Reggie Wayne is having his greatest season, ever. 54 receptions, 757 yards, 2 touchdowns. He's on track for a 100 catch, 1400 season, but it is not necessarily his production that has been so critical for this young Colts team.
In the past, Peyton Manning and Bill Polian were the dominant personalities of this franchise. If you screwed up, they got in your face. It created what would become a very unhealthy culture of fear. Now, with Peyton and Polian gone, players are a little freer to be who they are. Reggie Wayne is one of those players, and his leadership skills have been allowed to showcase themselves this season.
Sunday's 19-13 win over the Titans is one such example.
As Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star wrote of today, it was Wayne who delivered a fiery halftime talk to his team, down 10-3 and looking dejected after a field goal attempt was blocked just before the second quarter ended.
From Chappell's article, via Darin Gantt of PFT:
"Sometimes you have to do more than lead by example," Wayne said, via Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.
"I was [upset]," Wayne said. "There was no false enthusiasm on this one. I was [upset] because I knew what we were capable of. We should have had a lead at halftime and we were behind.
"I felt like we needed a little fire. I had to speak up."
The team took notice of Wayne's passion.
"Reggie told us to look at everybody and see if we wanted to fight for each other," center Samson Satele said. "It just fired everybody up. I was looking around and thinking, ‘I don’t want to leave here with a loss.’
"Not after that speech Reggie just gave."
The Colts came out in the second half and scored ten points in regulation and another six on Vick Ballard Superman Swirl Dive into the endzone for the game-winning touchdown.
Defensively, Indianapolis held Tennessee to just three second half points and to 0-4 on third down. Prior to halftime, the Titans were 5-7 on third down.
Much of the turnaround from last season's 2-14 disaster can be attributed to Wayne's production and leadership. Re-signing him this past offseason might have been just as critical as the team drafting Andrew Luck. Wayne caught 7 passes for 91 yards in the win over Tennessee.