Reggie Wayne’s Veteran Leadership Beginning To Show for Colts Offense
Reggie Wayne has been making his resume look better and better once he retires and gets his plea to Canton. The Indianapolis Colts wide receiver has shown himself as the veteran leader of the team’s offense, paving the way for rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to be a successful player in this league.
Wayne definitely came to play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, helping the Colts stun the team that went 15-1 last season by winning in a stunning fashion, 30-27. We could not have seen a better game from the veteran player at this age, as the 33-year-old is fitting nicely into the Marvin Harrison type of role that he has played under this season.
Wayne must’ve gotten hit hard with the latest Chuck Pagano news the hardest out of anyone on the team’s roster, knowing the rookie head coach for over 16 years as Wayne had him as one of his coaches back in his playing days at the University of Miami.
Wayne and the rest of the Colts team played hard for their coach who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. With it being treatable, Pagano will have to be out for at least six-to-eight weeks, which most likely means he’s out for coaching this whole regular season.
The Colts were firing on all cylinders, with their defense stepping up when they needed it most, stopping Aaron Rodgers from dictating the course of the game. The one-two punch combo of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis got their share of sacks and provided pressure to the Packers quarterback when the team needed it the most.
The run game was on point, with running back Donald Brown getting 84 yards off of 17 carries, along with getting a very important two-point conversion at the end of the game to put Indy up 30-27. Luck also had his share of running the ball, getting key first downs to keep the scoring drives alive, especially on the last one.
But Wayne did was just miraculous. It was just out of this world. In the first half, Wayne helped set up the Colts’ first scoring-drive with a spectacular one-handed catch at the goal-line. After this, the Colts would put their first points up on the scoreboard and trailed 14-3. But it really didn’t look so pretty after that and they trailed 21-3 at halftime.
It was disappointing to watch, because many expected motivation from this team. The only person doing enough was Wayne, who had six catches for 104 yards already at halftime. Offensive coordinator and interim head coach Bruce Arians must have said something that motivated this squad in the locker room, because Indianapolis looked like a totally different team heading into the second half.
Motivation was there. Pride, determination. It was all in them and the adrenaline was running. Nothing was going to stop them, which led to them scoring 16 unanswered points to finish off the third quarter. They would end up leading with eight minutes left in the game, 22-21, making a huge comeback.
Green Bay would end up responding, thanks to an eight-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to James Jones, his second of the game. A failure of the two-point conversion gave the Colts enough time — four minutes — to score a touchdown and take the lead. And they did just that.
Luck would find Wayne FIVE times on the drive, including an amazing, leaping one on 3rd-and-12 to keep the drive alive with 1:48 remaining. With 35 seconds left, Luck would find Wayne on 1st-and-goal for a four-yard touchdown to take a 28-27 lead. An aforementioned Brown two-point conversion would put them up 30-27.
The Packers were able to get down the field on their next drive, but kicker Mason Crosby missed a 51-yard field goal wide-left with three seconds remaining, giving the Colts a victory. With that, the Colts are a .500 team, improving to 2-2 and forcing the Packers to fall to 2-3.
All the thanks can go to Wayne. Luck completed 39-percent of his completions all to Wayne, along with 59-percent of his passing yards all to Wayne. Wayne would finish with 12 catches for 212 yards and a touchdown, having one of the best games for a Colts wide receiver and probably the best game of the week for any one.
Wayne is becoming that guy, the No. 1 receiving veteran, filling in nicely for the Harrison role he witnessed during his earlier years as a Colt. Watching Harrison making big catches from 2004-2008 and making fans go in awe, Wayne is experiencing what it’s like now. His veteran leadership is showing.
And it can go a long way for this season.
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