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Last Article Written: November 28, 1999


Pollard Credits Coaches, Fans for Victory


By Mike Devitt


The Colts' young trio of quarterback Peyton Manning, running back Edgerrin James and wide receiver Marvin Harrison has received national attention for their offensive exploits -- and with good reason. After eleven games, Manning leads the National Football League with 2,958 passing yards, while Harrison and James top the NFL in receiving yards and yards from scrimmage, respectively.

But an offensive unit consists of eleven men, not three, and while Manning, James and Harrison have all played a vital role in the team's 9-2 record, they haven't been the only ones contributing to the offense's success. A number of lesser-known but equally important players have stepped up their level of play this season, resulting in an offense that has scored at least 25 points nine times and leads the league in passing.

One of those players is tight end Marcus Pollard, who ranks fifth on the team with 23 catches and is tied for second with three touchdown catches. On Sunday, Pollard caught two passes for twelve yards in the team's 13-6 win over the New York Jets, including a two-yard touchdown reception that gave the Colts the lead in the first quarter. Following the game, Pollard spoke about the catch, which may not have been run the way it was intended but produced the desired results nonetheless.

"It wasn't designed the way it was supposed to be," Pollard said about the play. "I was supposed to have caught it right in the flat right away, and if I didn't get it, then pump and catch in the back of the corner (of the end zone). But it didn't work out that way. Luckily he (quarterback Peyton Manning) had enough time to find me breaking back and crossing inside, and it worked out well for us."

When the Colts and Jets met for the first time six weeks ago, Indianapolis was able to eke out a 16-13 victory in the Meadowlands. During that game, however, the Jets limited Indianapolis to just one touchdown and 318 yards of total offense. Pollard credited Manning and the coaching staff for adjusting to the Jets' defensive schemes and being ready to play on Sunday.

"Our coaches were well prepared for it, and Peyton studies a lot of film," Pollard noted. "He's an extra coach on the field … a lot of things that they threw at us, Peyton had already seen it a few times, and the coaches had us well prepared for it."

Pollard also made sure to praise the home crowd of 56,689, who sold out the RCA Dome for the sixth consecutive game this season. In effect, the crowd played the role of the "twelfth man" for the Colts' defense, forcing the Jets to take a crucial timeout early in the second half and helping the defense hold New York to just a pair of John Hall field goals in the first quarter.

"The crowd today was emotional," said Pollard. "I think it showed in our play today. A lot of times, our defense had their backs against the wall, and then the crowd got behind us, and we really came out playing. I think it shows on special teams. When I'm out there getting the crowd going, I'm also getting myself going, so it's a big help for us.

"Today was really a test for our defense. They really stepped up and played well. They didn't play as well as they probably wanted to, but … they kept them from scoring. That's the most important thing."

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Mike Devitt is a reporter for AllSports.com. He can be reached by e-mail at elpresidente@mindspring.com.


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