Colts vs Texans Recap
The Colts traveled to Houston leading the series over the Texans 20-4, and right from the start, it didn’t appear that the trend was going to change. The Colts came out hot, like they forgot about their sloppy performance in their win last week against the Baltimore Ravens.
Houston started with the ball, and after just three plays, they were forced to punt. The Colts took over, and drove down the field, but were forced to settle for a field goal. Then came, what I believe was, the play of the game. Pat McAfee noticed the kickoff return team not covering the ten yard mark on the kick off. He simply just tapped the ball forward a few yards and gathered the self-service onside kick.
Andrew Luck took the first play and hit TY Hilton for a long pass, which brought the Colts down to the 5 yard line. After a quick pitch to Trent Richardson, he was able to gallop into the end zone for the score.
The Colts appeared to take control of the game by forcing two more three and outs and scoring two more touchdowns before the end of the first quarter. However, the first quarter proved to be much different that the second.
The Texans, down 24-0, were able to string together a long 5 minute drive, which ended in a touchdown. On the next play for the Colts, Luck threw an interception, on a ball that was tipped at the line. Arian Foster was then able to take a handoff and score from 12 yards out. Just before the half, the Colts were able to string together a long fifteen play drive for a field goal before halftime.
The Colts came out at halftime and started a drive that looked good at the beginning, but was eventually forced to punt. They were able to pin the Texans down on their own 5 yard line.
After another punt by each team, the Texans had the ball and were able to methodically move down the field and cap off the drive with yet another Foster touchdown. You could almost feel the momentum swing like a big pendulum as the Texans close the scoring gap to six points, 27-21.
After a touchback, the Colts began the drive with an incompletion, and you could hear the raucous crowd growing louder. Right when the Colts needed a play most, veteran Reggie Wayne was able to gain his second reception for eleven yards and another first down. Luck was able to hit Dwayne Allen and Hilton for long receptions on back to back plays. With the momentum swinging back to the Colts, Luck took a chance on Hilton. The ball in the air, in double coverage, Hilton was able to come down with the 33 yard touchdown reception, his first of the year. (That reception also put Hilton over 200 yards for the game.)
Houston wasn’t about to back down. They came out with three straight runs, totally fifteen yards, and then Fitzpatrick took his shot down the field. He completed the 40 yard bomb to Damarias Johnson, all the way down to the Colts’ 25 yard line. However, that’s where they would be stalled, and forced to kick a field goal. Unfortunately for Houston, Randy Bullock pushed the kick to the right and missed.
The Colts just needed to move the ball down the field, get a score, and it would’ve almost certainly put the game away. The drive started well, moving the ball into the Texans’ territory. Then there was an errant snap which got away from Luck, and was recovered by none other than J.J. Watt. Watt picked up the fumble and was able to run it into the end zone for another Texans score. It was the third touchdown for Watt this season.
The thundering crowd again had a reason to cheer, and they let the Colts know it. After a couple plays, it was yet again third down. Luck threw a deep ball to Hakeem Nicks down the left side of the field, but the pass fell incomplete. The Colts were then given a break, with a poor pass interference call on the play. Two plays later, the Colts found themselves in yet another third down situation. This time Luck hit Wayne deep down the center of the field for a diving completion. However, after further review, catch was overturned, as the ball hit the ground while Wayne was making the catch. McAfee was able to pin the Texans deep in their own territory yet again on his punt.
Houston began the drive, moving the chains, with chunk yards. They were able to gain three first downs all the way into Indianapolis territory. After an offensive pass interference call on Andre Johnson, they went back to him. Fitzpatrick threw a deep ball down the center of the field, completed by Andre Johnson, but then fumbled, and recovered by the Colts.
The Colts got the ball back with 4:30 minutes left, and were only able to take about two minutes off the clock before punting and giving the ball back to the Texans. After a completion and the two minute warning. Fitzpatrick dropped back to pass, and was hit and fumbled the ball; which was recovered by the Colts. The Colts were then able to sit on the ball and end the game with the victory 33-28.
Looking back on the game, I do still believe that the surprise onside kick was the play of the game. It took a possession away from the Texans and allowed the Colts to get out to a fast start. They sure needed that start as they were just barely able to hang on for the victory.
In my preview for this game, I mentioned some key areas of the game that I thought would ultimately determine the outcome of the game, let’s see how I did…
The Colts were able to corral two fumbles, and the Texans were able to get an interception and fumble recovery. It ended up being a push in terms of number of turnovers, but biggest turnover was the one that ended the game for the Texans. Technically an onside kick isn’t a turnover, but it is essentially the same thing; it stole a possession, and that ultimately is what they are aiming to do. I still give the Edge to the Colts.
Yes, this is the obvious answer to games when making a prediction, but there is a reason why everyone reverts back to turnovers. They are incredibly crucial in this game. Giving your opponent the ball and taking away your own chance of scoring is never something you want to do. The statistics say that Houston has the advantage here, as they have turned over their opponents 12 times and given it away eight. Where the Colts have only turned over their opponents 10 times and given it away eight. I think the Colts will win this turnover battle, though. The Colts have intercepted six passes in their last four games (the only game they failed to pick off the QB was the Broncos… and that’s Peyton Manning…). Fitzpatrick has thrown five interceptions so far this year, and I think he will throw a couple more Thursday night.
The Colts won this battle by a large margin. I was on the right side, but I didn’t have the confidence I should have had in the Colts in terms of Third Down.
Who will win 3rd Down? The statistics say the Colts. They are converted third downs at 44.1% for 12th best in the NFL, compared to the Texans at 39.7% for 20th in the NFL. On the Defensive side of the ball, both teams do a pretty good job at getting the other team off the field, but the Colts are second best at 32.1% compared to Houston’s 7th best 34.9%.
Time of Possession:
The Colts dominated the time of possession yet again. They had the ball for 36 minutes and 49 seconds. The Colts had the clear edge.
If the Texans want to win this game, they are going to have to keep the Colts’ high powered offense off of the field. If they do this, I think they have a good shot at winning this game; however, the Colts lead the league in time of possession at an astounding 36 minutes and 23 seconds per game. Foster could have a lot to do with this, and if Houston does win, I think Foster will be the reason.
Offensive and Defensive Line:
The way the game started, I thought I was going to be wrong about this one. However, Watt was a man among boys. Watt had seven tackles, two sacks, four quarterback hits, multiple batted balls, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Houston clearly dominated in the trenches, mostly in part to Watt.
The Texans have JJ Watt...do I need to say anymore? No, but I will. The Colts line play has been getting a lot better, especially on the offensive side of the ball, but Watt is going to have his way with the Colts, I just hope he buys them dinner first.
Andrew Luck: 25/44 370 yards 3TD 1 INT
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 15/23 212 yards 1TD 0 INT
Fitzpatrick played nobly, but was outplayed by Luck and did turn the ball over on the fumble to lose the game. Again, a clear edge to the Colts.
This is the biggest reason I think the Colts will win. Andrew Luck is just better than Fitzpatrick. He is athletic enough that he should be able to buy himself some time to, at the very, least throw the ball away with Watt pursuing him. The way I recommend to compare quarterbacks is, in your mind, put them on the opposite team. Did they improve your team or hurt your team? Houston is a better team with Luck.
JJ Watt now has scored 3 TDs this year: 1 INT return, 1 fumble return, 1 receiving touchdown.
The Colts have now won 10 straight AFC South Games and extended the series record to 21-4.
Colts owner, Jim Irsay, is now reinstated to the Colts after being suspended for the first 6 games this year.
Arian Foster had another monster game against the Colts with 106 yards and 2 touchdowns.