Colts Film Breakdown: 4th & 2 Turns Into Long T.Y. Hilton Touchdown

Posted Dec 5, 2017

Intro: Each week, will take a look at a significant play from the previous week’s contest. This week’s installment examines wide receiver T.Y. Hilton’s 40-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter of Sunday’s Week 13 matchup against the Jaguars in Jacksonville.

INDIANAPOLIS — This week’s film breakdown looks at Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver T.Y. Hilton — on 4th and 2, no less — midway through the third quarter in Sunday’s 30-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field.

Here’s the All-22 of the play:


Already down 21 points midway through the third quarter of Sunday’s AFC South Division matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano really had no other choice but to go for it when his offense faced a 4th and 2 from the Jacksonville 40-yard line. Sure, kicker Adam Vinatieri could attempt, and hit, a 58-yard field goal attempt, but time was ticking, and, especially on the road, the Colts knew their best shot of mounting any sort of comeback attempt, at that point, was to somehow find the end zone (and despite the fact the Colts came into Sunday’s game a combined 0-for-6 on fourth down attempts).

Despite needing just two yards to convert the first down, the Colts come out in a shotgun formation with four total receivers — two on each side (with tight end Jack Doyle lined up out wide to the right) — and with running back Frank Gore lined up to the left of quarterback Jacoby Brissett. The Jaguars, who usually employ a 4-3 defense (with four defensive linemen and three linebackers), respond with their nickel defense, with four defensive linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs. Before taking the snap, Brissett puts Doyle in motion to his left to bunch up behind wide receiver Chester Rogers, and we know Jacksonville is in man-to-man coverage, because safety Tashaun Gipson follows the tight end to his new spot.


On the snap, the Jaguars send four towards the quarterback, giving Brissett time to scan the field through his first few reads. Initially, the quarterback peeks over to his right to his primary security blanket, Doyle, who is running an out route a couple yards past the first-down marker, but he’s blanketed by Gipson. So Brissett turns to his left and eyes wide receiver Donte Moncrief, who is sitting wide open near the left hashmark at the 37-yard line — which would be just good enough for the first down. Because he first looked at Moncrief, however, cornerback A.J. Bouye — who is covering T.Y. Hilton on the same side, but keeps his main focus on Brissett — tries to read the quarterback’s eyes, and abandons his man, Hilton, to try to get a break on Moncrief. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, then, doesn’t switch in time to cover Hilton, who has gotten open on a simple dig route at the 27. By now, however, Brissett needs to hurry — defensive lineman Calais Campbell, who is third in the league with 12.5 sacks — has gotten by right tackle Denzelle Good and is quickly bearing down on the quarterback. Brissett releases his throw just as he’s wrapped up and brought to the ground by Campbell, and throws a pass over the middle just out of the reach of inside linebacker Paul Posluszny, who is shadowing Brissett’s every move to make sure he can’t escape the pocket and convert the fourth down on his own.


The rest of the play is the product of Hilton’s top-end speed, as well as some blocking help down the field from Rogers. Hilton, as he’s done so often in his career, is able to snake around at least three members of the Jaguars’ secondary to find an opening to the end zone, getting up to 18.1 miles per hour at the height of his sprint, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Rogers, meanwhile, seals off cornerback Aaron Colvin and prevents him from even having a shot at Hilton in the final stretch of his run to complete the 40-yard passing play. Hilton, who finished with three receptions for 51 yards, now has 41 receptions for a team-best 791 yards and four touchdowns on the year, and averaging a Colts’ best 19.3 yards per reception.

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