After a painful (and boring) bye week, the Colts were ready to play some football again, this time against a division rival: the Houston Texans.
With a 2-5 record, Houston entered the game as one of the biggest disappointments of the 2013 NFL Season. Still, being a divisional game, it wasn’t going to be an easy one for Indy, especially after losing veteran WR Reggie Wayne.
Let’s take a look at the Colts’ three units, see how well they did against the Texans and pick out the best player of each unit.
It wasn’t a bad start for the Colts offense. Their first play was a nice catch by Coby Fleener for a 44-yd gain. Not bad, huh? Problem is, the Colts would only get six yards on their next three plays so they had to settle with a FG attempt.
Their next drive wasn’t any better. On 3rd and 4, T.Y. Hilton dropped an easy pass, so it was time to punt the ball. Problem here was, they ran the ball five straight times and passed it only once. Sure, Trent Richardson got a first down on the ground, but the Colts need to let Luck throw the ball more!
The disappointment would continue.
With five minutes to go, Andrew Luck threw a deep pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey. It would pay off, as the Colts got a pass interference call, and a 1st & goal with it. Unfortunately, the offensive line was completely useless. Luck got sacked, and the Colts had to settle with a FG. That was the third sack allowed in the first half.
The second half started a bit better for the offense. It’s true that Andrew Luck got sacked again and missed an open Griff Whalen in the end zone, but the Colts still got three points.
The Colts almost forgot about running the ball and, guess what? That worked pretty well for them. At the end of the third quarter and after a Roughing the Passer call, Luck threw a BEAUTIFUL pass to T.Y. Hilton for the Colts first TD of the game.
After that, they just wouldn’t stop scoring. On the second play of their next drive, Luck threw a perfect deep ball to T.Y. Hilton for their second TD of the game. Two TDs, two perfect throws. The Colts offense looked unstoppable at this point.
Down 24-19, even Trent Richardson had a huge play: A 24-yd reception! Luck would find Hilton a couple of plays later for their third TD of the game. But it wasn’t over! They went for the 2-point conversion and Luck threw yet another perfect pass, this time to Coby Fleener to get the two points and a 27-24 lead.
You know how much the Colts D struggled against Andre Johnson in the first half? Well, something similar happened to the Texans in the second half against T.Y. Hilton. Without Reggie Wayne, it was Hilton’s job to be Luck’s new best friend, and he didn’t disappoint.
The running game is still pretty irrelevant. In the second half, the Colts barely ran the ball, and it worked great for them. It’s funny how that works.
Boy, what a game by Andrew Luck. The first half was horrible for the whole team including him, but he was absolutely fantastic in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. Just let him throw the ball and good things are going to happen.
It was a miserable first half for the offense. The second half though, was nearly perfect.
Offensive player of the game: Andrew Luck
Down 21-6 at the half and with absolutely nothing going right for the Colts, Andrew Luck found a way to pull an improbable win against Houston. He threw three TD passes (two in the fourth quarter), all three to T.Y. Hilton. Two of those TD throws were simply beautiful and that 2-point conversion to Fleener was another amazing pass. Luck finished with 271 yards and three TD passes.
Not a good start by the Colts defense. They were completely lost during Houston’s first possession, as the Texans needed just three plays to score a TD. Andre Johnson ate Vontae Davis alive on a deep play and just like that, the Colts were down by seven.
After a blocked FG, the Texans would start their next drive on Colts territory. Fortunately, the defense managed to keep the scoreboard 7-0 after stopping Ben Tate on a 4th and 1 play.
On the next drive, Andre Johnson would score his second TD on a deep pass. This time, it was Antoine Bethea with the mistake. Covering Johnson, Bethea apparently hesitated for a bit, giving the Texans’ WR enough space to find himself wide open in the endzone.
Right before the half Andre Johnson would have another huge play, this time a 28-yd gain beating Darius Butler. After a 23-yd run by Keenum, the Texans’ QB threw it to Andre Johnson AGAIN to get their third TD of the game. Johnson beat Davis again. #80 was sure having a lot of fun, and the Colts apparently had no idea how to stop him.
We didn’t know it at the time, but that would be Houston’s final TD of the game.
In the second half, the defense didn’t get a turnover, but they managed to hold the Texans to just three points. Sure, the Texans missed three field goals (two in the second half) meaning they still moved the ball pretty well, but the defense did enough to keep the Colts in the game. Bend but don’t break.
When the Colts finally got the lead late in the fourth quarter, the defense allowed the Texans to get into field goal range. Luckily, the Texans would miss the FG. Game over.
Colts HC Chuck Pagano also deserves some credit for challenging a crucial play. Down 24-19 and on 3rd and 7, Andre Johnson had caught a pass from Keenum and the refs gave him the first down. Pagano challenged and the play was reversed and called an incomplete pass. It wasn’t clear if he had possession or not, but with such horrible refs, it was worth to gamble there. Chuck did and it paid off. Good job, coach.
Defensive player of the game: Pat Angerer
He finished the game with 7 tackles and 5 assists, and towards the end of the game he did a good job pressuring Case Keenum. Nothing spectacular, but it was still a solid game for the LB.
So, the start wasn’t good for the offense or the defense. For the STs, it wasn’t any different as Houston blocked a FG early in the first quarter. The Texans recovered and would’ve returned it for a TD if it wasn’t for yet another awesome Pat McAfee tackle.
McAfee had quite a start. On his first punt, he lost the ball, recovered it and amazingly still managed to punt it. Sadly, that awesome play was negated by a penalty. On the 4th down replay, the refs didn’t throw a flag for a grotesque roughing the kicker penalty. It was a horrible miss from the refs and it wouldn’t end here.
With 3:28 to go, the Colts STs forced a fumble on a kickoff return and they recovered the football. The refs would reverse the call, saying LaVon Brazill was out of bounds when he touched the ball with his foot right before the Colts recovered it. The replay never showed such a thing. In order to reverse a play, the evidence has to be conclusive. Here, it wasn’t even close.
In the second half, things got a bit easier for the STs. Pat McAfee had one punt, which came late in the 4th quarter when the Colts already had the lead.
Adam Vinatieri finished the game with 2 FGs.
"Boy, what a game by Andrew Luck. The first half was horrible for the whole team including him..."
Wondering if Luck was horrible in the first half -- that is, on his own -- or if his horrible performance was more due to the OL not giving him any time or a decent pocket and his receivers dropping passes in volume and at key times? Given how uncharacteristic the first half was for him, I'm more inclined to blame his supporting cast. But then again, I'm in super homer mode for Luck already, so it's hard to be objective.
Sorry, but calling for more passes in the first half, when the OL was so porous, the receivers couldn't get open, and passes were being dropped or sailing over the receivers heads just seems, well, totally unrealistic, at best. To be clear, it's fine to call for more passing if you like it and think it would be more fun to watch. But, of seemed to me that both the offensive and defensive plans were really off and, luckily, they were able to adjust at halftime. But it's not like passing more in the first half would have solved the problem ... They changed a lot more than the proportion of runs vs passing.
@mrpenney The players get fined for playing too reckless or trying to injure another player. The referees need to be fined for officiating terrible. That would put an end to some of their stupid calls and home field prejudices.