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Highlights from week 15: Colts vs Texans

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Overview

The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts have quite the history in the AFC South. No matter what situation each team finds themselves in, these two teams always play each other close. For the second time in three games this matchup came down to a turnover in the last minute of the game.


First Quarter

Things could not have started better

Fans and the media alike have been begging for the Colts defense to show up in the first half of a game this season and the Colts front seven answered the call. DeForest Buckner ended the day with three sacks, even if they weren’t all clean, satisfying tackles, they all counted as sacks. Another huge day for the first year Colt.

The running was good

Jonathan Taylor and Nyhiem Hines traded nice runs on the offenses opening drive. It looked like the Colts might run all over the Texans all afternoon.

Finishing on the ground

Jonathan Taylor made a fantastic cut behind the line of scrimmage, makes another defender miss and then runs hard through contact to get six points. It’s rare that you ever see such an obvious improvement occur over the course of a single season the way it’s happened with Taylor, but everyone in the Colts organization has to love what the rookie is giving the team late in the season.

Indian-sack-oplis

Another sack on third down creates a fumble and a short field for a surging Colts offense. Things were looking fantastic.

Just silly

Zach Pascal was huge for the Colts today and it started with this amazing contested catch. It’s crazy to think that Pascal was an undrafted free agent following the 2017 draft. He has developed into a complete receiver and today he was the Colts most productive pass catcher.

Gets his payoff

Pascal’s first touchdown on the day put the Colts up by 13.

Jump on it

Everything looked so bright and cheery.


Second Quarter

More sacks

Kemoko Turay got his hands on Deshaun Watson on this play but the sack was officially credited to Denico Aurty. It was good to see Turay play as much as he did and despite his lack of a sack today, it appears that Turay is back to form and looks as promising as ever.

Suddenly, things began to change

Even though the sacks would continue to roll in periodically, the Texans started to figure out the Colts pass rush and as soon as Watson didn’t have pressure in his face on every down, he predictably looked very good.

This was bad

It’s not every day that something I post gets noticed by Darius Butler and I wish he noticed something more fun to talk about but I’ll take it.

The two teams traded possessions before the Texans kicked a field goal to head to halftime.


Third Quarter

The second half started well too

Plays like this one sure make it seem like Jonathan Taylor has everything a back needs to be special for a long time to come. Taylor breaks through an arm tackle at the line of scrimmage, runs into traffic, keeps his legs churning while he gets and keeps his eyes up field where he finds some daylight and turns what could have easily been a short gain into a 12 yard gain.

When you combine runs like this with the speed he showed last week and as long as he can stay healthy, you have all of the things you need to have a highly productive running back for a very long time.

Drive killer

I like Frank Reich a lot but this decision is what ended all momentum the drive had. Completely ruined it. I seem to be in the minority but I actually have liked Jacoby Brissett coming in when the team is facing 3rd and 4th and short situations. He can sneak it, he can hand it off, he knows the offense, he’s usually going to avoid making a really dumb mistake that will greatly cost the team.

Having said that, if Philip Rivers can play football, Jacoby Brissett shouldn’t be throwing any pass, ever. I guess maybe during practice and in warmups before the game, but once the game starts that’s it, it should be Rivers’ show.

The Colts left four points on the board but did manage to kick a field goal.

The defense came up with a big stop

Frank Reich decided to challenge what proved to be a bad spot. The successful challenge moved the ball back to give the Texans a 3rd and short. The Texans then jumped with a false start and the Colts defense made this stop on 3rd and 5. The Texans kicked a field goal and the game was once again, too close.


Fourth Quarter

Respect the specs

Rodrigo Blankenship kicked a career long 53 yard field goal to put the Colts back up by a touchdown. Blankenship had missed his only other 50+ yard attempt short, so this was good to see.

Watson is a problem

Imagine being so bad at your job that you’re Bill O’Brien and you get fired with this guy as your quarterback. You literally just have to show up with half a game plan and let him play.

4th and 1

I enjoy seeing Jacoby in this role.

Texan killer

T.Y. Hilton always creates problems for the Houston Texans and it’s kind of amazing that they never manage to bottle him up for an entire game.

Back ahead

Zach Pascal with his second touchdown of the day. If you’re handing out game balls for this one, I think Pascal gets the first.

Third sack for Buckner

You guys remember when there were people questioning Ballard’s decision to trade the 13th overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers for DeForest Buckner and then signing him to a massive contract? I remember that. I’m pretty close to declaring Chris Ballard’s moves good until proven otherwise.

History repeats itself

Two weeks ago the game ended on a fumble near the goal line resulting in a Texans loss. This finish was more exciting due to Darius Leonard punching the ball out instead of Watson not being able to scoop up a low snap, but at the end of the day the result is the same and the Colts finish this game in the victory formation.


Final Thoughts For The Week

The Colts are 10-4 and the playoffs seem inevitable. This game, as most divisional games are, was weird. The Texans played well, or the Colts played poorly, either way I don’t put much stock in the quality of a divisional win against a quarterback like Deshaun Watson. Had this been the Jets, I’d be worried.

The Colts have a game against the 12-2 Pittsburgh Steelers next weekend. Tomorrow night the Colts and the rest of the football world will watch as the Steelers look to get right against a bad Cincinnati Bengals team after losing two games in a row.

This Colts team might not be the kind of team we should expect to see in the Super Bowl this year but considering how far they’ve come since August 24th, 2019, this team is in a really good place and seems to be in good hands for all of the challenges the franchise will face in the years to come.

It’s a good time to be a Colts fan. Enjoy it.

Go Colts.