Terry McLaurin stars in Homecoming as leaders rally past the ponies


INDIANAPOLIS – Just before the Washington leaders’ final drive on Sunday, when they trailed the Indianapolis Colts less than three minutes from the end of the game, a group of Terry McLaurin’s closest friends made their way from Section 118 at Lucas Oil Stadium to the front row. behind the team bench.

Grant Prather, 26, took the lead and shouted McLaurin from the stands.

“He was saying to me, ‘You have to go to win the match! McLaurin was summoned after the leaders 17-16 win over. “Your family and friends think you’re going to play every game and that you’re going to run into the sunset. You just don’t know how it’s going to happen.”

But Brother did—because he’s seen it multiple times in that ballpark, dating back to his MacLaurin middle school days.

“There was no doubt in my mind,” Brother said. “…that’s exactly what he does.”

McLaurin’s wide receiver trainer, Drew Terrell, knew how it would end, too. I just saw it Last weekend against the Green Bay Packers.

“Hell, yeah,” Terrell said. “When I saw him turn around and run away, I looked back [quarterback Taylor Heinicke] To see if Taylor was looking at him. When I saw he was throwing it, I was like, “Oh, yeah – it’s game over.” “

And of course the midfielder taught McClurin. When he veers away from his intended target, Heinicke finds McLaurin taking a beeline to the finish zone and thinking, “Hey, let’s give him another chance.”

With 41 seconds left, McLaurin put a double move on the two-time professional cornerback, Stefon Gilmore by sprinting up, turning and stopping in the flat, then back to the end zone where Haennick threw a pass on his way. With Gilmore clinging to his shoulder, McLaurin grabbed the ball as he rolled into the grass at the 1-yard line for a 33-yard gain, making a quick touchdown by Heinicke for the win.

McLaurin stormed out of the square after being caught yelling, “This is my city! This is my favorite city!”

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The The Indianapolis native who grew up a Colts fan And the Hall of Fame wide receiver, Marvin Harrison couldn’t have written a better script for Homecoming. McLaurin Cathedral High won four state championships at Lucas Oil Stadium, won two Big Ten titles with Ohio State there, and in his first home game as a professional, McLaurin emerged as the star and savior of the leaders’ victory streak, which extended their winning streak to three games.

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Now 4-4, Washington is frankly in search of an NFC wild card spot — and it pretty much has MacLaurin to give thanks. He had six catches for 113 yards on Sunday and was the difference-maker for weeks on end, proving that Washington was right in its decision to hand him more than $70 million over a contract extension over the summer.

More than 70 friends and family members shared his achievement on Sunday who watched a performance that boosted their ratings over the years. Among that group was Prather and six others who had been part of McClurin’s Rise since elementary school and were with him again in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium to celebrate his victory.

What they didn’t know was that MacLaurin was a snob in the play.

“We were really trying to make a hole in the second man,” Hennecke explained. “I wasn’t comfortable getting the second guy arrested because I couldn’t see clearly. Maybe he was open. Maybe not. I don’t know.”

The play turned into a scramble drill, and when he turned left, Heinicke saw McLaurin run past Gilmore into the finish zone.

“Terry will not be rejected,” said coach Ron Rivera.

“Terry is that guy,” Heinick said. “He’s got that dog in him, and I want to keep giving him opportunities to make great plays.”

The play was another chapter in McLaurin’s rallying career in Indianapolis — and the memorable moment in an otherwise sloppy win became inspirational in the last minutes.

“I had a lot of confidence that I’d land this ball,” McLaurin said. “…It’s great to be able to do that kind of play when earlier in my career, in college and such, I struggled with contested catches.”

Analysis of Sunday’s win

Nothing ever goes wrong for these leaders—not even a game to be won against a Colts quarterback who has never thrown an NFL pass. Not even when the humble Colts handed them gifts.

The Leaders were 7-3 ahead in the second quarter when the Colts (3-4-1), led by Sam Ellinger, ran the ball six consecutive times in the 2021 sixth-round draft. The Colts reached Washington’s 13-yard streak before Ellinger dropped the ball in a scramble. Washington recovered the confusion, only to burn a pair of time-outs before Heinicke cast what looked like an objection.

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On one side, the Colts filed an indictment against the young quarterback with a game plan that just ran on the ball and didn’t fail. On the other hand, Washington’s defense has been bruised, and the quarterback appears to be out of control.

But chaos is Washington’s way—especially with Heinicke, who finished 23-for-31 for 279 yards, one touchdown and one interception to rate 98.7 passers-by. As the locker room favorite, he almost immediately gave a boost to the leaders’ late attack Week 7 home win against the Packers While filling the place of wounded Carson Wentz. And on Sundays, that magic was there.

After making contact with McLaurin at 42 yards from the hole, Heinicke found running back Antonio Gibson for a nine-yard touchdown pass and took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter. But any momentum created by this impulse quickly faded.

The defense, playing without quarterback Cole Holcombe (a sprained foot), attempted to compensate by using more five-man fronts that were paired with a large nickel bundle (three safes and two backs) at the back end. But the Colts and their accelerating 30-ranked attack made the leaders’ work light in the first half, collecting 92 yards for an average of 6.6 per carry. Only a couple of coups in the red zone commanders escaped greater damage.

Then Ehlinger falters in the late second quarter, Jonathan Taylor stumbled deep into the Washington area in the late third quarter. Darek Forrest, the second-year safety, took the ball out of Taylor’s fist during a tackle, and Casey Tuhill recovered from his defense.

But Washington squandered the gift. The offense went three times after Heinicke was sacked in third place. The Colts tore a number of big plays before safety Cam Curl stopped them off the line and Jamin Davis followed him with things to force Indianapolis to settle into a field goal.

That was enough for the Colts to claim a 9-7 lead. The commanders had plenty of time to bounce back, but they didn’t take the easy road.

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On the first play of the following possession, Heinicke, under heavy pressure from defensive end Tyquan Lewis, fired a pass into the middle, wide receiver Cam Sims surrounded by three Colts. Linebacker Shaquille Leonard grabbed the pass and, about a minute later, the Colts were in the end zone at six yards turned by Nyheim Hines increasing their lead to 16-7.

After a week of appearing fairly effectively, the leaders had problems on both sides of the ball. The defense failed to eliminate big plays, allowing four of 25 yards or more. The offense struggled to create lanes for its drivers, yielding just 96 yards on 28 carry (3.4 per attempt). And only three of Washington’s 11 runs gained more than 30 yards, thanks in large part to a poor third-place performance (2 versus 12, 16.7 percent).

Rivera couldn’t hide his frustration, even after the win, “because there were some things we had to do,” he said.

The Leaders had a chance to land earlier in the fourth inning, but a failed attempt at third killed the drive and left them three points on a 28-yard field goal by Joey Sly.

After the defense held up, McLaurin got his moment in the final seconds. In the tunnel a short time later, Brether and his old friends met. When they cuddle, Prather reminded MacLaurin of what he had seen and known for years.

“I grew up with Terry,” he said. “I saw him score on this court in middle school. I saw him score on this court in high school. I saw him score on the Big Ten tournament. So I said, ‘Go win the game, man.’ And he said, ‘I got you.’”

McLaurin was the star after the game. Before that, he was a star.

“I just wanted to stay focused on the game, but before the game Marvin Harrison came up to me and wanted to take a picture, and I’m like, ‘Me? ” ” He said. “That was just a very complete moment.

“You just never know when you’re a kid. You just dream while standing next to your idols… and then you get into the game and play in front of your family and friends and have the chance to play to win the game? I’m blessed.”

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