Indianapolis Colts: Reggie Wayne Has Bounced Back Nicely After Ugly 2011 Season

Steven Slivka@@StevenSlivkaCorrespondent IIISeptember 18, 2012

Reggie Wayne is off to a solid start in 2012.
Reggie Wayne is off to a solid start in 2012.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

For Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, 2011 could not have ended any faster. The absence of Peyton Manning took its toll on the Colts (as displayed in their 2-14 record), but on Wayne in particular.

With a carousel of horrible quarterbacks throwing him the ball in a desperate attempt to muster any sort of offense in Indy, Wayne had his worst offensive season since 2003.

He caught 36 fewer passes in 2011 than he did in 2010 and failed to break 1,000 yards for the first time in eight years.

Needless to say, this lack of production was single-handedly attributed to Manning's season-ending injury, and Wayne just didn't look like he was in it anymore.

Enter Andrew Luck.

After all the praise Luck received coming out of college, he's fit in nicely with the Colts. He managed to throw for over 300 yards against a ferocious Chicago Bears defense, and completed nearly 65 percent of his passes against the Minnesota Vikings to get his first NFL win.

With a talented, rookie quarterback now running the show in Indianapolis, Wayne has seen an increased workload in the Colts' offense.

In the first two games of 2012, he already has 15 receptions. He didn't get that many catches in 2011 until Week 4.

Wayne's nine catches against the Bears surpassed his season-high for receptions in a game last season where he caught no more than eight passes in a game.

Having nine catches in Week 1 after an abysmal 2011 season must have done a world of good for his psyche. Last year he only had over 100 yards three times, and went nine consecutive weeks without even eclipsing the 80-yard mark.

Even though the young season is only approaching Week 3, Wayne already has over 200 yards receiving and should have no problem hitting the 1,000 yard mark by season's end.

Since 2002, Wayne has played in every game for the Colts; and although he's getting up there in age, there's no question he is still a great wide receiver.

Wayne's new quarterback was the most highly-touted college talent since his old quarterback, something that has to make him smile.

Luck has made the most of his early career in Indianapolis, and getting their first win out of the way early was crucial for the Colts.

There may be a cultural shift in Indy, but they still have a more than reliable Reggie Wayne to spark the offense.