Tough game, but like the four other loses this season, this one was another learning experience. Unlike many of the wins, there just wasn’t enough magic to overcome all the critical mistakes.
Penalties, drops, turnovers, and a blocked punt for a touchdown were the reasons why the Colts lost to the Texans 29-17. The Week 15 loss hands the AFC South division title to Houston, and it marks the third year in a row that the Colts could not win in the Texans’ backyard.
The positive to take out of this game is that Colts had a chance. The Texans never really had control of the game until late. That’s rather remarkable when you consider all the mistakes the Colts made in the game. Let’s read them off, shall we?
- Drops. There were a ton. I counted five, but that’s not official. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Houston’s Andre Johnson caught seemingly everything thrown at him. He was targeted 13 times by Matt Schaub, and caught 11 of them for 151 yards and a touchdown.
- Turnovers. No, Andrew Luck did not throw a pick on the road. He had two touchdowns, and considering he was running for his life much of the game, Luck played well. The big turnover belonged to Mewelde Moore, who fumbled on the Houston one-yard line with 10:09 left in the second quarter. Not scoring there ended up making a big difference in the game, down the stretch.
- Penalties. The Colts had 8 for 79 yards, including one on interim head coach Bruce Arians, who was called for an unsportslike penalty in the 4th quarter following a HUGE Pat McAfee punt. The penalty helped the Texans get closer into Shane Graham’s range, and his 46-yard field goal with 8:35 left effectively iced the game for Houston.
- Blocked punt. Inexcuseable. On 4th-and-16 from the Colts 29-yard line, Dwayne Allen whiffed on a block and allowed B. Braman to knife through and block Pat McAfee’s punt attempt. The Texans would recover the ball and score. Luck would hit T.Y. Hilton for a 61-yard touchdown on the next series, making halftime a more respectable 20-10. However, there just wasn’t enough magic in the second half to overcome the screw-ups.
Vick Ballard ran for 106 yards on 18 carries, and he became the Colts first 100-yard rusher of the season. Luck finished with 186 yards and two touchdowns, but only completed 13 of 27 passes. He was sacked five times, including three from J.J. Watt.
Considering that the Colts came into today down two starting lineman (and, late in the fourth, A.Q. Shipley went down with an injury), it’s amazing Luck is still walking. The Texans manhandled the Colts o-line on passing downs, and Indy had no answer for Watt.
The Colts still control their own destiny to make the playoffs, but the AFC South division belongs to the Texans again for the second year in a row. Yeah, it sucks, but the fact that this game was meaningful, considering where this Colts franchise was earlier this season, is something worth highlighting.