The Indianapolis Colts went into Sunday’s game on the back of a important win against one of the their AFC rivals in the Las Vegas Raiders in week 14 needing a win to remain in the playoff picture. The Colts came up against a team who were coming off a blowout lost against the Chicago Bears the previous week. There were some strong showings during the 27-20 victory against the Houston Texans and a few poor ones, as well.
DeForest Buckner was struggling with an ankle injury that he picked up in last Thursday’s practice and nearly missed the game because of it. Instead the Colts dropped down his snaps to around 50%. Buckner was still his dominant and effective self even with limited snaps and a injured ankle. Buckner produced 4 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, 4 quarterback hits, 3 sacks (career high) and a forced fumble all in only 35 snaps. Buckner, if he hadn’t already, proved yet again why Chris Ballard made the trade for him in the off-season.
Jonathan Taylor is firmly the Colts lead running back and rightfully so. Taylor again put on a show this week carrying on his dominant run. Taylor finished the day with 16 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown, adding 4 catches for 12 yards in the passing game. Taylor continued his 4 game run of rushing for over 80 yards rushing on Sunday. He now has eclipsed over 800 yards rushing with 7 touchdowns and a yards per attempt of 4.6 yards.
Zach Pascal had himself a game Sunday. He was all over the field making big plays, converting on third down and catching touchdowns. Pascal was the best Colts wide receiver on the field Sunday and produced accordingly, managing 5 catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Pascal has been impressive lately coming up just when the team needs him most.
Deshaun Watson is a very good quarterback and he showed exactly why he is so good Sunday. Watson was harassed all game by the Colts pass rush but he still managed to pass for 435 yards. The Colts coverage in the secondary especially was not up to scratch and were a step behind the Texans receivers on plenty of plays. There was one play in particular where a Texans wide receiver was wide open, without a Colts defender within 20 yards of him, and walked into the end zone for the score. The Colts were certainly a bend don’t break defense Sunday but they need to tighten up significantly going forward and potentially into the playoffs.