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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Austin Collie Emerging as New Peyton Manning Favorite Target

It’s been two years since Marvin Harrison was released and it looks like the Colts have found his replacement. Second year wide receiver Austin Collie has stepped up and become one of Peyton Manning’s go-to targets.

Collie was drafted by the Colts in the 4th round of the 2009 draft out of BYU. The second-year wideout emerged as a rookie last year, catching 60 passes for 676 yards and seven touchdowns. This year, he’s posted two impressive statistical games in three contests.

In a season-opening loss to the Texans, Collie had 11 catches for 163 yards including a 73-yard touchdown in the final two minutes of the game. Collie had four catches for 25 yards in a week two win over the Giants. In week three, Collie hauled in 12 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

Through three games, it’s Collie, not Dallas Clark or Reggie Wayne, who leads the team in targets. Collie has been targeted 32 times by Peyton Manning while Clark has 27 and Wayne has 26. Sunday’s game against the Broncos does come with a caveat — Wayne was covered by Champ Bailey so Manning chose to look Collie’s way more often to avoid the shutdown cornerback.

Don’t get me wrong — Reggie Wayne is still Indianapolis’ top receiver and Dallas Clark is still a fantastic receiving tight end. But because he’s only the third priority for opposing defenses when it comes to stopping the passing game, Collie gets lots of single coverage looks and he’s beating them. With Pierre Garcon bothered by a hamstring injury, expect Austin Collie to continue dominating throughout the season.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Jack Dempsey



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