Indianapolis Colts interim coach Bruce Arians wanted to send Chuck Pagano home with a smile Sunday.
T.Y. Hilton made sure he was grinning from ear to ear.
Indy's other emerging rookie star returned a punt 75 yards for one touchdown, caught an 8-yard TD pass in the third quarter, became the first player in franchise to do both in the same game and led the Colts to a critical 20-13 victory over Buffalo.
"That surprises nobody on this team and that's what he's paid to do," Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne said. "I'm excited for every one of these guys when they make a big play. Everybody on this team, their futures are so bright. I'm just glad to be part of it."
The Colts (7-4) are certainly happy that Hilton is part of it, too.
He came into Sunday's game with three 100-yard days, and showed he's got more than just flash to his game. He's tough, too.
After returning the first punt for a score, the 5-foot-9, 183-pound receiver took a vicious high-low combination hit on his second punt — a hit that left Hilton holding his head with both hands and fans breathless as he lay motionless on the ground for several minutes. A few minutes later, Hilton was cheered as he walked off gingerly under his own power. Team officials announced he was being evaluated for a head injury.
But he returned later in the first half and helped Indy's suddenly sluggish offense wake up in the second half.
While he caught only three passes for 33 yards, Hilton stole the show from his more high-profile teammates on their own milestone days.
Wayne broke Cris Carter's NFL record for most consecutive games with multiple catches. Carter had done it 58 times in a row. Wayne's streak is now at 59. He also passed Art Monk and Derrick Mason on the NFL's career receptions chart and with 946 is now within five of moving into the top 10.