Colts Wide Receiver Happy to Score First NFL Touchdown
INDIANAPOLIS — Those impressed by Pierre Garcon's speed Monday night should see how quick the Colts' second-year wide receiver is to smile.
And Garcon still was glowing Wednesday, two days after scoring the team's game-winning touchdown against the Miami Dolphins.
Garcon's "Welcome to the NFL Moment" came with 3:18 left in the fourth quarter Monday night. Down three points with the ball at Miami's 48 yard-line, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning called for an audible at the line of scrimmage after detecting a Dolphins' blitz.
"I had been telling Peyton I was getting open, but I wasn't trying to bother him or anything," Garcon said with a smile. "I was just saying, 'Call anything you want, I know I can get open.'"
Up to that point, Garcon had zero catches on the night. Playing in his backyard in South Florida, with more than 40 friends and family in the stands and many more watching at home, Garcon said he wanted to make a big play Monday night, but had no idea it would come when it did.
"I wasn't impatient," he said. "I was making sure to get open every play, so when we went back and watched on film they would see I was doing my job."
With the clock winding down, Manning changed the play to a bubble screen for Garcon. But the Colts quarterback did not have "touchdown" on his mind when he made the audible.
"It was a call to try and move the chains," he said. "But we got good blocking downfield and Pierre has some good speed, and he showed it."
After dropping back in coverage most the night, Manning said the Dolphins tipped their hand early in the drive and began blitzing.
"They really sat back most of the game and played a lot of double-man coverage. But on the last drive, on the first play, they came on a safety blitz, so it looked like it was a little change of philosophy," he said.
Aware of the impending blitz, Manning quickly hiked the ball and fired a dart to Garcon on the right side. Garcon caught the ball and rookie wide receiver Austin Collie made the initial block so Garcon could cut up field.
Nearing the first-down marker, Garcon discovered a huge hole in front of him after center Jeff Saturday made a block and right guard Mike Pollak slowed down another Dolphins defender.
From there, number 85 displayed the type of speed his teammates and coaches have been raving about all preseason. Garcon shifted gears, hit top speed and sprinted into the end zone for the score.
The little-known receiver from Mount Union, a Division III school, had just scored his first NFL touchdown – and an eventual game-winner – on Monday Night Football.
"It was a great feeling," Garcon said. "That's what I used to do in college, and that's what helped me get here. It felt good to actually catch one and show what I've got."
The smiling receiver was not the only one ready to see him break one in a game.
"We've seen Pierre do that in practice," Colts Head Coach Caldwell said. "The exact same situation occurred one day in practice and he took it to the house.
"He's got that kind of speed, power, and he's a very tough competitor. He just keeps getting better."
Garcon – who said he had 130 text messages from friends and family after the game – said his new goal is to show that type of explosiveness he displayed on his touchdown grab every week.
"Every time I catch one, I want to get in the end zone," he said. "Now there is a little less pressure because I've been there and feel more comfortable."
With wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez still out, Garcon is aware the Colts are depending on him to help fill the void. This week, in preparation of Sunday night's game against Arizona, Garcon said he is working on his route-running, being quicker in every facet and "knowing the defense so we have a leg up."
Caldwell said he expects opposing defenses to challenge Garcon the rest of the season. To counter the extra attention, Garcon said he knows he needs to keep improving.
"A lot of people did not know exactly what kind of receiver I am, but now they know a little bit," he said. "I was doing it in college, and I'm happy to have a chance to do it here. The pressure has kind of been lifted (now that I've scored)."
Before finishing his thought, Garcon paused and then flashed his trademark as quick as his first step.
"You know, I can do more than just catch screen passes," he said.
The Colts on Wednesday announced they have re-signed second-year LB-Jordan Senn and waived second-year TE-Tom Santi.
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Portland State in 2008, Senn appeared in 15 games for the Colts as a rookie, totaling seven defensive tackles and 16 special teams tackles. He had been waived on September 7.
Santi started two of six games for the Colts as a rookie in 2008. He had 10 receptions for 64 yards with one touchdown.
The Colts issued the first injury report of the week on Wednesday, with the following all listed as did not participate in practice: LB-Gary Brackett (knee), DE-Dwight Freeney (not injury related-rested), WR-Anthony Gonzalez (knee), DB-Kelvin Hayden (hamstring), DB-Bob Sanders (knee) and LB-Clint Session (ankle).