HOUSTON — It only took 13 games, but Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron now stands alone in team history in his first season in Indianapolis.
Ebron has broken Dallas Clark's team record of 11 receiving touchdowns in a single season by a tight end, which was set in 2007.
With his 14-yard touchdown catch against the Houston Texans in the second quarter on Sunday, Ebron reached 12 receiving touchdowns on the season — he added another touchdown on a two-yard carry against the Jacksonville Jaguars back in Week 10.
Ebron broke Clark's record for overall touchdowns two weeks ago when he scored his 11th and 12th touchdowns of the season against the Miami Dolphins.
With Sunday's touchdown, Ebron is also now tied with Vernon Davis, Tyler Eifert and Antonio Gates for the third-most overall touchdowns by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.
With fellow starting tight end Jack Doyle landing on injured reserve two weeks ago with a kidney injury, Ebron's role has naturally expanded, as he saw a career-high 16 targets last week against Jacksonville. The Colts were without Doyle for five games earlier this season while he nursed a hip injury, and Ebron saw an average 10.0 targets per game as opposed to 3.7 targets when both he and Doyle play.
The Colts hoped that Ebron would give them a dangerous mismatch on offense, but they didn't envision him having the volume of scores that he's accumulated thus far.
"That's a lot. Yeah, I don't know if you can ever predict that because he has just been hot. When he gets an opportunity to make the play, he makes the play," Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni told reporters recently.
"He's really just a phenomenal playmaker. I can't tell you I expected 11 touchdowns – if you had said 11 touchdowns through 11 games I would have been, 'Yeah, let's take it.' I can't tell you I expected that. I knew he would be a good playmaker for us, I knew he would make his share of plays, but what he has done is pretty – obviously, with this great, storied franchise it's historic. I think he tied Dallas Clark's franchise record. Just to be mentioned – I know Eric (Ebron) will tell you the same thing, to be mentioned in the same name as Dallas Clark and the things that he did for this city and for this football team is truly an honor for our entire group. Because again, I do think all the records are a group effort from Andrew (Luck) to the offensive line to the running backs to the wide receivers. Yeah, it's pretty remarkable what he has done."
Ebron said "it's crazy" to even be mentioned in the same conversation as a great at his position like Clark. The two just missed being able to meet each other a few weeks back when Clark was in town for Reggie Wayne's induction into the team's Ring of Honor.
"I was a little bit upset that I didn't get to meet him due to the game and things like that," Ebron said of Clark. "I'm pretty sure he had family in town and I didn't get to meet him, but I wanted to because when I was growing up, one of the tight ends that you heard about all the time was Dallas Clark. No gloves, taped fingers and he goes out there and he gets it. So for me to be on his heels, it's impressive. Hopefully I can just keep it going and stay healthy."