Well, it was a nightmare, then it was just uncomfortable, and then it was elation.
Welcome to the Luck/Pagano/Grigson-era Colts!
In one of the most frustrating halves in Andrew Luck's career, the Colts struggled to move the ball, score and stop the other team, all things that are semi-important in the NFL. Luck completed just 3 of 12 passes in the first half for 56 yards, and was sacked three times as the offensive line decided to invite J.J. Watt in for tea and biscuits.
The receivers weren't helping anything, with just about everyone (T.Y. Hilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Griff Whalen, Donald Brown, and Trent Richardson all were culprits) dropping a Luck pass at one point or another. Defensively the Colts seemed completely surprised by Case Keenum's athletic ability and downfield accuracy. Oh, and Andre Johnson? Even though he has over 100 catches and 1500 yards against the Colts in his career (more than double anybody else over that time), the Colts tried to single-cover him.
It didn't work.
So, the Colts went into halftime down 21-3. They left Houston with a 27-24 win and a two-game lead in the AFC South.
How did they do it? We have all the GIFs to explain it!
This year, the Colts have alternated between stretches of difficult-to-watch and astoundingly great play. While it always looks better when they win, the problems still exist, and Head Coach Chuck Pagano is well aware of the egg the team nearly laid on Sunday Night Football.
“You’re exactly right,” he said to a reporter asking about the team’s first half problems. “It’s the big pink elephant in the middle of the room. The win does cure, you can walk around it and avoid it but we don’t do that.”
They’ll come back in here Wednesday morning and a lot of guys are already in here. They’ll be in here tomorrow. They’ll watch that tape. We’ll point out everything in all three phases. Individually, as position groups and go back to work and get the mistakes corrected, get the communication cleaned up, get the technique cleaned up.”
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.
In the first half, the Colts secondary couldn't stop Andre Johnson, allowing him to catch 7 passes for 190 yards and 3 scores.
In the second half, they held Johnson to just 39 yards on 2 catches.
In the first half, Pep Hamilton seemed determined to impose his will on the Texans, running out the vaunted 1-WR formation multiple times.
In the second half, Hamilton would call one running play before the final clock-killing drive.
In the first half, the officials missed a "hitting a defenseless receiver" penalty that would have put the Colts inside the 15-yard line on their first drive, they missed a roughing the punter call that would have given them a fresh set of downs, and we're not exactly sure what they were doing on the LaVon Brazill forced fumble overturn.
In the second half, they realized millions of people were watching.
In the first half, Griff Whalen had 3 or 4... dozen... drops.
In the second half, he caught a 17-yard pass that converted a huge 3rd-down on the game-winning-drive in the 4th quarter.
In the first half, the Colts offensive line surrendered 3 sacks and countless pressures.
In the second half, they turned it around, yielding only one sack and providing Luck with enough time to find TY Hilton down field.
In the first half, Luck was 3 of 12 for 56 yards.
In the second half, he was 15 of 28 for 215 and 3 TDs.
Just when you're ready to count them out, the Colts perform their best.no comments
27-24. Indianapolis is now 19-4 all-time against the Houston Texans.
Welcome to one of the weirdest Colts games in recent memory. Strange penalties, strange no-calls, four missed field goals (three by Houston), a scary moment for Texans coach Gary Kubiak, and the Colts themselves, who appeared to wait until the third quarter to return from their bye week.
The first game in the history of this rivalry without Reggie Wayne on the field (though he did fly down with the team) would end in familiarly classic fashion, as Indy stormed back in the second half for a 27-24 victory.
Houston came out of the gate on fire, in front of a roaring home crowd, and wearing their Battle Red (or Beat the Colts Red) uniforms. They converted 4-8 third downs in the first half, outgaining Indianapolis 294 yards to 102 and headed to the locker room with a 21-3 lead.
It's that time of year folks! Who to Root For is back.
As always, I realize the grammatically correct headline is "For whom to root", but the douce-level of that phrase is almost incalculable.
We start off with a relatively easy slate to pick this week, but as the season goes along and tie-breakers come into play, things will get more hairy. This column will strive to keep it all straight for you so you can scoreboard watch in confidence.
Saints over the Jets
Rams over the Titans
Bills over the Chiefs
Redskins over the Chargers
Steelers over the Patriots
Most of these are AFC teams playing NFC teams, so the rule of thumb is always to root for the NFC. The Pats and Colts are vying for a bye, so the Steelers are the play there. Same thing goes for Kansas City.
Just one minor one this week. Root for the Raiders over the Eagles. Indy isn't likely to need to worry about the Raiders, and a victory by Oakland boosts Indy's strength of victory tiebreaker. It's a minor point, but that's the reason this column exists.no comments
Oct 20, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws a pass as he is hit by Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (94) during the first half in the game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s play a game.
Who’s the better all-time quarterback? Dan Marino, Brett Favre or Steve Young? How about Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana or John Elway? Good luck reaching a consensus. A quick google search reveals that respected analysts from around the country and across the globe have engaged in this exercise, each of them reaching different conclusions in some form or fashion, often dramatically so. What do you weight more? Super Bowls or MVP awards? Wins or quarterback rating? Signature wins or signature losses? Everybody will have a slightly different answer to these questions and with good reason, it’s a subjective exercise with subjective methodologies and as such, invariably subjective results.
Of course that’s just one position of 22 on a field, and that figure doesn’t include kickoff and punt coverage teams, punt returners, kick returner, field goal snappers, holders and kickers. All of whom are important cogs in the winning or losing of an NFL game.
The NFL is often referred to by players as “the ultimate team game” and yet those same players often, upon retiring into life as an analyst, fall into the same rhetorical traps that so many fans do, pitting this player against that player, comparing stats side-by-side as if somehow equivalent statistical totals represent equivalent ability.
This, we know, is an illusion. It’s a mirage created by sports culture which necessitates instant debate and firm, unequivocal conclusions based on limited evidence. But the NFL isn’t like other sports, and I’m going to tell you why.no comments
What exactly has happened in Houston? Some of us expected the Texans to take a step back this year, but this far?
If you find out for me let me know. Everything you can imagine that has gone wrong has happen. Between innconsistent offensive line play, poor running defense and now poor quarterback play, the Texans have done nothing right this season.
Also throw in some questionable play calling from Head Coach Gary Kubiak and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips; things could not be going worse in Houston. To be honest the play of Matt Schaub has really put the Texans behind the eight ball this season.