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Colts Notebook: Brazill Makes Plays and Colts Misfire on 3rd Quarter Drives

Posted Jan 12, 2014

Intro: The Colts/Patriots Notebook looks at LaVon Brazill tying a career-high with two touchdowns on Saturday night. The notebook also examines a pair of third-quarter drives the Colts had in hopes of tying the game.



Brazill Benefits From Extra Attention Towards Hilton— The Colts wide receivers knew what was coming on Saturday night.

Stopping T.Y. Hilton was priority No. 1 for the Patriots defense and that would mean other opportunities for the Colts young receivers.

LaVon Brazill took full advantage of those chances scoring both of the Colts touchdowns on Saturday.

With Patriots Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib shadowing Hilton and help over the top, Brazill knew he would have one-on-one matchups that needed to be won.

He did just that with 4:43 to go in the first quarter.

The Colts faced a first-and-10 from the Patriots 38-yard line when Brazill (slot) and Hilton (wide) lined up on the right side of the formation (short side of the field).

Brazill ran an out-and-up and got enough separation from Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard.

Andrew Luck delivered a perfect strike to Brazill and the second-year receiver made the catch in traffic down the right sideline.

 

In the third quarter, Brazill once again benefited from the extra attention towards Hilton.

After Hilton hauled in a 46-yard reception, the Colts were on the New England 35-yard line.

Brazill and Hilton lined up in a tight receiver set to the right of the formation.

During the 2012 training camp, Reggie Wayne called Brazill the fastest of the Colts wide receivers and that speed was evident on this play.

Brazill got free release off the line of scrimmage and faked a corner route to get Patriots safety Devin McCourty leaning the wrong way.

From there, Brazill was free down the middle of the field for the 35-yard touchdown to bring the Colts to within seven points at 29-22.

The two touchdowns for Brazill tied a career-high (two against Cincinnati on Dec. 8) and he finished the 2013 postseason with six catches for 127 yards.

“I think I did pretty well out there,” Brazill said after the game. “I gave it my all and everything I had. I am just sad we finished out like this.

“They were doubling T.Y. [Hilton] and I was just trying to take pressure off of him and then there was two men on me. That is a good defense and a good team and I tip my hat to them.”

Chances Go Array in Second Half—Despite the first half struggles and inefficiency in the red zone, the Colts twice had the ball with a chance to tie the game in the third quarter.

Following Brazill’s second touchdown, the Colts defense forced a three-and-out and the offense took over at the Indianapolis 30-yard line down 29-22.

On the first of the two potential game-tying drive, it was a sack that would undo the series.

Patriots rookie linebacker Jamie Collins executed a perfectly time blitzed and sacked Luck for an eight-yard loss on a second-and-eight.

Now facing a third-and-16, Luck’s pass attempt to Griff Whalen fell incomplete as the former Stanford receiver was blanketed by Patriots rookie cornerback Logan Ryan.

The Colts defense would stand tall again though and forced another three-and-out.

This time Indianapolis took over at it’s own 12-yard line late in the third quarter.

A first down run by Donald Brown pushed the Colts out of the shadow of the goal line but the drive would stall there.

Patriots defensive tackle Joe Vellano tripped Luck on a second-and-nine for a one-yard sack.

A third-and-10 pass to Brazill fell incomplete and the Colts punt unit was back on the field.

Following the punt, Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount rumbled 73 yards for a touchdown and the Colts could not cut the deficit the rest of the way.

“Even though it was ugly and we made some mistakes we were still only a touchdown away,” defensive end Cory Redding said after the game.

“We’ve been in that situation before and pulled it out, but again, mistakes, the little stuff you can overcome during the season but not in the playoffs when you’re playing a good team like New England.”

Throughout the 2013 season, the Colts have routinely shown an ability to erase multiple-possession leads but in a hostile environment Saturday night, this deficit was too much to overcome.

“We’ve been able to do it many times before, but we knew we couldn’t dig ourselves a hole and again,” Chuck Pagano said after the game.

“I look at it in the third quarter, we got it to a one-score game. We moved the ball; we just couldn’t finish in the red area. We had to settle for some field goals and didn’t score touchdowns.”

Following Saturday night’s Divisional Round loss, it was understandably tough for any member of the Colts to look big picture at a season that included a playoff victory.

“We overcame a ton of adversity, ton of injuries,” Pagano said. “We are going to get a bunch of guys back [next season]. We are building a program for sustained success and we’re headed in the right direction. We took another step this year and certainly a lot to be proud of. I told those guys to hold their heads high and be proud of what they did because there’s a lot of really good things and a lot of young guys have got better and you know some guys had some really good seasons. Kind of bitter, bitter way to finish, obviously, but we’ll move on and we’ll keep going and we’ll get better.”


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