The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Sports

January 9, 2014

All eyes on T.Y.

(Continued)

By the time he reached the end zone, the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd was at full roar. Hilton leapt into the air and spiked the football, creating an image from the game nearly as iconic as his quarterback's dive into the same end zone after a fumble recovery.

No one on the Indianapolis sideline was particularly surprised it was Hilton who made the day's game-breaking play.

"His preparation is really impressive," Luck said. "He's not just an athlete. He's not just a 'playground-go-make-a-play' guy. He's a football player. He's a professional. He was always in Reggie's ear last year about how to do things. He's always in his ear this year, still. It's been really fun to play with him."

Not so much fun to play against him.

This season, he became the first Indianapolis wide receiver other than Wayne or Marvin Harrison to have a 1,000-yard season since Brandon Stokley in 2004. He finished with 1,083 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 13.2 yards per reception.

He had 14 catches for 251 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games after Wayne was lost for the season on Oct. 20. But defenses adjusted, and first-year offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton had to find new ways to get the ball into his most dangerous offensive weapon's hands.

As the win against Kansas City showed, that process is moving along nicely. But now the wide receiver finds himself squarely in Belichick's crosshairs.

"He's obviously had a real productive season," the Patriots head coach said. "He's pretty dangerous on everything. He's caught long passes, intermediate passes, short catch-and-run plays. He's very quick, fast, explosive, good with the ball in his hands. Runs good routes. Hard guy to tackle. So he can beat you in a lot of different ways."

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