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THE BUTLER DELIVERS

Posted Nov 8, 2012

Colts cornerback Darius Butler turned in arguably the finest game of his career with three takeaways. Butler’s 11-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter gave the Colts a 24-3 lead in a game it would win over Jacksonville, 27-10.

INDIANAPOLIS – Week-after-week Bruce Arians and Colts defenders assured observers that it was only a matter of time before the turnovers piled up.

 

That time came Thursday night, and it was from a player who was not even on the Colts’ roster in the first meeting between Indianapolis and Jacksonville in late September.

 

Cornerback Darius Butler accounted for all three Colts turnovers, including an 11-yard interception return for a touchdown on the Jaguars’ second play of the second half, as Indianapolis prevailed in a divisional contest, 27-10.

 

“Coaches did a great job of preparing us, and I just anticipated a quick gain because they were in a backed up situation,” Butler said to Colts Radio of the touchdown.  “I got a good read on the quarterback, a good read on the receiver and took a chance.”

 

Butler added a fumble recovery in the first half and capped the night for the defense with a late fourth-quarter interception, thanks to a tipped pass by several Colts defenders.  Butler returned the second interception 51 yards.

 

For the first half the season, the Colts created just three turnovers but equaled that amount in four quarters on Thursday.

 

“It’s frustrating playing, doing the right things and not getting the ball,” Butler said.  “We knew we just had to stay the course, do our fundamentals and techniques and they would start coming.  Today they came.”

 

When cornerback Jerraud Powers went down with a toe injury late in the win over Miami last weekend, Butler stepped into the lineup with some crucial fourth-quarter pass breakups.

 

With starting cornerback Vontae Davis already out of the lineup, the night belonged to Butler and Cassius Vaughn at the other cornerback position.

 

“It felt great to go out there and get an opportunity to start,” Butler said.  “You always preach ‘Next Man Up,’ and Powers went down last week and I had an opportunity to come in and make some plays.  I’m glad I was able to help the team win.”

 

Both Arians and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky have not been putting an extra emphasis on creating turnovers, knowing the patience eventually would be rewarded.

 

The unit’s hard work paid off thanks to the play of Butler.

 

“He’s been given a great opportunity, and he’s going to maximize it,” Arians said. “That’s what ‘Next Man Up’ is all about, two big plays.  The first pick six was exactly what we needed.  I think that was the whole ball game.”

 

It was a complete effort by the Colts defense all night, and it started with the unit continuing to shut down the opponent’s rushing attack.

 

A common theme during the Colts’ four-game winning streak has been forcing the opposing offense to become one-dimensional, and that happened again on Thursday night.

 

Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings was limited to 27 yards on 11 carries as the Colts’ defense kept Jacksonville to just 1-of-10 on third downs.

 

Even without 2012 sack leader Robert Mathis, the pass rush turned in another impressive effort with four sacks on the evening.

 

Outside linebacker Jerry Hughes recorded his fourth sack of the season and the Colts added three more from the secondary (safety Antoine Bethea, cornerback Josh Gordy, safety Tom Zbikowski).

 

Now, the Colts and Butler (drafted by New England in 2009) will return to Foxborough next Sunday for a 4:25 p.m. kickoff against the Patriots.

 

“We got the sixth win, which is the biggest thing, and now we’re going up to New England,” Butler said.  “They’re always a great opponent, and I can’t wait to get back up there.  A couple extra days to prepare for (Tom) Brady won’t hurt.”

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