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Week 17 Game Recap: Colts defeat Texans 13-22, secure 3rd overall pick in 2018 draft

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NFL: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis started their first offensive drive with two Frank Gore runs to setup a third and medium. Brissett targeted T.Y. Hilton on a flag route that would have likely gone for a touchdown but the ball sailed over his head. It was clear on the replay that Texans corner Johnathan Joseph held Hilton as he was coming out of his break and likely hurt his timing to make the reception. The result was back-to-back holds on Hilton’s last two targets going back to the final Colts offensive play in Baltimore.

Houston used Alfred Blue and Will Fuller heavily in their first possession in order to get the ball into field goal range. The attempt was good and put the Texans up 3-0.

Indianapolis followed the same blueprint by leaning heavily on their biggest targets. Frank Gore, T.Y. Hilton, and Jack Doyle all played important roles in catching passes, getting first downs, and ultimately getting the ball into the end zone. It is worth noting that Chester Rogers also made a very nice grab as he was heading out of bounds for a nice gain. Brissett’s throw to Doyle in the red zone and an extra point by Adam Vinatieri put the Colts up 7-3 early in the second quarter.

On Houston’s second drive, the defense was able to force them into a 3rd and 4 situation and even got a nice stop from rookie corner Nate Hairston. This was nullified by an off-sides penalty on Barkeviuos Mingo for a first down. A pass interference penalty on rookie corner Quincy Wilson gave Houston another first down on the drive. One positive is that Kenny Moore made a nice play when he batted down a pass that was intended for rookie wide receiver Chris Thompson.

After moving the ball down the field with some passes and Colts penalties, the Texans put the ball back into Alfred Blue’s hands to move deep into the red zone. With no pass rush coming on 1st down from the 11 yard line, T.J. Yates hit his full back to get the ball down to the two yard line. Alfred Blue carried the ball into the end zone on the next play. The extra point put the Texans back on top 10-7.

After a solid drive for a touchdown on the last possession, Jacoby Brissett struggled with accuracy on the third offensive drive of the game. This resulted in three and out and a 47-yard Rigoberto Sanchez punt that gave the Texans a long field, starting their drive at their own 14 yard-line.

The Texans third possession started with another gift from the Colts defense, as defensive lineman Hassan Ridgeway was called for defensive holding, giving Houston a first down. After recovering and pushing the Texans into a third and long situation, a long pass down the right sideline with Chris Milton in coverage gave T.J. Yates a big play and a first down in Colts territory. The defense was able to keep Houston out of the end zone but not good enough to keep them out of field goal range. A second boot extended the Houston lead to 13-7.

On the final Colts drive of the first half the struggles continued. A dump-off pass to Marlon Mack lost a yard. A horrific excuse for a chip on a Texans defensive lineman resulted in a throw away. A Brissett scramble only picked up a couple of yards and forced another punt after a second consecutive three-and-out.

Houston was satisfied to take the final possession of the first half to run the ball with Lamar Miller and keep the clock moving. A the half, the Texans led 13-7.

Indianapolis attempted to steal a possession from the Texans by surprising them with an onside kick in the second half. It was a well kicked ball and initially looked like it was recovered by Chris Milton. Somewhere at the bottom of the pile Houston came away with possession. The Colts defense stepped up anyway and forced Houston to punt the ball away.

On Indy’s first offensive possession they featured Frank Gore heavily. He had some nice runs, including one for over 15 yards and was responsible for numerous first downs. The drive also featured a great deal of scrapping between T.Y. Hilton and Johnathan Joseph, as well as Chester Rogers and Kevin Johnson. After Gore led his team into the red zone, rookie Marlon Mack took over and broke a run outside — which included an impressive stiff-arm on Jadeveon Clowney. He also rushed up the middle for the final yard and his third touchdown of the season. Adam Vinatieri’s extra point put the Colts back into the lead 13-14.

The Colts defense continued to play solid ball on Houston’s next possession, forcing a second consecutive three-and-out and a punt.

Unfortunately, Brissett and the Colts offense couldn’t get anything going. Two Gore runs gave them a third and short but they were unable to hit on a third down pass along the left sideline to keep the drive going and had to punt the ball away. Punter Rigoberto Sanchez connected with another nice kick that pinned Houston inside their own 20 yard-line.

After the Colts defense stuffed the Texans ground game on two consecutive plays, T.J. Yates picked up a first down on a scramble. Unfortunately, the officials missed that he was touched down prior to reaching the first down marker and the Colts did not throw a challenge flag. This is what happens when the league places a great deal of emphasis on player safety and defenders are afraid to hit a quarterback going to the ground. Either way, three plays later Houston was forced to punt the ball back to Brissett and the Colts offense.

While Brissett was able to find Chester Rogers for another first down along the right sideline, two Gore runs that were good for only 1 yard apiece and a dump-off that went for 5 yards resulted in another Sanchez punt. This time the Texans would have to start inside of their own 10 yard-line. Hassan Ridgeway and the Colts defense utilized this opportunity to force a safety and push the lead to 13-16 with 12 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

Indianapolis used the free possession to get Gore over 14,000 career rushing yards. Brissett also did a nice job of getting the ball to Marlon Mack for a first down rather than take a sack to keep the drive alive. After having the throw the ball away and missing T.Y. Hilton on a deep pass along the right sideline, Adam Vinatieri was called upon to attempt a 54-yard field goal — which he hit. This extended the Colts lead to 13-19.

Sanchez kicked the ball short of the end zone and the Texans were able to get a nice return. However, after a stop for no gain on first down, a short pass to tight end Stephen Anderson that was stopped by Antonio Morrison, and a sack by Jabaal Sheard, Houston had to punt the ball back to Chester Rogers. Rogers broke a nice return to get the Colts back to nearly midfield.

Indianapolis was satisfied to keep the ball on the ground and keep the clock moving. A scramble by Brissett and a first down run by Gore kept resulted in first downs used up all of Houston’s time outs. Another first down run by Gore and a seven yard run by Marlon Mack pushed the game all the way down to the two minute warning. With no timeouts remaining the Colts were happy to kneel the ball and use up as much clock they could before hitting a field goal that sealed the win.

On their final defensive series of the game, rookie Quincy Wilson picked up the first interception of his career and nearly ran it all the way back for a touchdown. Wilson even tossed the ball back to fellow rookie Nate Hairston to keep the return alive but came up short.

Colts win 13-22 and nail down their spot in the 2018 NFL Draft at 3rd overall.