Week 9: Indianapolis Colts 27, Houston Texans 24- Post Game Recap

A nightmarish evening concerning the health of Gary Kubiak following his collapse right before the half is compounded with a late collapse by the Texans at home to their hated rivals in the Colts.  In this game, Andrew Luck lead his tenth career game-winning drive (the most for a player in their first two seasons in the league) and Indy came back in this game after trailing 24-6 late in the third quarter.  This was certainly a wild game filled with big plays and it turned out to be a thriller.  In the end, it did go the way most people thought it would as the Colts hit 6-2 while the Texans fall to 2-6.

Special teams played colossal role in the outcome of this game.  To start we have the Houston place kicker Randy Bullock, who missed three of his four attempted field goals on the night including a 55-yarder that would have sent this contest into overtime as the clock expired in the fourth quarter.  Adam Vinatieri had his first field goal attempt of the night blocked by J.J. Watt.  The loose ball was recovered by D.J. Swearinger and returned 37 yards to the Indianapolis 41.  Later in the first quarter Indy punter Pat McAfee dropped the snap, picked the loose ball up, scrambled around a bit and finally was able to get a leg on the ball and send it down field for a 55 yard punt down the the Houston 12.  In the end this play did not count because of an ineligible man being down the field so when he re-punted, the ball was nearly blocked by Brian Brayman (who successfully blocked one against the Colts last year in Houston).  Through all of this craziness, nothing of major importance happened.  I just thought the whole sequence spoke to the quirky nature of the special teams play on the evening.  Now, later in the game (with just under 3:30 to go in the second quarter to be exact), Keyshawn Martin returned a kickoff to the Houston 29 where he was tackled and stripped of the ball.  He clearly was not down on the play and the loose ball was recovered by the Colts.  However, the play was looked at and overturned (rather questionably) because the ball appeared to hit the foot of LaVon Brazill while he was out of bounds, thus making it a dead play.  That play was significant because it should have been ruled in the favor of Indianapolis and instead the Texans benefited from the call and were able to move down the field and into the end zone, extending their lead at the time to 21-3 going into the half.

That botched call didn’t end up costing the Colts though, thanks in large part to the heroic effort by second year receiver T.Y. Hilton.  The young speedster really stepped up in the absence of the injured Reggie Wayne on the night; he concluded the night with seven catches, 121 yards, and 3 touchdown receptions.  One of those touchdowns was the turning point of the game.  It came with 9:54 in the fourth quarter, with the Colts down 24-12 on the scoreboard.  Andrew Luck had looked very uncomfortable in the pocket all night and had not been afforded good protection in the game until this point, but all of that was thrown out the window with one bomb down the field.  Luck hit his receiver Hilton in stride for a 58 yard touchdown to cut the game to a 24-19 deficit.  Hilton used his blazing speed to run right by Johnathan Joseph and Brice McCain for the long score.  Brice McCain was picked on in this game, by the way.  Luck had the most success throwing in his direction on the night as two of his touchdown passes came against the 5th year Utah product.  Johnathan Joseph was beaten late in the game on the 9-yard T.Y. Hilton run-in that put the Colts ahead for good (with the help of a two point conversion) 27-24.

Case Keenum deserved better than this loss.  He played extremely well in this one as he threw for 350 yards against a pretty good defense.  He, like Andrew Luck, tossed three touchdown passes with all of them going to the teams’ no. 1 receiver.  For Houston this was Andre Johnson who was a full on beast in this game.  On the first drive of the game he was able to score on a 62 yard touchdown.  Later on he had 41 yard score.  Both of the previous scores dwarfed his meager 5 yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter.  Nevertheless, Keenum was delivering the ball with pinpoint accuracy and he showed great touch on the deep ball.  Heck, this young gun-slinger was constantly heaving the ball down the field and more often than not his receivers were able to make a play on it.  Ben Tate and Dennis Johnson filled in at tailback for Arian Foster (who left very early in this game with a back injury).  Their play was pretty effective but did not help in the outcome of this game.  Had Keenum and the Texans not been let down by Randy Bullock’s woes at the place-kicking position, this article would have been written in a much different fashion as Houston would have been triumphant (or would have had the chance to be if the game went into overtime).

I guess the narrative sets up perfectly, right?  Andrew Luck leads his team on another comeback, even without the great Reggie Wayne for help at wide out.  That’s the story most of the casual fans will want to hear, but I just wanted to draw attention to how well Case Keenum played.  He looked good against a Kansas City defense that not many quarterbacks have been able to figure out and now he is trading points with one of the best young quarterbacks in the game today.  I believe that Keenum has a bright future in this league and these two games are not flukes, this dude looked pretty good in the preseason as well.  Now, to oblige the other readers of this, Andrew Luck did get the job done even with a limited amount of receivers to work win.  Again, T.Y. Hilton really stepped up in this one and he will have to play like a number one receiver if this team is going to succeed down the stretch.  Also, don’t forget that Luck is down one tight end as well in Dwayne Allen, so he is really limited with the guys he currently has to work with in the passing game.  Anyways, this was a good win for the Colts as they managed to avoid the proverbial trap game and go to 6-2.  Next week they will head home to take on the Rams while the Texans take a trip to the desert to test a stingy Arizona Cardinal defense.  I look forward to seeing what will happen in both of these contests.

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