With the AFC South title already clinched, the Colts still had plenty to play for. A first round bye in the playoffs or a better spot in the AFC was still possible, although they needed some help from those facing the Bengals and the Patriots.
Unfortunately, after an 18-yard catch by Richardson, Luck was intercepted at the Texans’ 5 on their second drive after a poorly ran route by rookie Da’Rick Rogers.
Before halftime, the Colts scored another FG after Keenum’s second interception. 20-3.
With seven minutes left in the third quarter, the Colts were putting up a nice drive, but Hilton dropped a very catchable pass on third & six and Colts were forced to punt. That was the second punt of the day.
The rest of the second half was pretty much irrelevant for the Colts’ offense. Trent Richardson had a couple of good carries, including a 14-yarder and another one for 22 yards.
Luck’s 180 yards and two TD passes were enough to win the game. The Colts just stopped calling pass plays for most of the second half.
With Brown injured, Richardson had one of his best games as a Colt. He finished with 64 yards on 19 carries. He was also useful in the passing game, finishing with four catches for 38 yards and a TD. Most of his rushing yards came in garbage time, though.
The Colts enjoyed good field position after Keenum’s two interceptions and Whalen’s 51-yard punt return, but they only got FGs out of those. That was a bit disappointing.
Coby Fleener didn’t have a single catch in the game, but it didn’t end up mattering. Hilton, on the other hand, finished with eight catches for 78 yards.
It was a good game overall for the offense. Wasting good field position was disappointing but their great first half was enough. They still need to show some consistency in the final two games of the season.
Offensive player of the game: Trent Richardson
Yes, T-Rich. He wasn’t very impressive and a lot of his rushing yards came in garbage time. Still, he was pretty good in the passing game, including that 9-yard TD catch that gave the Colts a 14-point lead. He also finished with 102 yards of total offense.
The Colts’ defense followed the offense’s example and started strong, too. The Texans’ first drive ended in a three & out.
Still 7-3, Darius Butler intercepted Case Keenum at the Texans’ 30-yard line.
Down 17-3, Keenum threw his second interception of the day. Butler made the play once again. Right before the half, Antoine Bethea sacked Keenum for a 12-yard loss.
Houston’s first three drives of the second half all ended in three & outs. Actually, their only two drives in the second half that didn’t end in punts ended in a safety and a turnover on downs.
Down 23-3, Robert Mathis strip-sacked Keenum inside his own end zone. The Colts couldn’t recover the fumble but still got a safety. 25-3.
That play meant a lot, lot more than just a couple of points. Robert Mathis broke two franchise records on that play. That sack gave Mathis a season record of 16.5 sacks, while also breaking the franchise sack record with 108. Both previous records belonged to Dwight Freeney.
Both Erik Walden and rookie Bjoern Werner also had a sack of their own. That was Werner’s first career sack.
The Colts’ defense was great for the entire game. They intercepted Keenum twice, sacked him four times and forced three fumbles, one of those resulting in a safety.
Colts learned from their last game against the Texans. Andre Johnson finished with just four catches for 18 yards. Both of Keenum’s interceptions had Johnson as the intended receiver on the play. Vontae Davis, who was abused by Andre Johnson in Week 9, played really well.
Defensive player of the game: Robert Mathis
While Darius Butler finished with two interceptions, the award has to go to #98. His strip-sack was his 16.5 sack of the season and his 108th career sack, both new franchise records. That was also his 42nd strip/sack. If he doesn’t win the Defensive Player of the Year award, Colts fans should riot. Ok, not really, but they should be really upset.
This wasn’t a very busy day for the special teams.
By the time the Colts had a 20-point lead, Pat McAfee had punted just twice. A couple of his punts were close to being downed at the one, but ended up being touchbacks.
Griff Whalen was the punt returner for the game. He had a nice 51-yard return in the third quarter.
Adam Vinatieri was perfect, with three FGs on three attempts.
I don't want to sound too much like a Debby Downer, but I think a 'B' is a bit generous. Outside of the two TD drives, the Colts had a lot of trouble moving the ball. I mean the one INT put us at the TX 30 and the other was around their 40ish. Whalen's PR set the team around the 30 as well. Going 0/10 on 3rd down conversions after the 1st quarter is pretty brutal as well.
I only watched snippets of the game and listened to most of it on the radio, so I haven't seen it in depth. I will have to sit down and watch the rest of it. Nate seemed pretty down on the performance when I checked Twitter this morning.
Regarding TRich, it's senseless to denigrate garbage time carries when you are the team with the lead chewing up clock--they expect you to do that, so garbage time carries for the victor are much more impressive than garbage time pass yards for the desperate team trailing against a prevent D... no? Also, as I have been saying all along, it is not Brown who is the great runner or TRich who is bad, ... it's Brown's CARRIES that were the good ones. With Brown out, TRich took his carries and did well with them. Of course he did--it was the carries, not the back. Next game, if they are both in, and if they switch each other's carries, just wait and see who does well. In fact, maybe TRich took some of Luck's carries. That would explain the 22 yarder..... And yes, before you attack me as criminally insane, I am kidding.
I would have like to have seen more offense also. Case Keenum sucked so bad they must have felt like they could afford to shut down the passing game. It was an improved performance but, barely.
@Bobman1 It's not completely senseless. You obviously want to run as much time as possible off of the clock. Richardson converted 1st down with his runs in the 4th quarter. That's as many as Choice had, and Choice didn't have a run over 5 yards. Ideally you'd like to see Richardson be more effective at converting 1st downs than someone who's spent 5 days with the team.
@Payton@Bobman1 @Bobman1 while I agree that Richardson has had some bad plays called for him, I still think he has not been as good a runner, he even showed this game that he still has trouble finding holes, when they are wide open he does a decent job, when a hole is plugged he typically just rams into it and gains no yards instead of finding where the hole is and hitting it hard, Brown used to have this problem and somehow fixed it.
Main problem is we think we have guys on the line that are movers and they definitely are not so we just get clogged up space and no one can get through on most occasions. No need for Doyle to be the lead blocker anytime, just ridiculous.