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 Заголовок сообщения: INDIANAPOLIS — Frank Reich mastered the
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art of the comeback while playing quarterback.He cemented his reputation Sunday night.Nearly 11 months after accepting the job Josh McDaniels spurned https://www.coltsfanshop.com/Marshall-Faulk-Jersey , Indianapolis’ backup choice completed one of the most remarkable midseason turnarounds in league history by leading the Colts to their first playoff berth since 2014.“That was the silver lining, if you will, of a 1-5 start,” Reich said Monday, referring to his players’ ability to ignore distractions and focus on the upcoming task. “As I have alluded to and some players have alluded to, we’ve been in this — for lack of a better word — playoff mode for a while, kind of with our backs against the wall.”It’s only the third time an NFL team has rebounded from such an abysmal start to make the postseason — adding another chapter to Reich’s uncanny tale.In November 1984, he replaced Stan Gelbaugh after Maryland fell into a 31-0 halftime deficit at No. 6 Miami and wound up throwing six second-half touchdown passes to give the Terrapins a 42-40 victory — then the largest comeback in Division I history.In January 1993, Reich replaced the injured Jim Kelly in Buffalo’s wild-card round game and rallied the two-time defending AFC champs from a 35-3 deficit to beat the Houston Oilers 41-38 in overtime for the largest comeback in NFL history.So when McDaniels reneged on his deal to take over the Colts two days after the Patriots lost to Philadelphia in the Super Bowl, Colts general manager Chris Ballard turned to Reich.“The backup role has suited me well in my career,” Reich joked in February at his introductory news conference.But a consistent message helped keep players and coaches composed, too.The result: Indy (10-6) won nine of its last 10, beating two division champions and taking the regular-season finale at Tennessee to earn the AFC’s No. 6 seed.Reich is the fourth consecutive Colts coach to reach the playoffs in his first season as coach, joining Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano, and now takes a team full of confidence to Houston (11-5) for a wild-card round game Saturday.“I don’t think there was anything crazy different that happened,” left tackle Anthony Castonzo said Sunday when asked about the turnaround. “Guys just maybe focused on their job a little more, and had a little bit more urgency. It didn’t really seem like a moment where anything was different. It was just staying that course.”100<button class="view-gallery">View Gallery</button> Gallery:View from the sidelines: NFL cheerleaders 2018Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports | Raj MehtaThe first indication things were changing emerged in early October when Indy’s oft-criticized offensive line suddenly began playing better. For five games and 239 consecutive drop backs, the Colts didn’t allow a sack. They finished this season allowing a league-low 18 after giving up a league-high 56 in 2017.There were other changes, too.Marlon Mack rushed for more than 100 yards four times Eric Ebron Jersey , the highest total by a Colts running back since Joseph Addai had four 100-yard games in 2007. Tight end Eric Ebron fulfilled the potential scouts saw when he was in college.And, of course, there was Andrew Luck‘s resurgence, too.After missing the entire 2017 season because of a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, he wound up finishing with career highs in completions (430), attempts (639), completion rate (67.3 percent) and rating (98.7) and producing his second-best totals in yards passing (4,593) and TDs (39).“This really has been a fulfilling road to this point,” Luck said. “I’m not satisfied. We certainly have business to take care of.”The defense also came up big.Rookie Darius Leonard led the league in tackles with a franchise-record 163 and Indy has allowed just 16.4 points over its past eight games, prompting some to conclude that Reich may have found his magical touch just in time for another playoff run.Reich, though, is simply sticking to the plan.“It’s all based on the habits you have formed,” he said. “That focus and vision is on getting better every day and then beating the next opponent. That is all that really matters. That’s the mindset we’ve been in. That’s the mindset we need to maintain.”Notes: Indy signed safety Rolan Milligan to the practice squad and released linebacker Tegray Scales. … The Colts also signed guard William Poehls to a reserve/future contract. The 6-foot-8, 344-pound offensive lineman was on Jacksonville’s active roster in 2017, but was waived by the Jaguars on Sept. 1. INDIANAPOLIS — Quenton Nelson heard all the adjectives before this spring’s NFL draft.The “experts” called him nasty, a generational guard, the best player available, and even suggested he could change the long-term image of all future interior offensive line prospects.Nelson didn’t pay much attention to what was being said then or now. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound rookie remains focused on the only thing he believes matters — keeping Andrew Luck upright and healthy.“I’m just trying to improve every single day and get better,” he said Monday as his pro debut against Cincinnati nears. “That’s all I’m worried about is getting better each and every Sunday — and not letting down my teammates.”The Colts couldn’t expect much more out of the soft-spoken Nelson Matt Slauson Color Rush Jersey , whom they took No. 6 overall.He was the highest-chosen guard since Leonard Davis went No. 2 in 2001, and he’s not just another big body on the offensive line.His mobility and athleticism make him an effective pulling guard, and he possesses rare flexibility that helps him stay in front of defensive linemen — as he demonstrated routinely at training camp and throughout the preseason.Now the real tests begin.In Sunday’s season opener, Nelson will no longer be working against vanilla defenses and backups trying to win roster spots. He’ll be trying to slow down sack artists such as Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson in a more complex scheme.With each game comes a new challenge. Against Washington in Week 2, he could face Ryan Kerrigan. Against Super Bowl champion Philadelphia in Week 3, Nelson might line up against Fletcher Cox or Tim Jernigan. When the Colts start playing AFC South rivals Houston, Jacksonville and Tennessee, he could be blocking J.J. Watt, Marcell Dareus or Jurrell Casey, among others.And if Nelson unleashes the full arsenal each week, those who have monitored his steady progression believe the highly touted rookie will meet the hype.131<button class="view-gallery">View Gallery</button> Gallery:View from the sidelines: NFL cheerleaders 2017Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports | Aaron Doster“I think it (cohesion) just naturally comes along,” center Ryan Kelly said. “But when you’re playing next to a guy every single day — OTAs, training camp and now — it’s just great. He has really come a long way.”Kelly understands Nelson’s situation better than most.Three years ago, Kelly arrived in Indy as a first-round pick out of Alabama and immediately was plugged into a spot that had been a revolving door for Luck’s first three seasons. Kelly played admirably as a rookie before missing nine games last season with injuries.This year, a healthy Kelly reclaimed the starting job playing next to Nelson and free-agent signee Matt Slauson. All three have worked hard to get in sync, and all three have been leaning on one another for help.“Ryan has shown me how to be a pro and handle yourself off the field and on the field, too,” Nelson said. “I feel like it’s not only been Ryan, though, it’s been a bunch of the veteran guys https://www.coltsfanshop.com/Anthony-Walker-Jersey , especially Matt Slauson. He’s been great and (Anthony) Castonzo, too.”With Nelson at left guard, Slauson is expected to start at right guard, and the Colts remain hopeful Castonzo can return from a hamstring injury for Sunday’s game. Castonzo has been the starting left tackle since being a first-round pick in 2011 but missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury.That leaves one opening on the line, at right tackle, with no clear-cut starter.“We have made decisions on all those areas and feel good about those decisions,” first-year coach Frank Reich said when asked who the starters would be at right tackle, defensive end and cornerback. “But just to protect our team and our fans and our players, we are going to hold off on announcing those decisions.”Still, there’s little doubt about Nelson’s skills — or even his own goal of breaking the will of an opponent each week as he first explained during the NFL’s annual scouting combine in Indy.“Yeah,” Nelson said when asked if he still embraces such a notion. “I feel like we’ve grown as an offensive line, as a unit, playing together and trusting in one another that each of us will do our job on each and every snap.”NOTES: Luck returned to practice Monday and is expected to start against the Bengals. He missed practice Monday and Tuesday last week with a minor foot injury. … The Colts signed tight end Ryan Hewitt to the active roster and put defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis on injured reserve. Lewis was one of the Colts’ four second-round picks last spring. … The Colts also added offensive lineman Jamil Douglas, defensive end Carroll Phillips, linebacker Ahmad Thomas, defensive tackle Jihad Ward and running back Jeremy McNichols to the practice squad.


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