The Indianapolis Colts shocked Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Field Thursday 19 to 16, and moved their record to 2-13. And they did it with just enough defense (the Texans were held to under 300 yards, with 283), just enough offense, (Quarterback Dan Orlovsky, replacing the injured Peyton Manning, threw for 244 yards), and timely plays to win.
The victory was the Colts second one against a division foe, and in just four days since Sunday, when the Colts blew the Tennessee Titans out of the stadium. But even with the win, the game revealed the problems the Colts have faced all year long. The Colts Defense gave up an average of 5.5 yards per rush to the Texans, and the reason isn’t personnel but what the Colts players, particularly the linebackers, are asked to to. All of the linebackers play a good four yards off the line-of-scrimmage, then have to run up stop the run.
That’s a trend far different from the run-aware 70s, when linebackers played at the line-of-scrimmage and were in better position not just to stop a run, but to down it for a loss. The Colts outside linebackers are consistently gashed on outside running plays where a lead blocker gets a head of steam and flattens them as they come up to make a tackle. The Colts should consider altering their defensive formations to stop the run, first. This has been a huge problem for the team over the years, and now, after watching clip after clip, I see why.
With that, the reason the Colts won was that the Texans, which led most of the game, could not put the Colts away with a big play when it was needed the most. So, even with Dan Orlovsky’s misfire after passing misfire, the Colts Passing Defense never allowed the Texans to get ahead of them, and set the stage for the final drive and Orlovsky touchdown pass to Wide Receiver Reggie Wayne.
Texans Out Of First-Round Bye
The loss was huge for the now 10 and 5 Houston Texans because now the AFC South Champions are out of contention for a first-round playoff bye. There’s also the question of just how far rookie quarterback T.J. Yates can take the team into the NFL Playoffs. He had a great first game two weeks ago, replacing Matt Leinart, but once teams got a “book” on how to play him, he’s not been as effective.