INDIANAPOLIS – On a day when the Colts inducted two of their own into the Ring of Honor,
Thanks to padding his NFL record with a 42nd strip/sack, Mathis added another bullet point to his Hall of Fame resume.
Mathis’ third quarter sack of Texans quarterback Case Keenum gave him a Colts season record of 16.5 sacks and a franchise record of 108.0 sacks, breaking marks previously held by Dwight Freeney.
In typical Mathis fashion, the soon to be six-time Pro Bowler deflected any attention of his record-breaking sack away from himself.
“Hard work paying off. D-line, my counterparts, they take pride in helping me get to the quarterback. To have a good crop of DBs to give us that extra second.” the Colts new all-time sack leader said after the 25-3 win.
“It’s enjoyable. The fact that we got the win is most important.”
The sack came in the end zone where Mathis had another signature takedown a few months back against the then undefeated Denver Broncos.
With 1:59 remaining in the third quarter on Sunday, the Texans took over at their own seven-yard line.
Mathis lined up across left tackle Duane Brown and knew it would take some perseverance to get around the All-Pro.
As Keenum rolled out to his right, Mathis eventually beat Brown up field and his patented tomahawk chop gave him his NFL-leading 16.5 sack in 2013.
Some “freestyle” barrel rolls in the end zone ensued by No. 98 before a standing ovation came from the 65,470 in attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium
“I enjoyed it to the upmost,” Mathis said of the crowd’s cheer. “Never take it for granted because it is such an accomplishment. I’m just happy to have it."
Colts teammates flocked to Mathis when he returned to the sidelines serving as another sign of what the 11-year veteran means to the AFC South Champs.
“He’s everything you could ask for in a leader, in a locker room guy, in a veteran, the example he sets, his work ethic,” quarterback
“I feel honored to just be in the stadium and to get to see that happen and be able to give him a high five. He’s one of those guys that all the great things that happen, he deserves because he puts the work in. He does go the extra mile for it. Happy to watch that and maybe years from now be able to tell grandkids that I played with Robert Mathis.”
The only glimpse of reflection Mathis offered after the win was maybe one day sitting down with his sons and looking back on the growing list of accomplishments.
For now though, “it’s all about getting to New York” Mathis said of the Super Bowl XLVIII site.
A few minutes after Mathis “New York” statement, he exited the Colts locker room clutching one more game ball.
One day, several years from now, Mathis will return to Lucas Oil Stadium for his own Ring of Honor celebration.
And if his head coach has a say, there will be a larger induction for Mathis.
“(Mathis) should be, in my opinion and probably everybody else’s opinion that’s a Colts fan and part of this organization, should be in the conversation someday to be in the Hall of Fame,” Chuck Pagano said after handing the game ball to Mathis.
“Doing what he’s done for as long as period that he’s done and the records that he has, who knows. I don’t know, we’ll see. He’s got my vote. I don’t have one, but he’s got it anyway.”