INDIANAPOLIS -- To T.Y. Hilton and Richard Sherman, the most recent meeting between the Indianapolis Colts and the Seattle Seahawks is a blur.
“I don’t remember what happened,” Colts receiver Hilton said Wednesday.
“I think I remember we had the lead early and we somehow tricked it off at the end,” Seahawks cornerback Sherman said. “They made some big plays, we made some big plays and we kind of let that one get away.”
Here’s a quick refresher on what occurred Oct. 6, 2013:
Hilton took it personally, according to USA Today, that then-Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner said the receiver was “light as [expletive].” Hilton embarrassed a talented secondary that featured Browner, Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, pulling in five receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ 34-28 victory over previously undefeated Seattle.
Fast-forward to Sunday, and Hilton and the Colts are set to face another solid Seahawks secondary, with two big differences: The game will be played in Seattle, and Hilton won’t have Andrew Luck throwing him the ball.
“He’s small, he’s fast," Sherman said of Hilton. "He’s shifty, explodes in and out of his breaks, obviously has great top-end speed, so you’ve got to be aware of where he is on the field at all times."
The Seahawks, as in previous seasons, have one of the NFL's top pass defenses. They’re eighth in the league, giving up only 200 yards a game while registering two interceptions and six sacks through the first three games.
“They play as a unit, they play as one,” Hilton said. “They’re fast, athletic, they feed off each other. For them, you have to make plays. It’s going to be bang-bang plays. Catch it, get into the tuck. If you don’t, then pretty much they’re going to go get [the ball] out. Other than that you have to hurry and bring the ball back down.”
Hilton will be a focal point for the Seahawks. Not only is the sixth-year pro one of the league's top receivers, but the Colts also haven’t gotten much production from their other wideouts. Donte Moncrief, Indy's second-leading receiver, has 147 fewer yards than Hilton's 259. Kamar Aiken is currently in the concussion protocol and Quan Bray, the team’s fourth receiver, only has one reception.
The lack of help around him and a quarterback that’s making his first road start in Jacoby Brissett will put even more pressure on Hilton to be productive. Brissett was 5-of-7 for 118 yards and a touchdown when targeting Hilton against the blitz against Cleveland in Week 3.
“Yeah, he’s averaging over 18 yards a catch right now," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Hilton. "He’s really fast and he plays well with his speed. His speed really shows up on the field. They know it and they use him accordingly. They’ve been able to get him the ball in all variety of situations. He’s not just a downfield guy, he’s a catch-and-run guy as well. He had a big play last week in that regard. He’s just a terrific football player.”
Carroll didn’t tip his hand on what Seattle's defensive plans are when it comes to Hilton. Hilton is working under the impression that Sherman will spend at least part of the time shadowing him around the field, which he refers to as a “measuring stick” because it’s the “best against the best.” Sherman has 30 interceptions since entering the NFL in 2011.
“He’s smart, he’s crafty,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said of Sherman. “Got instincts, got ball skills. He knows what you are doing before you do it. A great student of the game. He just knows. He’s played and he’s experienced. He’s been around a lot. He’s seen it all and he plays. He competes at a high, high level.”