The Colts had won three of their last four. Those three wins were decisive victories in Green Bay and New York, along with a sweep of the Titans.
There was no way that a team that had crawled back into the playoff race would blow the most important game of the season, at home, right? Wrong.
MVP - T.Y. Hilton
After the game, Hilton said that the Colts “laid down” against Houston. He was right, but the loss was no fault of Hilton’s. Despite seeing double coverage for a majority of the game, Hilton was again spectacular against the Texans. The Pro Bowler had nine catches for 115 yards and a key touchdown late in the game.
As has been the case, when the Colts needed a play, they looked to Hilton. The game marked the first time this year where Hilton recorded over 100 yards and the Colts lost. Additionally, Hilton had no drops and was just all around spectacular.
Hot Seat Award - Chuck Pagano
Let’s just get right to it. Pagano probably isn’t on the hot seat, but he should be. The Colts will likely miss the playoffs again this year, marking the first time since the 97 and 98 seasons that the Colts will miss the playoffs in back to back years.
As Josh noted yesterday, comeback and fourth quarter wins in important games have been a staple of the Colts dating back to the Peyton Manning years. Now, two years in a row, the Colts have had a golden chance to take control of the division against the Texans, in Indianapolis, and have lost both times. And not just lost, but played incredibly poor in both. While one could argue (and I would) that Ryan Grigson is the bigger problem here (he is), Pagano would likely be the first to go.
First Rounder? Award - Phillip Dorsett
Remember early in the season when I wrote that the Colts needed to get Dorsett the ball a bit more? That he was playing well and making plays when Luck threw it is way? Well, maybe they shouldn’t have started throwing his way.
In recent weeks Dorsett had been bad, but this week he was awful. I didn’t even realize that the former first rounder caught three passes yesterday. I think he dropped the same amount. As the receive continues to underwhelm, it raises more questions as to why he was a first round pick.
Challenging Award - The Refs
Ok, so I really just wanted to write about this one. You’ll likely remember the play late in the game when Alfred Blue (I think it was Blue? Could have been Lamar Miller. Anyway.) fumbled, but was called down. Pagano correctly challenged the play. Upon review, the refs determined that it was a fumble, but that there was no clear recovery; which I would say was probably correct.
What was odd, I thought, was that the Colts were charged a timeout. If the play was ruled down by contact, but upon review called a fumble, didn’t Pagano technically win the challenge? I could be wrong (someone please explain if I am), but I don’t think the Colts should have been charged a timeout there. Would it have made a difference? No. But that’s not the point.
Build the Monster Award - Colts
Please note the amount of sarcasm dripping from this award name. For years we’ve heard about building the monster. Running and stopping the run. Playing “December football.”
Well. Yesterday the Texans ran the ball 41 times for 185 yards (4.5 per carry). Houston ran for more yards than they threw for. Their game plan was simple, or so it seemed: Run the ball so Osweiler doesn’t get a chance to screw up. It worked. The Colts couldn’t stop the Texans running attack when it needed to, especially late in the game.
Meanwhile, the Colts ran the ball 15 times for 83 yards, and 32 of those were on a Luck scramble. Remember last week when I said the Colts needed to continue to give the ball to Frank Gore? Because at about 4 yards a pop, Gore’s running set up the offense nicely? Well, Gore did average four yards per carry again, but he only ran 10 times. Ugh.
LVP - Playoff Dreams
I could write so many more negative things, but I’ll wrap it up here. The Colts aren’t making the playoffs. It just isn’t happening. They certainly won’t win out, and the Texans and Titans both aren’t going to implode in the last three games.
All off-season, I wrote and said that there was no way the Colts would be the same or worse (record-wise) with a healthy Andrew Luck. Well, unless they win out, they’ll be the same or worse. That’s bad. Yes, there’s technically a chance, but let’s be real, the off-season for the Colts started at about 3:30 (4:30 for you Eastern time zone folks) yesterday afternoon.