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Divisional Round Notebook: Thursday Edition

Intro: Throughout the course of the playoffs, will publish daily notebooks addressing some key points heading into that week’s contest. Today’s notebook looks at Andrew Luck’s ability to erase double-digit deficits, T.Y. Hilton vs. Aqib Talib and the Colts injury report heading into Saturday.





Pep Hamilton on Andrew Luck's Amnesia—What Colts fans have seen up close the last two seasons, Pep Hamilton witnessed first hand back in the fall of 2011.

The then No. 6 ranked Stanford Cardinal were playing a road game at USC in trying to keep their undefeated season alive.

It looked as though Stanford would suffer its first blemish of the year when Andrew Luck threw a pick six with just over three minutes remaining.

However, what kicked into Luck after the turnover is something that has carried over to the NFL.

Down by seven points, Luck blocked out his recent mistake and instead led the Cardinal on a 10-play, 76-yard drive accounting for 48 yards. Stanford would eventually tie the game on the drive and outlasted the Trojans in a three-overtime victory.

Hamilton, who was the then Stanford offensive coordinator, said Luck "willed his team to victory" on that October evening.

"I think it's his ability to really have amnesia as far as what happened the previous play and to move on and learn from your mistakes but not dwell on it," Hamilton says.

"That's the only way that you can bounce back and really have the focus and then have the nerve to continue to make those throws that he made with the appropriate timing as we would use in the meeting room."

No one inside the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center building has shared a film room with Luck longer than Hamilton.

The selective amnesia that Luck continually shows is a trait that is hard to measure in any box score.

Instead, Hamilton points to the weekly preparation that Luck undergoes each week which has allowed him to erase double-digit deficits seven times in his two NFL seasons.

"(Luck) takes more of a quantitative approach to the game in how he prepares. He's really into the stats, not his stats per se, but their tendencies," Hamilton says.

"That's part of how he programs himself, to be able to go out and through a process of elimination say 'Hey, this is what we expect on this play. Alright, this is my starting point.' Or this is how we help ourselves to get into the right play. That's one thing that I think he's always done a really good job of, really just having his own process of getting himself ready to play the game."


Hilton Ready for Challenge of Aqib Talib—What T.Y. Hilton has done to the secondaries of Jacksonville and Kansas City the last two weeks will give those players nightmares during the 2014 offseason.

Hilton has caught 24 passes for 379 yards over the past two weeks and now he will encounter a head coach that is known for taking away the opposing team's top offensive weapon.

By all accounts that man is Hilton for the Colts and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton is confident in his full set of skill weapons.

"I feel like our players give us the latitude to be diverse in their schemes, to find different ways to move guys around, to feature different matchups," Hamilton says.

"If it's T.Y., if it's Coby (Fleener), if it's Da'Rick (Rogers), if it's LaVon (Brazill), if it's Griff (Whalen), maybe one of our backs. We've said since day one, there's no can't-dos. Now is the time for us to let our hair down and let it all hang out. We're not saving plays. We're not saving any of our bullets, should I say. We got to be ready to do whatever we need to take to score touchdowns."

Hilton said earlier this week that he expects Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib (6-1, 205 pounds) to shadow him on Saturday night.

Talib, who is known for his physical play, called Hilton a "burner" this week.

Over the past few weeks, the Colts have continued to move Hilton around offensive formations and it's a credit to what the "burner" has done in the classroom for his recent record-setting games.

"He's a guy that takes a tremendous amount of pride in knowing what to do and knowing how to do it. He's shown that he can actually go out and do it on a consistent basis.

Health Looking Good For a Second Straight Week—The Colts injury report had 52 of their 53 active players practice on Thursday in their final on-field work of the week.

Chuck Pagano said Thursday afternoon that Darrius Heyward-Bey would "probably" not play this weekend as he did not practice all week.

LaRon Landry was a full participant at practice for a second straight day and will undergo one final concussion protocol before being cleared for Saturday night's divisional matchup.

One position that was something to watch last week was the Colts defensive line.

Cory Redding and Ricky Jean Francois returned from injury to start against the Chiefs, while Fili Moala was placed on injured reserve.

Jean Francois returned from his plantar fascia injury and played an impressive 60 snaps (72 percent of his defensive snaps) against the Chiefs.

"One thing about having the injury is you've got to break that mental stage. Will it hurt again?," Jean Francois said on Thursday.

"You already knew what the pain felt like. My guys were like, 'Come out here. You've got a whole offseason get back. But right now you've got to come have fun with us.' And I'm happy I played because I was apart of THE or one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history."

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