For the fourteenth straight regular-season contest between the Colts and Texans, the game was decided by single digits. It was another stressful 60 minutes of football that once again came down to the final plays of the game. The Colts were able to pull off the 27-20 victory thanks to a fumble forced by Darius Leonard in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter.
Prior to the game, I offered both a player on offense and a player on defense that I thought the Colts would need to get the win on Sunday.
Let’s see how my players did.
Jonathan Taylor (RB)
Coming into the game, Jonathan Taylor was hot. He had several consecutive games with solid production and was starting to be utilized more effectively by Frank Reich and the Colts offense.
I would also argue that there is a clear and obvious improvement from Taylor with both his decision making and his vision. It may have to do with the offensive line playing better, but Taylor seems to be finding the open holes and picking up more yards whenever possible.
On Sunday, Taylor had 16 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 5.2 yards-per-carry which is above his season average of 4.6. Taylor and Nyheim Hines appear to be a perfect one-two punch for the Colts run game, and it has been working out extremely well for several consecutive weeks now.
In the passing game, Taylor also had a small contribution with four catches for 12 yards.
I thought Taylor played very well once again for the offense, and I was actually surprised in some situations late in the first half and early in the second half where Reich decided to either use Hines or pass the ball.
Taylor was productive all game long and using him the right way will always be the key to victory for the Colts. There were a few field goals that the Colts had, that I thought could have been touchdowns if Reich decided to feed Taylor more often.
Regardless of the decisions made for play calling, Taylor continues to impress. With two games left in the season before the playoffs, he is getting hot at the right time.
Kenny Moore (CB)
Coming into Sunday’s game, the Colts had given up over 300 passing yards in three of their last four games. This trend continued this week as the Colts gave up 373 passing yards to Deshaun Watson and the Texans’ offense.
That makes four of the Colts last five games in which they gave up big passing games to the opposing quarterback.
I picked Kenny Moore this week in hopes that he would lead the charge in preventing these major gains in the air. He was the hottest player in the secondary coming into the game and brought in an interception in his last game against Watson and the Texans.
On Sunday, Moore had seven total tackles, six of which were solos and he had one tackle for loss. Overall, not a bad game by any means but he certainly did not make any crazy game-changing plays.
Considering that quarterbacks continue to put up big passing numbers against the Colts defense, players like Kenny Moore, Xavier Rhodes, and Rock Ya-Sin need to step up come playoff time.
The biggest defensive standouts for the Colts this week were DeForest Buckner who tallied three sacks on Watson, and Darius Leonard who had 12 total tackles and forced the fumble at the end of the game.
The defense has been solid all year long. Another big test next week against the Steelers. Let’s see if the secondary can tie up some of their loose ends.