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Knee-jerk Reactions: Colts overcome horrible offensive play calling, get lucky win over Texans 26-20

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts escaped with an important AFC South win on the road in Houston. In what should have been a dominant offensive performance, Indianapolis looked lost for nearly the entire second half. Against one of the worst run defenses in the league, Frank Reich appeared intent on asking Philip Rivers to throw the ball 40 times instead (he got close, 35 passing attempts).

The 4-and-1 play in the fourth quarter was really bad. Running Nyheim Hines up the gut in short-yardage situations is stupid every time. Jonathan Taylor has the size and power to get the yard. Your special package with Jacoby Brissett would put you in a more desirable position. Jordan Wilkins rarely gets stopped for a loss and is also the kind of guy who makes sense in short yardage.

No. None of those things.

No quick pass on a slant for a big touchdown to T.Y. Hilton who has been eating up the defense. No target for your rookie wide receiver with the length to make a play in the red zone. No tight end play to get the extra yard. Nothing.

The best we have in the playbook? Nyheim Hines up the gut.

Who is asked to make the most important block of the game? Receiving tight end Trey Burton.

Sorry folks, that is just God-awful offensive play-calling and there’s not a valid excuse.

This has been a running theme for much of the season. We’re 13 weeks into the 2020 NFL season and now need to have our best games down the stretch to get into the playoffs. The offense has yet to figure out how to get the running game going. The offense has yet to find an identity of any kind. The defense has been great for much of the year but the offense frequently puts all of the pressure back on the defense to do something great.

When the Justin Houston gets a sack for a safety? The Colts offense has what is one of the worst four-minute drives I’ve ever seen. When the team needs to be disciplined and just grind things out, when Jonathan Taylor is hot and eating the Texans alive, our offensive coaches decide to put Jordan Wilkins in the game. Nothing against Wilkins but you feed the hot hand and Taylor was electric in his limited opportunities.

Taylor finished with 91 rushing yards on 13 carries and added three receptions for 44 receiving yards and a touchdown. Why did it take almost an entire half for Taylor to get involved on the ground? What is the thought process?

Entering the game it was assumed that the Colts would grind it out and keep Watson off of the field. Taylor just had a week off and should be fresh. He is coming off of the best game of his rookie season against the Packers, and he is exactly the kind of running back to use against the hapless Texans run defense.

No. He has to wait until late in the game and when he’s eating the Texans alive our coaching staff pulls him.

T.Y. Hilton had one reception for 10 yards in the second half. Nyheim Hines averaged 1.7 yards on the ground. His best run of the day was a rushing touchdown early in the first half. He was targeted only three times through the air.

Speaking of Hines, he had an electric day as a returner but the officials found reasons to throw a flag consistently.

Speaking of officials, this was another horrifying performance. This theme is also taking away from NFL football.

A blatant example of pass interference on T.Y. Hilton was not called. Frank Reich drew up a horrible play on the ensuing snap and it ended up giving the Texans the ball. Clear holds on Houston offensive linemen went uncalled. Anthony Walker Jr. got called for a hold on one passing play and then did the exact same thing on another and didn’t get a flag.

Lest we leave anyone out, the defense again allowed way too much by giving up 20 first half points. They allowed Keke Coutee and Chad Hansen to each eclipse 100 receiving yards.

Coutee and Hansen.

This was the weakest group of receivers the Colts have faced all year. They feasted.

The long and short of it is that the Colts got lucky. They were lucky to overcome an anemic second half offense. They were lucky to overcome the officials. They were lucky for a bad snap because the odds that the Texans were going to win the game within just a few yards of the end zone with under two minutes to play was very high.

If Indianapolis can’t find a way to figure these things out, they’ll continue to struggle down the stretch.

With all of these knee-jerk, complaints out of the way. The Tennessee Titans lost today and the Colts win brings them tied for season record. Winning out in the AFC South and picking up a win or two down the stretch leaves the AFC South at least in striking distance but the Titans have a more favorable schedule.

Live to fight another day.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

I guess.