Last season in Week 7 Reggie Wayne went down with a season ending injury, over the next five games Andrew Luck would have three of the worst outings of his season. The Colts are more equipped to handle losing Wayne this season if he’s out for more than one game. Indianapolis has a well balanced offensive unit this time around.
Hakeem Nicks and Donte Moncrief will see extended playing time with Wayne out of the lineup. Nicks has 17 catches, 141 yards, and two touchdowns this season. He’s been on the field less the last two games, only seeing one target and not recording a catch against Cincinnati.
Moncrief has incredible athleticism and has played well in limited time this season. He has nine receptions and 103 yards in his rookie campaign so far. Indianapolis drafted Moncrief to help replace Wayne when he decides to retire. Now he looks to help fill in much sooner than expected.
Dwayne Allen and Ahmad Bradshaw were both out with injuries when Wayne went down last year, and have been boosts to the passing game this season. Allen has scored a touchdown in five of his seven games this season. The only tight ends with more touchdown catches than Allen this season are Denver’s Julius Thomas and San Diego’s Antonio Gates.
Bradshaw and Trent Richardson have both been contributors in the passing game. They are the only running back duo in the NFL to each have over 500 yards from scrimmage. Bradshaw is on pace to break the record for most touchdown receptions by a running back in a single season. He has six receiving touchdowns so far, the record is nine set by Marshall Faulk.
It is easy to forget that at the start of the 2013 season T.Y. Hilton wasn’t even a starter for the Colts. Hilton has improved tremendously and is now the clear cut No. 1 receiver on the team. All that he has done this year is rack up 711 yards on 47 catches, his 711 yards are the third most receiving yards in the NFL.
Luck has more weapons this year and he has excelled at spreading the football. He has had two games this season where he’s completed passes to nine different receivers. The Colts are the only team in the NFL with seven players that have caught at least 15 passes. If OC Pep Hamilton is looking to Nicks and Moncrief to fill in for the loss of Wayne, I think he will still sleep well at night.