceptions, 20 passes defensed, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

• Safety — Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs:
Berry also had a quiet day against the Colts this season, collecting three tackles. The 28-year-old Tennessee product had yet another solid season in 2016 with 77 tackles, four interceptions, nine passes defensed, two defensive touchdowns and one forced fumble.

• Defensive back — Chris Harris Jr., Denver Broncos:
Harris was held without any major plays in the Colts’ 34-20 Week 2 loss to the Broncos in Denver, as he finished the game with three total tackles and a pass defensed. The Broncos defense held Luck to 197 yards passing, picked him off once and sacked him five times. Harris finished 2016 with 63 tackles, two interceptions, 11 passes defensed and one forced fumble and fumble recovery apiece.

• Kick returner — Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings:
Patterson had plenty of opportunities to return kicks against the Colts in their Week 15 matchup, and he had success, as well, returning four kickoffs for 124 yards for an average of 31 yards per return. Included in that was a 40-yard return. But it was all for naught, as Indianapolis went into Minneapolis and dominated all-around in its 34-6 victory. Patterson — who also had five catches for 49 yards in the game — finished 2016 with 25 kickoff returns for 792 yards — an average of more than 31 yards per return — with a 104-yard return touchdown.

• Punt returner — Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs:
Hill showed off his skills as an all-around threat in the Chiefs’ Week 8 win against the Colts. He had five receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown, one rush for seven yards, and returned a kickoff 21 yards. As a punt returner, Hill also had a nice day, returning three punts for 57 yards, an average of 19 yards per return, and had a 28-yard return in the contest. For the season, Hill returned 39 punts for 592 yards (an average of 15.2 yards per return) and two touchdowns, including a 95-yard scamper.

Second team:

• Flex — Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers: Both Brown and Bell were doing their thing against the Colts on Thanksgiving Night. Bell ran the ball 23 times for 120 yards — an average of 5.2 yards per carry — and had a five-yard touchdown run with about nine minutes to go in the first quarter to kick off the scoring for the Steelers. Bell, who was suspended the first four games of the season, finished his 2016 season with 261 rushes for 1,268 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and seven rushing touchdowns, as well as 75 receptions for 616 yards and two scores via the pass.

• Left tackle — David Bakhitari, Green Bay Packers:
The Packers found much success on offense in their Week 9 matchup against the Colts at Lambeau Field, but the Green Bay defense really faltered, especially down the stretch, and Indianapolis left with a 31-26 victory. Bakhitari helped paved the way for 297 yards passing with three touchdowns for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, while the Packers ran the ball just 19 times, but collected 116 yards for a 6.1 yards-per-carry average. Rodgers was sacked three times in the game.

• Right tackle — Mitchell Schwartz, Kansas City Chiefs:
The Chiefs racked up 422 total yards in their Week 8 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, and Schwartz was a huge part of that. The biggest contribution came in the passing game, as Foles and Smith combined to throw for 350 yards and three touchdowns (though they were sacked a combined three times), while the run game produced just 88 total yards.

• Right guard — David DeCastro, Pittsburgh Steelers:
No. 66 helped the Steelers jump out to 1 21-7 halftime lead, and they wouldn’t look back from there in their 28-7 victory on Thanksgiving Night. DeCastro was part of line that did not allow a single sack on quarterback Ben Roethelisberger, who completed an efficient 14-of-20 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns, while the Steelers’ run game, led by Bell, collected 148 yards and a 5.1 yards-per-carry average.

• Edge rusher — Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans:
Clowney really began to come into his own in 2016 with J.J. Watt shelved all season with a back injury, collecting 52 tackles, six sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble. In his two game against the Colts this season, both Houston wins, Clowney had seven tackles and one sack, in which he forced a fumble on quarterback Andrew Luck in the red zone to preserve a late-season win.

• Linebacker — Whitney Mercilus, Houston Texans:
Mercilus also stepped up his game with Watt out for the Texans, as he totaled 53 tackles, 7.5 sacks and a forced fumble on the year. Against the Colts, he tallied nine total tackles — tied for the most against any opponent in 2016 — with a sack and a pass defensed.

• Linebacker — Benardrick McKinney, Houston Texans:
McKinney was a tackling machine in his second year in the league in 2016, as he had 129 combined stops to go along with five sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble. He saved his best for the Texans’ two games against the Colts, as he had 20 total tackles — his most against any team in 2016 — with a sack and a pass defensed.

• Cornerback — Casey Hayward, San Diego Chargers:
Hayward was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the Chargers this season, as the fifth-year Vanderbilt product had a career-best seven interceptions (and a defensive touchdown) to go with 58 tackles and 20 passes defensed. In a loss to the Colts Week 3 in Indy, Hayward had an interception (that he returned 21 yards) to go with three tackles and a pass defensed.

• Safety — Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay Packers:
Clinton-Dix had one of his best all-around performances against the Colts in Week 9, though Indianapolis would get the last laugh, escaping Lambeau Field with a 31-26 victory. In the game, Clinton-Dix had two first-quarter interceptions and also shared a sack. On the year, Clinton-Dix had 80 total tackles with a career-high five interceptions to go along with 0.5 sacks and seven passes defensed.

• Punter — Marquette King, Oakland Raiders:
King punted five times for an average of 47 yards — with a net average of 37 yards — with two touchbacks and one punt placed inside the 20-yard line in the Raiders’ Week 16 victory over the Colts in Oakland. For the season, King’s 48.6-yard average ranked second in the NFL to to McAfee’s 49.3 average, while his net average of 41.4 yards ranked eighth in the league.

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