On a team with top-flight receiving threats like WR Reggie Wayne, TE Dallas Clark and WR Austin Collie — the rookie leader in catches (60) and touchdowns (seven) this season — it's pretty easy to get lost in the shuffle.
But on a number of levels late in the season, Colts second-year WR Pierre Garcon continues to make his presence very much felt.
After being "just a guy who didn't play much as a rookie," according to one daily team observer, the sixth-round pick out of Mount Union (Ohio) made a quantum leap this season.
In addition to gaining almost 100 yards more than Collie on 13 fewer receptions and leading the Colts in yards per catch (16.3) in the regular season, Garcon was on the receiving end of more than a few pivotal throws by Peyton Manning — most notably his game-winning 48-yard TD catch in the Week Two Monday-night victory in Miami and his 29-yard TD catch down the sideline in the Colts' stirring, come-from-behind victory over the Patriots in Week 10.
But Garcon's biggest play of the year was actually defensive in nature. Still shaken by the devastating earthquake four days earlier in Haiti, where numerous relatives and acquaintances reside, Garcon had enough presence of mind to run down Ravens S Ed Reed after a third-quarter interception and force a critical fumble that was recovered by Clark in the Colts' 20-3 divisional playoff victory over the Ravens.
"You really saw his world-class speed in the 10-yard span just before he caught up to Reed," the observer said of Garcon. "He can fly."
Another attribute besides Garcon's speed is his physicality, which has led some close observers to compare him to a young Anquan Boldin.
"He's the most physical receiver they've had in a while," the observer said. "(Former star WR Marvin) Harrison relied more on finesse and quickness. Same with Reggie (Wayne). Garcon is a bigger receiver. And he's very competitive. You see him in practices often jawing with cornerbacks. Sometimes, he lets his emotions get the best of him."
Consistency is also an issue with Garcon. "He's a lot more consistent than he was as a rookie, but he remains a work in progress in that regard," the observer said.
All things considered, though, we hear Garcon's progress has far exceeded the Colts' expectations.
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