In Thursday night's return to Houston, Hilton wore a proverbial clown mask for a much different reason: missed opportunities.
Hilton returned from a calf injury that kept him out the three previous tilts. He spent most of the game playing decoy, catching three passes for 18 yards, zero in the second half.
Two missed chances that will haunt the Colts pass catcher, however. On third-and-4 late in the third quarter, Hilton couldn't hang on to a pass that appeared to be tipped by corner Vernon Hargreaves. On the next possession, Hilton didn't grip a deep shot on another third-and-4 with Johnathan Joseph draped all over him. Hilton was covered well on each, but they are plays we usually see the star wideout complete.
"I have to make that," Hilton said. "That's what I get paid for. I have to make them. One hundred percent on me."
Thursday marked the worst game Hilton has had in Houston, where he entered averaging 133.3 receiving yards per game in his rival's building. His 18 yards received were the second-fewest in a game versus the Texans (14 yards at home in Week 17, 2017).
Reich noted that given Hilton's explosive tendencies against the Texans, the plan was for the speedster to mostly perform a decoy role.
"I give him credit for wanting to be on the field," Reich said. "We knew even if we could get him on the field for 20, 30 plays, some of it was just as a decoy so hopefully [the Texans] would roll the coverage to him or do something like that and give us a chance to run it a little bit better. So that was part of the plan."