HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 12: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts is sacked by defensive ends Antonio Smith #94 and Mario Williams #90 at Reliant Stadium on September 12 2010 in Houston Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Key miscues by the offense left the Colts unable to compensate for very poor protection and run defense. Early drops by Pierre Garcon forced the Colts to punt from midfield and kick a short FG, a 3rd and long sack took the Colts out of FG position, confusion on the O-line forced the Colts to burn two of their 2nd half TOs early, allowing the Texans to run out the clock much more easily, and an Austin Collie fumble inside the 10 ended another big scoring opportunity. Those miscues kept the Colts from covering up major struggles in run D and pass protection.
Peyton lived on checkdowns most of the game and was sacked twice as the Texans were able to apply pressure all game. Meanwhile Texans backs Arian Foster and Steve Slaton ground out yardage and drained the clock with over 250 yards on the ground.
The Texans threw only 19 passes, but the threat of a potent passing game kept the Colts safeties back, opening up extra room for the Texans run game.
The Colts need to pass protect and defend the run better, but the miscues on offense put the Colts into a death spiral. Trailing all game tipped both teams playcalling away from the Colts ideal. The Texans were able to use a run heavy attack with 40 runs to 19 passes, while the Colts were forced to abandon any semblance of balance, running just 10 times vs 58 passes. The Colts are built to play close and with a lead.
The Colts can compete with sub-par protection and run D, but they can't afford any mistakes on offense when those units struggle to this extent.
I still have high hopes for this team, but the offense needs to execute to their usual high standard while the offensive line and run D need to give them some margin for error.
Normally I'd post a gameball poll, but I can't think of anyone but Joseph Addai who impressed me today turning shaky run blocking and checkdown passes into 73 yards of offense with 4.4 YPC.