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Quick Reaction: Colts takeover AFC South lead by defeating Texans 30-23

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Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts escaped Sunday afternoon with a victory. Two AFC South teams traveled to Arrowhead to shock the Chiefs and one of those two just put the icing on top.

If there is anything that should be perfectly transparent to the NFL universe at this point, it’s that something special is going on in Indianapolis. General manager Chris Ballard and his coaching staff, who are in their second seasons in their current roles collectively, have built a locker room presence and identity that is dangerous.

These players love one another. This isn’t about any one player. Andrew Luck retired before the season started and the team has rallied around Jacoby Brissett.

With all of that said, Frank Reich needs to take a very close look at the disaster that was the fourth quarter. His offense was anemic. The fact that he bailed out the Texans on two straight drives by trying to throw the ball instead of running clock is embarrassingly sophomoric.

The Colts gifted the Texans with six point in this game and they’re lucky it wasn’t 14. The offense gifted Houston tons of time. If not for Matt Eberflus and the Colts defense, this game gets out of hand in the fourth quarter.


I LOVE ZACH PASCAL

Look, there is very little able Zach Pascal physically that will jump off of the page. He isn’t the fastest or the biggest. But, Pascal does everything really well. He can return kicks, he can cover on punt and kick units, he is the best run blocking receiver on the team, and he can make big plays with the ball in his hands.

The Colts have been desperately looking for someone to complement T.Y. Hilton and Pascal is starting to look like the guy who is ready to do just that. When Campbell and Funchess return from injury, this offense will be rich with weapons. It’s incredible that the team lost Fountain and has gotten basically nothing from Cain and still have a lot to be proud of.

Kudos to Pascal. Kudos to Ballard for bringing him in. This team is built on players like Pascal and it set this group apart from the competition on most Sundays.


NELSON ISN’T RIGHT

The Colts listed All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson on the injury report on Friday. Today, Frank Reich’s play-calling suggests there is a reason he was on that report. No matter what anyone tells you, unless your offensive line and running game is woefully anemic, you run the ball with a two score lead half way through the fourth quarter.

Your opponent is desperate to save time on the clock for offensive magic to happen. The value of seconds grows more as the sand moves its way down the hour glass. The Colts beat the Chiefs to pieces with the ground game. For some reason, today, the Colts weren’t feeling it.

To me, it has to be a reflection of the coaching staff’s confidence in trying to run behind Nelson. If it isn’t, they look like idiots.


MATT EBERFLUS IS SPECIAL

Early in the season, the Colts defense had a lot of question-marks. Darius Leonard has missed three straight games. Malik Hooker has miss time. Clayton Geathers missed time. Kenny Moore was inactive today. Pierre Desir was a game-time decision.

A lot has been made about the defense taking a step back from an impressive 2018 performance. The healthy return of Jabaal Sheard appears to be all the difference. This group is playing nasty, opportunistic football.

I know the offense put up 30 points today but don’t be confused, the defense sealed a victory against a hot Texans team that put up more than 50 points earlier this year.

Hats off to Eberflus and the defense. It looks like they should continue getting better as the season moves on. That’s bad news for the rest of the AFC.