Colts’ T.Y. Hilton: ‘Guarantee I’ll make plays’ vs. Chargers
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Finally, T.Y. Hilton said it. He used the “G’’ word.
He was disappointed when he discovered colleague Donte Moncrief would miss at least a month with a fractured left scapula.
“That’s my little brother, my next-door neighbor,’’ Hilton said Wednesday. “It was hard.’’
He acknowledged everyone, starting with himself, would have to pick up the slack while Moncrief mends. No surgery is required.
“I told him, ‘Don’t worry, we got ya,’’’ Hilton said.
Then, Hilton took it much, much further.
If the Indianapolis Colts are to avoid what would be a debilitating 0-3 start – they entertain San Diego Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium – the load falls on squarely him.
“I’ve just got to make plays for my team,’’ Hilton said. “We’re 0-2 and we can’t go down 0-3.
“I have to make plays. I guarantee I’ll make plays.’’
Through two weeks, that hasn’t been the case. Hilton is tied for 47th in the league with 120 yards and tied for 36th with 10 receptions. Only one of his catches has gained more than 20 yards, a 32-yarder at Denver.
To the point, he’s been very un-Hilton-like. He came into the season averaging 15.6 yards per catch, seventh-best in club history among players with at least 100 receptions. After two games, he’s been quiet, at 12.0.
Hilton insisted the problem hasn’t been the play-calling of coordinator Rob Chudzinski. He’s been targeted 23 times, tied for second-most in the league behind Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans (24). But Hilton’s catch percentage (43.5) lags.
“Chud’s done a great job of trying to get me the ball,’’ Hilton said. “My main thing is I have to make plays . . . 0-2, we shouldn’t be here.’’
Andrew Luck has yet to find his comfort zone with his two-time Pro Bowl receiver. His passer rating when targeting Hilton: 60.1.
“For me, it’s personal. I didn’t make enough plays last week, the week before,’’ Hilton said. “When the ball’s thrown, continue to make plays. I think I had 41 yards (at Denver).
“I feel sorry for this week right here. I’m comin’ out guns blazin’. Just gotta make plays.’’
While Hilton admitted he’s displeased with his slow starts, it’s nothing new. He had 11 catches for 133 yards in the first two games last season and 11 catches for 106 yards in ’14. In ’13, he opened with nine receptions and 144 yards.
“I’ve started off slow, but as long as I’m patient, it’s going to happen,’’ Hilton said. “We know it’s there. It’s me. Just gotta make the plays.’’
As much as Hilton plans to return to his game-breaking ways against the Chargers, the Colts undoubtedly need help from several areas while Moncrief heals. They signed Devin Street off New England’s practice squad, and he joins Phillip Dorsett, Chester Rogers and Quan Bray.
It remains a top-heavy position in terms of experience and productivity.
Hilton has 293 receptions for 4,533 yards and 24 touchdowns. The rest are in the prove-it stage of their career.
Dorsett, the Colts’ 2015 first-round draft pick, has 23 receptions, 349 yards and one touchdown in 13 games. Street had nine catches for 132 yards and one TD in 31 games with the Patriots.
Bray caught his first NFL pass last week at Denver. Rogers still is looking for that first reception.
With so much inexperience, it’s up to Hilton and Dorsett to provide Luck with reliable hands.
“It’s unfortunate Donte got hurt, but people just gotta step up,’’ said Dorsett, whose rookie season – 14 catches, 197 yards – was impacted by a broken leg. “I’ve got to step up. That’s something I know I’m willing and capable of doing.
“I’m light years better than I was before I got hurt last year.’’