Big-play Butler helping Colts

Darius Butler is showing the Indianapolis Colts what he is

capable of on the field.

The cornerback leads the team in interceptions and is tied for

seventh in the league with four this season.

In all, he has eight interceptions and has returned three for

scores since joining the Colts as a free agent last year.

Now in his fifth season in the league, Butler is starting to

find his way.

”The interceptions that he’s had over the last two years have

been outstanding,” Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said.

”We’re trying to get everybody to get those interceptions, but for

some reason he’s got a knack for it, he feels it, he has great

hands, great vision and he does a great job of staying square and

covering guys.”

Butler played a big role in helping the Colts (9-5) pull away in

a 25-3 win over Houston last week. He had two interceptions,

setting up two field goals by Adam Vinatieri and helping the Colts

take a 20-3 lead before halftime.

”Anytime that you can get a couple turnovers as a team is

awesome,” Vinatieri said. ”But when you do it as an individual

player, I mean, he was real close to getting a third one. He’s that

kind of guy. He finds the ball.”

Butler almost picked off Case Keenum on Houston’s second play at

the start of the second half. On the Houston 23-yard line, it would

have been a clear shot to the end zone.

”It would have been the trifecta, hat trick, if you will,”

coach Chuck Pagano said. ”Great instincts. Nose for the football.

Johnny-on-the-spot type of guy.”

Indianapolis led by more than two scores by that point and

cruised to a win. Still, Butler wanted that interception.

”No excuse for dropping that one,” he said. ”I got a good

break on it. Should have been a pick-6, really, but I guess I kind

of took my eyes off it, like you said. I pictured the end zone and

didn’t concentrate and bring it in.”

But overall, it’s been a pretty good month for Butler.

He has started three straight games and his two interceptions

against Houston tied a career best.

Last season, Butler intercepted two passes against Jacksonville

and returned one for a touchdown. He also broke up three passes

against the Texans – another career high.

Earlier this month, in a win over Tennessee, Butler made eight

tackles – another career high and a total he’s reached just twice


Butler is playing his best football since being drafted by New

England back in 2009.

”Fifth year, the game is kind of slowing down a little bit,”

he said. ”I’ve got some freedom in Manusky’s system to kind of

make my own adjustments throughout the game and throughout the

season and I think that kind of helps me. Everybody’s a different

kind of player and I think that suits my play-style the best.”

Butler battled various injuries in the two years he was with the

Patriots. The Colts claimed Butler off waivers last year after he

was cut by the Carolina Panthers. It turned out to be a good


Even in 2012, after joining the team late and suffering from a

shoulder injury, Butler gave the defense a spark.

He played in 11 games and returned two of his four interceptions

for touchdowns, including a 32-yard return to give the Colts an

early lead over Kansas City.

Now the task turns to trying to contain the league’s

third-highest offense when Indy goes to Kansas City (11-3) on


”They’re efficient with the ball,” Butler said. ”So whenever

we do have a chance to get off the field on third downs and create

turnovers, we have to do that. It’s just about getting off the

field and giving our offense the best field position as


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