COLTS 30, TEXANS 23
Colts win AFC South showdown 30-23 as Texans defense struggles early, offense fails late
The Texans and the Colts played another one-score game, this one going to the Colts, as the Texans just could not put it together. They struggled on defense until the fourth quarter, when they came up big. But the offense could not get it done down the stretch.Here is how it all played out:
Positives: The Texans moved the ball well most of the game, but struggled to get touchdowns early and it bit them. Deshaun Watson had a solid game, but also threw yet another horrible interception in the fourth quarter that ended a drive that could have brought them within one score. His second pick was off a ball that should have been caught by Keke Coutee and ended the Texans chances.
But he also bounced back nicely with a touchdown drive the next time he had the ball after the first pick, something he has done a lot this season. He finished 23 of 34 for 308 yards, one touchdown and the two picks. DeAndre Hopkins had one of his better games of the season, with 106 yards receiving.
Negatives: They settled for too many field goals early and were unable to get in the end zone, although you could argue they did get robbed on one play. Will Fuller continues to prove he simply can't be trusted to stay on the field, with yet another hamstring injury. They let Watson get hit too many times (he was sacked three times). He also got sacked late in the game when they had a chance to drive down the field and take the lead.
Positives: They did limit the Colts running game, holding them to 63 yards and a 2.5 average. They hit Jacoby Brissett often, even though he was only sacked once. They did get four straight stops in the fourth quarter while trailing 28-16 and then 28-23, giving the offense a chance to get back in the game. The last stop down 30-23 gave the Texans one last shot with just under two minutes to play.
Negatives: Too many times they came up with third down stops and got stupid penalties to extend drives. With the injuries in the secondary, they just aren't good enough to stop teams if they can't get off the field on third down. They had 10 penalties for the game, the majority on defense. They sacked Jacoby Brissett just once, and allowed him to throw for a career high 326 yards and four touchdowns. The tight ends did some damage, especially after safety Tashaun Gipson went out with an injury. And, as usual, they had little answer for T.Y. Hilton. The Colts did not punt until there were 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Phillip Gaines actually played well for the Texans at corner, but suffered what looked to be a season-ending injury on the last stop of the game.
The bottom line
It's hard to beat up the defense too much considering the cluster injuries in the secondary. They just did not have the horses to slow down the Colts. (I'll show myself out).
Bill O'Brien showed some guts, going for it on fourth and short three times. They made it twice, but a busted play call on the third failed. Still, considering they could not stop the Colts at the time, it was the right call to try to keep the ball. But like going all-in in poker, it works every time until it doesn't. The defense gave them a chance in the fourth quarter, but the offense could not get one more key score.
The Colts take control of the AFC South with a 4-2 mark, while the Texans fall to 4-3. It was not a good loss for the Texans, but there is a lot of football to be played. They are going to have to make some moves to get help at corner if they are going to be a serious playoff contender moving forward. They are simply too thin at the position and the Colts took advantage.