T.Y. Hilton clowns Texans, explains pre-game mask

Johnathan Joseph called T.Y. Hilton a clown in the lead-up to Colts-Texans, because Hilton called Houston’s NRG Stadium his “second home.”

Hilton responded by clowning the entire Texans defense, starting with his own clown mask.

Hilton caught five passes for 85 yards, including three catches on Indianapolis’ emphatic opening drive, helping the Colts storm out of the gate and into a lead that proved to be insurmountable. This was a road game, though, meaning he didn’t have a possible stash of Halloween costumes from which to source his headgear.

“I sent my trainers to go get it this morning and they went and got it for me at Party City,” Hilton said. “Can’t go wrong with Party City. I love Party City. … It was the last one.”

Potential for future endorsement deal aside, this is potentially flammable material. Wear a clown mask and perform as well as a whoopee cushion, and this mask becomes a dunce hat. That didn’t enter the mind of Hilton, though.

“I got a lot of messages last night with what (Joseph) said,” Hilton said after the Colts beat the Texans 21-7. “I said, you know what, let’s have fun with it. So it was something I did, I wanted to have fun with it, but now it’s over.

“I wanted to have fun. My teammates, they look for me for a lot of stuff. I wanted to go out here and set the tone. I didn’t want to be a distraction. Once I got here, I wanted to let them know I’m totally focused. Even though I did that and said what is aid, my focus is I’m here for y’all.”

His charade ended as soon as he hit the locker room door, but his motivation and focus lasted throughout the victory. He drew 10 targets from Andrew Luck, caught two more passes after the first drive and attacted plenty of attention, opening opportunities for Chester Rogers, Dontrelle Inman and Eric Ebron, among others. The result was a big win for a surprising Colts team that seems to be peaking at the right time.

“I was just doing my job,” Hilton said. “They gave me the lanes. Coach put me in great position to make plays and I was able to make the plays. But I wanted to go out there and let them know it’s going to be a long day for them.”

Last season’s head-worn novelty was a dog mask, worn by multiple Philadelphia Eagles to signify their underdog status on their run to Super Bowl LII. This year’s mask is one-off, according to Hilton.

“It might be the lucky charm, but nah, it’s done,” Hilton said. “It’s retired after today. … The mask is done after today. It might stay in Houston, or it might go back. I don’t know yet.”

As for the Colts? They might just be getting started.

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