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Extra Attention Or Not, T.Y. Hilton Ready To Make Plays Sunday

Intro: In last year’s meetings with the Patriots, T.Y. Hilton wasn’t the same Pro Bowl producer we saw for so much of 2014. If the Patriots try and take away Hilton on Sunday, do the Colts have the personnel to counter?


INDIANAPOLIS – Games like Sunday are what Jim Irsay had in mind back in May.

The Colts had just put the finishing touches in adding the final piece to a wide receiver group already oozing with talent.

Phillip Dorsett was joining T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson and Donte Moncrief in the wide receiver room after the Colts plucked him with the No. 29 overall pick.

Irsay knew that a group like the one the Colts assembled this past offseason would be called upon a lot in 2015, especially for what's coming Sunday night.

"We really feel we can stress teams with our speed outside and create mismatches and come up really in elite games when it comes down to the top matchups," Irsay said during Day Three of the 2015 NFL Draft. "You have to have your third receiver beat their third cover corner."

What Irsay was alluding to back in May was byproduct of what he watched in the AFC Championship.

While the run defense was also a clear offseason priority for Indianapolis, the Colts offense had little success in exploiting matchups versus the Patriots.

In both meetings last season, Bill Belichick felt the need to give extra attention towards Colts Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton.

With Hilton double teamed, the other Colts wide receivers could not take advantage.

Indianapolis wideouts were held to two catches in 12 targets in the AFC Championship. Of Andrew Luck's 32 attempts that counted as targets that night, a minuscule number of 12 went to wide receivers.

Donte Moncrief was on that rainy field back in January and knows what needs to change on Sunday night.

"Our receiver group has to beat man. No matter what they do, we've got to beat man-to-man," Moncrief says.

"Do more after the catch. YAC (yards after catch) is our big thing this week."

The Patriots have seen some serious turnover in their secondary (their top three cornerbacks from 2014, including All-Pro Darrelle Revis, departed in the offseason).

However, past game plans aren't likely to change too much considering the success New England has had in taking away Hilton.

In two meetings last year against New England, Hilton was held to four receptions for 60 yards in 13 targets.

If the Patriots do indeed try and implement the same blueprint of safety help over the top of Hilton on Sunday, opportunities are going to be there for the other Colts skill guys.

Yet, Hilton wants some of the burden to fall on his shoulders, too, and he promises to deliver.

"We know what's coming to town," Hilton says.

"I know they're going to double me, triple me, do whatever they can to take me out of the game…In order for us to be successful, I've got to make plays."

At times in 2015, we've seen each of the Colts wideouts make critical plays.

No matter the attention on Sunday, Hilton expects to be that guy again.

"I'm going to make a lot of plays this week."

A candid look at the Colts on the road to and from Houston.

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