Colts 30 Texans 17
Colts 30 Texans 17
The Colts couldn't hold Arian Foster under 6 YPC, but a pass heavy start from Houston and an early lead in Indy's favor limited the damage on the ground. Matt Schaub was rattled early as Dwight Freeney abused Texans LT Duane Brown, fresh back into the lineup from a PED suspension and Clint Session was wildly successful on a pair of blitzes.
On offense Mike Hart and Jacob Tamme shone filling in for the injured Joseph Addai and Dallas Clark. After the first pass his way was incomplete off his hand Tamme caught 6 of the next 7 passes thrown to him for 64 yards and a TD. Mike Hart rushed for 84 yards on 12 carries showing his trademark power after contact, but also far more elusiveness than expected, good vision and excellent pass blocking.
Indy controlled the whole way scoring the first 14 points and never letting Houston back within 1 score of them. A late push showed promise despite terrible clock management, but was snuffed out by Freeney with a strip sack recovered by Eric Foster.
A great win that puts Indy on top of the AFC South and gets rid of that ugly zero in their divisional record. On the negative side, Donald Brown, Brody Eldridge, Mike Hart and Anthony Gonzalez all left injured not to return. Robert Mathis and Clint Session also lost time to injury, but did return. The Colts dominated Houston with a skeleton crew, but a breaking point exists... somewhere. For now though? Indy's on top!
Be sure to check out all the chatter during tonight's game. I'll be tweeting throughout, and Luke will be doing so live from the Luke. The best way to follow all the best commentary and voices on tonight's game is to track along with our Game Day Twitter Feed.
If you are going to the game tonight and will be tweeting live from the Luke, please let me know so all 18to88.com readers can follow your commentary.
For those who don't use twitter, but want to follow the conversation anyway, just use the chat client below. Remember, that your comments there will only be seen by those in the chat.
There's a natural human tendency to long for order and to seek it out and even super-impose it over chaos when it is not present.
Over the past few weeks an odd narrative had sprung up around the NFL that there were four teams clearly better than everyone else. They were the Jets, Ravens, Steelers and Patriots. It had been suggested that they formed an unbreakable quartet destined to take the top playoff spots in the AFC.
After Sunday, that still might happen, but it is far from inevitable.
- The Jets played one of the single ugliest games I've ever witnessed. The argument for the Jets was that their defense was so strong that it could lift a middling offense come playoff time. Yesterday certainly should have disabused us all of that notion. Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc, long a Sanchez denier, has stated that Mark Sanchez has small hands that won't translate to accuracy in bad weather. He looks like a savant today, as Sanchez was a train wreck in the high winds. The Packers have a very average defense (12th in scoring going into yesterday), that was also banged up. This wasn't the Ravens in week one. It was an average defense that shut out the Jets and made them look horrid. The Jets schedule is filled with winnable games, but after yesterday, EVERY Jets game is going to be in play. No offense that bad can be counted on to absolutely win a game against any team.
- The Steelers are a team that I believe in thanks to an outstanding defense. After watching them the last few weeks though, I don't think of them like a 'traditional' best team in the NFL. Their offense is also suspect, even with Roethlisberger. They aren't going 14-2 and probably not even 13-3. They are good, and there is no shame in losing to a desperate New Orleans team on the road, but they are far from an unbeatable juggernaut.
- What do we do with the Patriots, who Ross Tucker called "the worst 6-1 team I've seen"? We've known for years that their great advantage was Belichick, and they seem to be living off that edge against clown college coaches like Norv Turner and Brad Childress. Childress put on an insanity clinic yesterday. First of all, he opted to go for it on fourth down right before the half. Those who read regularly know that the one time I really favor kicking FGs on fourth and one and is just before the half because the field position advantage is negated. Then, because he failed the first time, Childress went for a FG on the two in the third quarter (THAT'S THE ONE TO GO FOR!), then he punted from midfield on fourth and 1. The Pats, despite not having a single area of the game in which they excel, continue to beat mediocre teams with bad coaches. Now they have the best record in football, but can't possibly scare anyone.
- Meanwhile, everyone in the criminally underrated AFC South is at least 4-4 including the Jaguars. The Titans' loss to the Chargers was a tough break for them. Had they been able to travel west beat a team coached by a chimp, it would have vaulted them into that 'elite' discussion. Now, they fall back into the scrum in the AFC and still have to answer their very serious quarterback questions. Before Vince Young got hurt yesterday his line was, well, Youngian: 10/23, 251, and 2 TDs. He was helped by one long touchdown pass which greatly helped his numbers. He is inaccurate and undependable. The Titans are beastly (best point differential in football), but at any given time Young's play can come apart, and they'll lose to a team like Denver. They remind me of the Jets: if they had a real quarterback, they'd be unstoppable.
- The Richard Seymour trade is looking worse all the time for the Pats. They gave up on last season, selling their fans on the idea that they would get the first overall pick for Seymour. Instead, the Raiders are now 4-4, and looking like they'll be a middle of the first round pick. That deal gets worse with every Raiders win.
By the way, I need a volunteer to moderate the chat tomorrow night. Also, if you plan on tweeting FROM THE LUKE tomorrow night, let me know and I'll add you to the Gameday Follow List.
Here's Who to Root For as you are watching games today:
We start with interconference matchups. There are a lot of them, so it makes this an easy week. Always root for the NFC is a good rule of thumb.
Packers @ Jets
Vikings @ Patriots
Steelers @ Saints
These are the three big ones. It would be wonderful for the Colts if two of the three lost.
Jaguars @ Cowboys
Not as big, but it is an easy call.
Seahawks @ Raiders
Easy call, but it breaks the rule. The Pats get the Raiders first pick, so the more wins the Raiders get, the worse that pick is.
Titans @ Chargers
Yeah, I know, we have to root for the Chargers in consecutive weeks. It makes me feel dirty. However, the Titans lead the AFC South. If they lose, the Colts and Texans play for first place tomorrow. Do the right thing and pull for Norv. Then take a shower and read a novel to halt the erosion of your IQ.
Bills @ Chiefs
If you want the Chiefs to win the West (and I do), you can be tempted to pull for them in this game. However, they have the same record as Indy, and I feel better pulling for teams at least a win or two behind the Colts. For now, let's root for losses.
Time is winding down. The game is close.
Which quarterback do you want on the field for your team?
The answer should not surprise you at all.
Check out my newest piece for Cold Hard Football Facts. In it I examine the record of the elite quarterbacks since 2005 in close games.
My conclusion is that there is a lot of luck involved with winning a a close game.
I won't spoil it for you, but let's just say that one guy wins a lot more often than everyone else.
Maybe he's just lucky.
Here's this week's ticket chart from TiqIQ. As always, TiqIQ isn't selling you tickets. They are helping you find the best deals on line. When you purchase through a link from TiqIQ, you are directly helping out 18to88.
There are lots of good deals out there right, and prices for Monday night's game are actually better than you might find to an afternoon game. Nothing beats night football, and nothing beats night football in person.
We have a new Facebook page dedicated to getting Colts tickets at a good deal. Now you can find the best on line deals directly from your Facebook page. Click on the link to 'like it'.
18 Things to Watch for in Monday's Colts/Texans Game
One gunslinger. Alone against all of Texas.
Two weeks ago, the Colts hung on for a much needed win over the Redskins. Then they had a disastrous bye week filled with injuries and intrigue. This week, they face a huge Monday night rematch with the Houston Texans. The Texans drubbed the Colts in week one, and the Colts need a win to stay in the think of the hunt for another AFC South title. This week, watch for:
1. Watch the Sherriff. Look, I hate that nickname, but it's Gruden time on Monday Night Football, so I'll live with it for another week. With Clark, Collie, and likely Addai all out and every receiver Indy has gimpy in some way or another. It's time to lean heavily on Peyton Manning. That doesn't mean he should throw 57 times, but it does mean he'll have to make the big plays and calls. If there is any consolation for Colts fans, it's that in night games, Manning's career passer rating is 100.1. Oh, and since 2003, Indy is 23-6 in night games. At home, Manning has lost twice at night since 2002 (and he only played in a couple of series of one of those games). So, um yeah. He's good in prime time (tip to Garrison for the stat).
This morning, 18to88 was invited to interview Antoine Bethea at an event promoting Subway in Indianapolis. Unfortunately, a scheduling conflict arose at the last moment, and Bethea was unable to attend. Fortunately, our intrepid reporter Nate Manahan was able to talk to Colts rookie Kevin Thomas instead. Kevin is a great guy, and we've been glad to talk to him more than once. Nate did a nice job considering that all the questions I had prepared for him were written for Bethea!
I want to give special thanks and recognition to my close friends Nate (who wears a Mike Hart jersey on Sundays) and to Chad Braham (for his video work). Nate and Chad work for for Women's Oncology Research and Dialogue. You can find out more about their work to diagnose and development treatments for gynecological cancers at WORDoncancer.org. These guys work hard to raise awareness and funds to help save the lives of women across the country. Please visit their website and get educated on this important topic.
We are currently efforting more such interviews in the very near future with current and former Colts, serving to further blur the already nonexistent lines between journalism and blogging.
Despite what you might think, it's cheaper to get tickets to see the Colts in prime time. If you've never been to a Monday night game, you have to check it out. If you do, be sure to scout the best price for tickets from TiqIQ. You'll get a good deal and help out 18to88.com. Remember, TiqIQ is just helping you find the best deal, not actually selling you the tickets, so there's no reason not use them. Going Monday night might just prove cheaper than heading out on a Sunday afternoon.