There have been some who have felt that T.Y. Hilton is no longer a top WR in the game – and when looking at the numbers, it seems like an easy argument to make. Since 2017 – T.Y. has registered season averages of just 59 receptions, and 5 TDs. Keep in mind, we’re not all that far removed from Hilton being one of the game’s top receivers, when he was unleashing 1448 YDs and 91 receptions – I remember it as well as anyone. With just 604 YDs and 4 TDs this year, at this point – there is not too much to examine. The 31 year old pass catcher recorded 7236 yards and 457 catches during the 2013- 2018 seasons – that is nothing to sneeze at. But we know, Hilton has been nothing close to what people expected, and, nothing even close to what fans have been used to in his 130 games there.
It seems like he has found himself yelling for the ball and then had his own share of issues with dropping it when Philip Rivers has thrown it to him, early on. Rivers is likely a future HOF QB – but he has clearly not jumped into line and fed Hilton the targets /game that he was used to. Things have changed in Indy. Indianapolis looks like they have a great tandem in Philip Rivers and Jonathan Taylor at QB and RB. Rivers with 20 passing TDs and Taylor with 4.5 YPC this year, makes them a serious combination for teams to deal with. Taylor may not be as good as some of the top tiered RBs these days playing, but he has been the difference maker for their success – but he has been extremely important when asked to carry the load, as they are 6-0 when he gets 13+ carries in a game. And winning is the most important thing for any team.
At times, I feel, Rivers needs to throw the ball to him more, get his rhythm up – Philip looks to have struggled trying to connect with T.Y. for the majority of the season, and has, at times, looked off – he has looked to swing it out to Nyheim Hines and even Zach Pascal for the big play more this year – which is weird to me when they have a weapon like Hilton at his disposal. I like the 39 year old QB, but I still just get an uneasy feeling whenever he drops back to throw the ball. The big play WR has only had one 100 yard receiving game this season – and he actually had 53 or less receiving YDs or less in 67% of his games this year. T.Y. Hilton has just not had the production of a top end WR this season.
His pedestrian numbers, serious lack of big plays, and limited looks seem to confirm he is no longer to be looked at as a WR1. Rivers and Hilton have just not been able to find a steady connection this year, and the former 1400 YD WR seems like he has struggled to get open. And what really is true, is the fact that DBs no longer fear him – teams seem to not be overly concerned, or even dedicating their top DB on him the whole game. T.Y. Hilton has fallen into the “old guy” and leadership role as the veteran leader, instead of being the guys who teams fear. He has become nothing more than the “respected WR2” with Rivers slinging the ball, and Nick Sirianni calling plays. It isn’t terrible, they have been winning, but Hiltons decline as the man who is key for the teams winning, in the game plan is sadly obvious.