Jonathan Newsome Gives Colts Promising Defensive Piece

Intro: Over the next week, we look at the development of rookie Jonathan Newsome and his potential going forward.

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INDIANAPOLIS – Sacks from visiting teams rarely elicit an abundance of noise from the home faithful.

But Jonathan Newsome's sack of Peyton Manning and the ramifications from it weren't your typical opposing sack.

Throughout the Colts 2014 regular season, the greatest correlation between end-game box scores and the final score lied in Indy's ability to get after the quarterback.

It's why when the Colts traveled to Denver for their Divisional Round matchup, a semblance of a pass rush was a necessity.

Newsome set the tone early in the second quarter with the score tied at seven.

Denver faced a third-and-12 from midfield, the ideal down and distance for the Colts pass rush to pin its ears back.

With running back C.J. Anderson lined up to the left of Manning, Newsome's first responsibility was the back (Anderson), if he flared out.

Once Anderson stayed in to protect (not in the direction of Newsome), the rookie's eyes got nice and wide.

"I just remember seeing Peyton all by himself and he pulled his arm back and I knew I had to make a play," Newsome told WNDE.

With Manning's body (and right arm) exposed, Newsome's sack jarred the ball loose.

The Colts would pounce on the loose ball and an offensive touchdown came from the turnover, giving the visitors a lead it would not relinquish.

"It was a huge moment for my life. I can't lie to you," Newsome said earlier this offseason.

The Colts had a 14-7 lead on the road and the Broncos would never recover.

Manning missed on his next six throws.

Boo birds rained down on the AFC's highest scoring offense, a unit that produced just six points the rest of the way.

The play was reminiscent of what Robert Mathis had done so often in 2013.

It was Mathis' strip/sack of Manning in October of 2013 that sparked 23 unanswered points from the Colts in beating the eventual AFC Champions.

In 2014, those plays were few and far between.

But on this January afternoon, with Mathis relegated to watching from home, Newsome channeled his No. 98.

Newsome's team-leading 6.5 sacks in 2014 are three more than Mathis had in his rookie season of 2003.

Comparisons of such are impossible to project down the road but Newsome is honored to be mentioned with a player he used to be in Madden.

"That's just crazy to be compared him, Dwight Freeney, all the guys I looked up to playing football," Newsome said.

"It's another surreal moment for me. I'm remaining humble, staying hungry, working hard."

*Check back with Colts.com early next week to see why the Combine made a serious difference in how the Colts viewed Jonathan Newsome.

A look back at Jonathan Newsome's rookie season with the Colts!

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