It was a nail biter last Sunday in the Colts’ first contest against the Houston Texans this season. The game came down to the wire, but after a bad snap by Houston and an Indy recovery, the Colts managed to win the game 26-20.
With only four weeks left in the regular season. Let’s see where the thermometer is after week 13.
From an offensive standpoint, I thought the team played really well. There were some very good things that happened for them in Houston, but they could not find a way to put up a score in the second half.
They had a couple of excellent opportunities, but they were all ruined by poor play calling or penalties.
There was a lot of controversy surrounding the decision making of Frank Reich with just under 7 minutes left in the game when the Colts had the ball in Texans territory.
It was 4th down on the Houston 5 yard line, and the Colts needed just one yard for a first down. The score at the time was 24-20 and with only 7 minutes left, a touchdown would all but secure a victory for the Colts.
Reich, as usual, decided to go for it on this 4th down, and the play he called was to run the ball up the middle with Nyheim Hines. Hines, of course, was stopped immediately and the Colts turned the ball over on downs.
Hines is great and he has been a playmaker for this team all season long, so this is absolutely nothing against him. That said, he’s only 5’9” and doesn’t have the power to push his way up the middle through guys that are twice his size.
I loved the idea to go for it on fourth down, but Reich needs to pick the right play at the right time. There are so many other options that would have been more viable than Hines in that situation. There also appeared to be some confusion before that play because it seemed like Philip Rivers was running off the field, but Jacoby Brissett was telling him to go back on.
Maybe the Colts should have just taken a time out and talked it over to ensure they were making the best decision possible.
On the very next drive for the Colts offense, they had great field position and another opportunity to put the game away. This time the Colts were up 26-20 because of a safety from Justin Houston.
With just 6 minutes left in the game, a successful drive by the Colts with any sort of score (field goal or touchdown) would solidify the game in favor of Indy.
The Colts get first down at the Houston 49 yard line with only 3 minutes left on the clock. However, a Ryan Kelly holding penalty and a Michael Pittman Jr false start push the Colts back 25 total yards, and they are forced to punt on 4th and 12 with just enough time for Deshaun Watson and the Texans to get the ball in the end zone and win.
Once again, these penalties come at the most inconvenient times imaginable and the Colts give their opposition one last chance at victory.
Watson led the charge all the way down the field to the Colts 2 yard line and on second down, there was a bad snap that the Colts were able to recover and end the game.
A wild finish to a game that could have been more one-sided if Reich had made a few better decisions and the offense stopped accumulating so many penalties.
Fortunately, it was a win for the Colts, and with every win comes some positive things to look forward to as the season comes to a close.
First off, this seems to be the most consistent thing on the team, but the Colts defense held the Texans scoreless in the second half. It came close at the end, but the Texans only scored 20 points all game long.
I thought they played extremely well and they did an okay job at containing Watson. Watson was 26-38 passing with 341 yards and an interception. No touchdowns for him in this game.
The defensive line for Indy was applying consistent pressure all game long and even tallied 5 sacks and 8 QB hits, but Watson is such a mobile quarterback that he was often able to escape these pressures and turn a negative situation into some sort of a positive gain.
A defensive standout in the game was DB Kenny Moore, who was all over the field on Sunday, making what seemed like every single play possible. He ended up with 8 total tackles (6 solo), 3 passes defended, and an interception that he wrestled out of the arms of Brandin Cooks.
One other major player in this game was Justin Houston. Houston had 4 total tackles with 3 sacks, 3 QB hits, and a safety. The safety would actually tie Houston for most career safeties in NFL history with four.
On the offensive side of the ball, I thought Rivers had another solid performance especially considering he will be playing the rest of the season with a hurt toe. Rivers was 27-35 passing with 285 yards and two touchdowns.
The other clear standout for the Colts offense was T.Y. Hilton who appears to be getting into a bit of a rhythm these past two weeks. Hilton caught 8 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown, his second on the season.
It’s performances like these that leave me questioning how the rest of the season will go. Individually, every single player made a contribution to this victory, but how much longer will these play calling mistakes continue? Why do the Colts get called for a holding penalty on what seems like every other play? How much longer will the Indy defense be able to bail out their offense? Too many questions still surround this team for me, and even though it was a win, it was not a convincing win by any means. If it wasn’t for that one bad snap, the Colts would have probably lost this game. I am going to keep the thermometer where it is this week. Huge game against the Las Vegas Raiders this Sunday. Win that game, and Indy is sure to heat up.