Ever wonder why they call T.Y. Hilton “The Ghost”? Just ask the torched Chicago Bears secondary that gave up 10 receptions, 171 receiving yards and one touchdown to the Indianapolis Colts’ star receiver.
Even without Donte Moncrief on the field, the Colts looked as explosive as ever on Sunday thanks to an electrifying performance from Hilton. It really was like witnessing an apparition on the field as he seemingly moved through the defensive coverages unnoticed. Any other explanation outside of it simply being another bad defensive day for the Bears might require a Catholic priest.
The Bears had no answers for Hilton running roughshod over their defense and accounting for more than half of quarterback Andrew Luck’s 322 passing yards. Colts tight end Dwayne Allen stepped up and hauled in six catches for 50 yards and one touchdown, and backup receivers Quan Bray, Phillip Dorsett and Chester Rogers added a little over a handful of combined catches as well.
But Sunday belonged to Hilton.
The lasting image of second-year cornerback Jacoby Glenn’s flummoxed and disappointed face after getting burned in one-on-one coverage for the game-winning 35-yard touchdown pass summed up the day perfectly. Hilton was the straw that broke the Bears’ back.
There is no secret that Luck is forcibly handcuffed to his favorite weapon, and the Colts’ offensive line is currently held together by fishing wire and duct tape. Luck was sacked five times in the game.
However, none of that mattered with Hilton sprinting down the field like Usain Bolt through busted coverages.
“Just beating my man,” Hilton told ESPN’s Mike Wells. “Andrew [Luck] did a great job of scrambling. Get a couple of those plays every game and we want to make sure we convert them.”
The Colts may not have an offensive line but they are proven masters at drafting receivers. It’s not even fair to think that the team went from Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne to Hilton. When speaking with media members after the game, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano looked as happy for Hilton as he was for the team to finally be back in the win column.
“Players come and go and now it’s T.Y.’s room now, and he’s the leader of that room. He’s doing a great job on the field. He’s doing a great job at practice. He does a great job with the young guys and he’s preparing and practicing better than he’s ever had. That’s what happens year after year in this league and you become such a better pro and your habits and everything tend to grow. You have to be willing. You have to make the right choice to do that and he has, and it’s obviously come at a great time and we need that leadership from him.”
The Colts will eventually need Moncrief back on the field if the team hopes to contend for the AFC South division title. There are far better defenses across the league than the Bears, and while Hilton is one of the premier players at his position, he will eventually come across teams better equipped to limit his production. Other players will have to step up and make plays when that happens.
But until it does, you might as well pull up a chair and grab a bag of popcorn because there isn’t a better show on Earth right now than the Luck and Hilton show.
Just take it all in.