The Colts struggled for much of the game. They saw their streak of consecutive games of scoring at least 20 points end at 20 games, which was the longest in the NFL. But ultimately, they did enough to pull out their fourth straight win and lock up the AFC South title for the second straight year.
Continuing a recent trend, Andrew Luck and the offense were out of sync early and those struggles continued throughout the game on-and-off. The defense looked good for much of the game, though Tom Savage (yeah, Tom Savage) did get it going a bit in the second half. Against Arian Foster and the run game, however, Indy did pretty well.
There are certainly concerns with this Colts team. Their slow starts, their turnovers, their struggles offensively, and the fact that they haven't really faced a good quarterback in a while all add up to a lot of questions about the postseason. They can't continue the sloppy play that we've seen recently and win in the playoffs. Luckily, however, the Colts have gone 4-0 in their last four games despite the struggles. There's no doubt that they need to get better before January, however. But the Colts won today over the division rival Texans in a hard-fought home win, improving to 10-4 on the season and winning the AFC South - guaranteeing them a home playoff game. Let's take a look at the game notes.
- On a day in which a number of quarterbacks around the league struggled, Andrew Luck had some struggles of his own. He misfired on a number of passes to start the game, including a bad pick-six. He started the game 3-for-10 for 17 yards and a pick. He got it going as the first half came to a close, however, finishing the half 13-for-16 for 147 yards and two touchdowns. In the third quarter, the Colts offense again slumped, and they never really got out of it completely (other than a series carried completely by the run in the fourth quarter). He finished 18-of-34 for 187 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick. Today, it was really on Luck a lot for the offensive struggles. He didn't look good.
- Boom Herron completely carried the Colts down the field late in the game. He both killed time and drove down the field to get the Colts a field goal attempt. He looked very impressive this game, particularly on that drive. It was great to watch.
- All things considered, Trent Richardson actually had a pretty good game, too. He made a heck of a catch on third down, especially, to convert for a first down. He also had a couple of nice runs.
- Reggie Wayne had a much, much better day today than they did a week ago. He did lose a fumble, but overall Reggie got open, didn't drop a pass, and actually played a significant role in getting the offense in rhythm in the first half. Playing in game number 209 (big congrats to Reggie, by the way) and perhaps his final regular season home game, the injury-riddled veteran looked much better today than a week ago. Which should surprise no one.
- Dwayne Allen caught his eighth touchdown pass of the season today. He's had a great year and is such a dangerous red zone threat.
- Hakeem Nicks had his best game as a Colt. He had a nice 26-yard catch and run for a touchdown on third down and then a great sideline catch for a gain of 14. Unlike in the other games this year, Nicks actually looked good today - which was very good to see.
- Can the Colts play against a quarterback like Brian Hoyer or Tom Savage every week? Please? Ok, in all seriousness, while the opposing quarterback has certainly helped things, the Colts' defense looked good today for the most part (though Greg Toler had a rough day).
- The Colts got nice pressure on Tom Savage, and Bjoern Werner had a nice game - which was good to see.
- Vontae Davis got beat a couple of times today, but he came up big with a fourth down pick to seal the game. Credit also Sergio Brown for a nice pass breakup on the third down play.
- J.J. Watt is incredible. I mean, I know he had the luxury of going up against this Colts offensive line, but he is just dominant.
- Adam Vinatieri is money. He continues to be perfect on the year, now hitting all 28 tries on the season and his last 34 overall - which is the fourth longest streak in NFL history.
- The Colts won the AFC South for the second straight year and the ninth time in the thirteen year history of the division. The Colts are the first AFC team to clinch a playoff spot this year. Houston falls to 0-13 in Indianapolis.