NFL Indianapolis Colts

5 Reasons Why T.Y. Hilton’s 2012 Season Was a Fluke

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5 Reasons T.Y. Hilton's 2012 Season Was a Fluke

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

T.Y. Hilton had a breakout season for the Indianapolis Colts, but he won't replicate that success.

Hilton was 30th in the NFL with 861 receiving yards, thanks in large part to his 17.2 yards per catch average. On numerous occasions, he could be seen flying down the field en route to the end zone after a dump-off and busted coverage. His speed was enough for him to be successful when no one expected it, but now that teams know they can’t let him get free, it will be much more difficult for Hilton to have the same success he did last season.

Almost half of Hilton’s yards came after the catch, which shows that he was able to make the most of his opportunities. He’s going to draw much speedier coverage in 2013, and will have to improve his route-running abilities in order to become a more well-rounded receiver.

The Colts’ schedule was one of the easiest in the league last year. They played 10 games against teams with losing records, including four games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans, who combined for just eight wins.

Hilton never recorded more than six catches in a game, so he was dependent on the big plays to be successful. He’s similar in stature to Wes Welker, but didn’t show the same type of consistency. His first year in the league was certainly a success, but he’ll be a part of his opponent’s defensive game plan now, which will make it much more difficult to get free.

David Fouty is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @davefouty

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He's not getting any faster

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

At 5-foot-9, Hilton isn't going to break many tackles because of his physicality. His speed is his greatest asset, and people don't generally get more of that the longer they play in the league.

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Yardage skewed by big plays

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Hilton's 861 total yards ranked him 30th in the NFL, but most of that was dependent on big plays. He earned over 50 percent of his total yardage for a game in one catch on 11 occasions. The most catches he had in a game was six.

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Dependent on broken plays

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Many of Hilton's big plays came after Andrew Luck bought time and dumped the ball off to him. He wasn't known for his route-running as much as he was being able to break tackles and slip through the cracks.

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Weak schedule

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts played ten games against teams under .500. They also play in one of the weaker divisions in football. The AFC South includes the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars, who combined for a -330 point spread in 2012.

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Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Hilton had three catches or fewer on nine occasions during the 2012 regular season. He had four 100-yard games, but three of them came in a six-week span.