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Week 15 Report Card: Colts vs Texans

 

With the AFC South title already clinched, the Colts still had plenty to play for. A first round bye in the playoffs or a better spot in the AFC was still possible, although they needed some help from those facing the Bengals and the Patriots.

Still, the Colts need to win their remaining games, starting with this one against the Texans (2-11). It’s not been pretty recently for either team, especially for Houston, and these days you just don’t know what to expect from Indy.
 
Fortunately, the Colts got the win and both the Patriots and Bengals lost, too.
 
Join us after the jump as we take a look at the performance of the Colts’ offense, defense and special teams and pick our offensive and defensive players of the game.

OFFENSE:

 
After zero touchdowns in 37 straight first half possessions, the Colts finally scored a TD on their first drive. Near midfield, Donald Brown ran for 26 yards and Trent Richardson converted on two consecutive third downs. The TD came on a 14-yard throw from Andrew Luck to Griff Whalen. Perfect drive. 7-0.

Unfortunately, after an 18-yard catch by Richardson, Luck was intercepted at the Texans’ 5 on their second drive after a poorly ran route by rookie Da’Rick Rogers.

Colts only got three points out of their next two series. The FG was possible thanks to great field position after an interception (they started at Houston’s 17-yard line). 10-3.
 
Halfway through the second quarter, T.Y. Hilton made a 41-yard catch after a gorgeous throw by Luck. On second & goal at the nine, Trent Richardson extended the Colts’ lead after catching a shovel pass from Luck. 17-3.

Before halftime, the Colts scored another FG after Keenum’s second interception. 20-3.
 
After a 51-yard punt return by Griff Whalen, the Colts settled for one more FG. 23-3.

With seven minutes left in the third quarter, the Colts were putting up a nice drive, but Hilton dropped a very catchable pass on third & six and Colts were forced to punt. That was the second punt of the day.

The rest of the second half was pretty much irrelevant for the Colts’ offense. Trent Richardson had a couple of good carries, including a 14-yarder and another one for 22 yards.

Luck’s 180 yards and two TD passes were enough to win the game. The Colts just stopped calling pass plays for most of the second half.
 

With Brown injured, Richardson had one of his best games as a Colt. He finished with 64 yards on 19 carries. He was also useful in the passing game, finishing with four catches for 38 yards and a TD. Most of his rushing yards came in garbage time, though.
 

The Colts enjoyed good field position after Keenum’s two interceptions and Whalen’s 51-yard punt return, but they only got FGs out of those. That was a bit disappointing.

Coby Fleener didn’t have a single catch in the game, but it didn’t end up mattering. Hilton, on the other hand, finished with eight catches for 78 yards.

Good job against J.J. Watt, who finished with just one tackle. Luck was sacked just once. I wonder if Satele’s absence had anything to do with it.

It was a good game overall for the offense. Wasting good field position was disappointing but their great first half was enough. They still need to show some consistency in the final two games of the season.

Grade: B

Offensive player of the game: Trent Richardson

Yes, T-Rich. He wasn’t very impressive and a lot of his rushing yards came in garbage time. Still, he was pretty good in the passing game, including that 9-yard TD catch that gave the Colts a 14-point lead. He also finished with 102 yards of total offense.

 

DEFENSE:

The Colts’ defense followed the offense’s example and started strong, too. The Texans’ first drive ended in a three & out.

 
After Luck was intercepted, the defense was able to stop the Texans again. Jarrell Freeman forced a fumble on Ben Tate but Houston recovered it. After a stop on third & one, the Texans settled for a FG. 7-3.

Still 7-3, Darius Butler intercepted Case Keenum at the Texans’ 30-yard line.

Down 17-3, Keenum threw his second interception of the day. Butler made the play once again. Right before the half, Antoine Bethea sacked Keenum for a 12-yard loss.

Houston’s first three drives of the second half all ended in three & outs. Actually, their only two drives in the second half that didn’t end in punts ended in a safety and a turnover on downs.

Down 23-3, Robert Mathis strip-sacked Keenum inside his own end zone. The Colts couldn’t recover the fumble but still got a safety. 25-3.

That play meant a lot, lot more than just a couple of points. Robert Mathis broke two franchise records on that play. That sack gave Mathis a season record of 16.5 sacks, while also breaking the franchise sack record with 108. Both previous records belonged to Dwight Freeney.

Both Erik Walden and rookie Bjoern Werner also had a sack of their own. That was Werner’s first career sack.

The Colts’ defense was great for the entire game. They intercepted Keenum twice, sacked him four times and forced three fumbles, one of those resulting in a safety.

Colts learned from their last game against the Texans. Andre Johnson finished with just four catches for 18 yards. Both of Keenum’s interceptions had Johnson as the intended receiver on the play. Vontae Davis, who was abused by Andre Johnson in Week 9, played really well.

 
Playing against Case Keenum and the Texans offense definitely helps, but it was a great performance anyway. It’s unlikely, but hopefully this defense will play just as good in January.

Grade: A

Defensive player of the game: Robert Mathis

While Darius Butler finished with two interceptions, the award has to go to #98. His strip-sack was his 16.5 sack of the season and his 108th career sack, both new franchise records. That was also his 42nd strip/sack. If he doesn’t win the Defensive Player of the Year award, Colts fans should riot. Ok, not really, but they should be really upset.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS:

This wasn’t a very busy day for the special teams.

 
Their only bad play was a McGlynn personal foul penalty after head butting an opponent.

By the time the Colts had a 20-point lead, Pat McAfee had punted just twice. A couple of his punts were close to being downed at the one, but ended up being touchbacks.

Griff Whalen was the punt returner for the game. He had a nice 51-yard return in the third quarter.

Adam Vinatieri was perfect, with three FGs on three attempts.

Grade: B

 
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