Like so many games this year, this was a tale of two halves. The first half, the Houston Texans had their way with the Dwight Freeney deprived Colts. Matt Schaub utilized the play-fake nearly to perfection, and on two well executed first quarter drives, the Texans were up 14-0. They tacked on a field goal and were leading 17-0. Peyton Manning looked mortal. The Colts pass rush was atrocious. Tackling was awful. Defensive line was getting blown off the ball. Schaub was winking to his coaches on the sideline. And longtime blog contributors Colt Homer and metal_militia were all but conceding the game, openly wondering how much the Colts would get blown out by, posting in full, fledged freakout mode (it's OK you two, I forgive you)*.
Then, the Colts woke up.
Indy went on a 35-3 run, including 28 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarter. It started with an amazing 9 yard TD catch by Pierre Garçon. After that, the Colts feasted off Schaub turnovers (2 INTs, one fumble). Things got so bad for the Texans that when Schaub was intercepted by Clint Session in the fourth quarter, and the INT returned for a TD at the 8:09 mark, Texans fans emptied out the stadium!
Chad Simpson, on a very tough run, scored on a 23 yard run to make it a two score game with 2:52 left. The Texans added a TD late, but simply ran out of time. Without , both Robert Mathis and Raheem Brock really stepped up in the second half, scoring one sack each and consistently pressuring Matt Schaub. And the Clint Session INT for a TD was just one of those WOW! plays that blows your mind.
The game was the 5th consecutive fourth quarter comeback win for the Colts (an NFL record), and it is also the fifth consecutive comeback win by less than 10 points (also an NFL record). If the Jaguars lose later today to the 49ers, the Colts will clinch the AFC South for the sixth time in seven seasons. The Colts have won at least 11 games for the seventh straight season.
Even though they don't want to hear praise from us Colts fans right now, big props to the Texans for coming out swinging. Clearly, their game plan was not something the Colts were ready for. But, if there is yet another lesson to learn from this game, NEVER give up on this team. They just know how to close out opponents, and they never, ever quit.
Here is shake n bake's recap again:
The Colts play 60 minutes. After the Texans raced out to a 17-0 lead in the first 20 minutes and went into the half up 20-7 they were held without another point until a garbage time score in the final 20 seconds down 15. Meanwhile the Colts O (and Clint Session) put up 4 2nd half TDs.
The Colts gained 114 yards on the ground averaging over 5 yards a carry. Peyton Manning converted over 75% of his passes with 3 TDs and 2 INTs (one when his arm was hit on the throw, another in a desperation drive at the end of the 1st half).
On D the Colts made a dramatic turnaround. After allowing back to back TDs in the first, the Colts held the Texans to back to back FGs on their next two drives. The Texans were stopped on their next 5 drives with 3 turnovers and 2 punts. The Texans only 2nd half points came in the final minute, after the game had been put out of reach.
Celebrate 11-0 GO NINERS
Too true. Go Colts!
*Colt Homer and metal_militia are great Colts fans. I'm just ribbin' them because I told them the Colts would come back, which they did. They certainly weren't the only ones disgusted by the first half play. Also, I started Pierre Garçon over Steve Slaton in a fantasy league today. Garçon gave me 12 points, Slaton 9. Me is happy.