Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson traded back into the
bottom of the third round to select the Florida International star because
he saw a player with game-breaking speed.
During Sunday’s crucial 20-13 victory against the Buffalo Bills at Lucas
Oil Stadium, the rest of the world saw it, too.
Hilton broke free for a 75-yard touchdown on a punt return in the first
quarter and added an eight-yard touchdown reception late in the third --
becoming the first player in Colts history to record that scoring combo --
as Indianapolis (7-4) strengthened its position in the AFC playoff race.
“Those things, big plays like that, normally turn games,” Bills head coach
Chan Gailey said of Hilton’s return TD, “and it certainly turned momentum
with that play.”
In a game Buffalo (4-7) likely had to win to remain a factor in the
postseason chase, Hilton’s return with 9:56 remaining in the first quarter
gave the Colts the lead. A rejuvenated pass rush, led by outside
linebackers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, helped them keep it.
“Mathis and Freeney are well known, obviously, especially at home, for
creating some havoc,” Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “They did a
really nice job. There were times when we tried to get chips on them and
just varying the snap count a little bit, not letting those guys get off
on us. I thought those guys are really good players over there, and they
did a really good job today.”
So did inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman. He led the team for the ninth
time in 11 games with 16 tackles and added one sack. His
sideline-to-sideline speed was a key factor in keeping Buffalo’s screen
game in check.
“You can’t say enough about Free,” Indianapolis interim head
coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. “He is a quality, quality
football player, and I’m sure glad he’s on our team. He’s fast, and he can
run with these guys.”