TY Hilton needs to step up and save Colts’ passing game

Colts WR TY Hilton’s strong game against the Browns in Week 5 could be a sign of things to come.

At this point in the week, fans in Indianapolis are probably mentally fatigued from all of the Philip Rivers content we’ve been pumping out in the wake of his shambolic performance under center against the Browns last Sunday.

The veteran gunslinger made a handful of mistakes that ultimately cost the Colts a chance at winning the game. Now, head coach Frank Reich‘s side sits at 3-2, a full two games behind the undefeated Titans in the AFC South.

Enough of focusing on the negatives, though. As far as positive takeaways from Indianapolis’ Week 5 clash against Cleveland are concerned, the offensive line made evident improvements blocking for the running game.

Elsewhere, wide receiver TY Hilton enjoyed his most productive game of the young season. The Colts stagnant aerial attack could really use Hilton hitting his stride, and we have reason to believe his strong performance could be a sign of things to come.

For starters, Hilton played more snaps (95%) than he had in the team’s previous four games. For added context, the four-time Pro Bowler played an average of 66.5% during that span. That’s downright shocking when you consider that Indy’s receiving corps has been decimated by injuries.

In another encouraging sign, Hilton set his season-high for targets (10), receptions (six) and yards (69) against the Browns. We would have liked to see him haul in a larger percentage of his targets, which was actually three fewer than his total over the previous three games (13), but the fact that he has Rivers’ attention again is a reason to be optimistic.

There were concerns coming into the season that the 30-year-old veteran lost a step after battling two separate lower leg injuries in 2019, but that simply isn’t the case as he’s drawn a league-high four defensive pass interference penalties.

That stat proves Hilton is still a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive backs and he seems to have bounced back after dropping two crucial passes in the Colts’ Week 1 humbling loss to Jacksonville.

We’re not implying that we want to see Rivers pepper Hilton with targets moving forward, but he undoubtedly needs to be more involved in the offense. He’s simply too damn good to be averaging 3.8 catches and 46.2 yards per game.

Rivers obviously hasn’t helped the situation, but Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirriani need to brainstorm ways to get the ball in his hands.