INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s our latest ‘hits and misses’ piece on 1075TheFan.com highlighting the good and bad from the previous game.
The Colts once again bounced back from a loss, as Frank Reich’s bunch beat the Texans, 26-20, in Houston.
What was the good and bad from the Colts (8-4) getting a really important divisional victory in Week 13?
-T.Y. Hilton Against The Texans: As the years change, and the quarterbacks come and go, the constant of T.Y. Hilton causing nightmares for the Houston Texans continues. Despite Hilton in the biggest slump of his NFL career, leave it to the Texans to help him get out of it. Hilton had 8 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown against Houston. It wasn’t just the pure numbers that Hilton finally produced on Sunday, it was the variety of catches he made. You had contested grabs, Hilton making plays after the catch and hauling in balls outside of his radius. That was the Pro Bowl/No. 1 Hilton.
-Emerging Jonathan Taylor: Jonathan Taylor having 1 carry after the opening series until the 4th quarter was a head scratcher. But Taylor’s 13 carries for 91 yards backed up what we saw the last time he played. Remember, Taylor had arguably his best half as a pro in that second half comeback over the Packers. After missing last week’s loss to the Titans due to being a high-risk close COVID-19 contact, Taylor is starting to look more and more comfortable. He needs to be the lead/workhorse back moving forward, with much more of a balanced role necessary.
-Philip Rivers Gutting It Out: At this time last year, the Colts were getting quarterback play that wasn’t anywhere near a playoff level. Philip Rivers gave them winning football on Sunday and did without a supporting run game early on and with a third string left tackle playing nearly the entire game. Rivers completed 77 percent of his passes and had one of his more efficient days of the year. Rivers is banged up. He’s playing through it, and still playing winning football.
-Defensive Playmakers: It was by no means a perfect day for the Colts defense, but they did get needed playmaking from several key guys. It was Justin Houston with 3 sacks and a safety. It was the return of DeForest Buckner producing 2 sacks and constant pressure in the backfield. It was should-be Pro Bowler Kenny Moore with 8 tackles, an interception and another two passes defensed. What we’ve learned from the Colts in 2020 is their defense has a handful of game-changing playmakers. This trio, along with Darius Leonard and Julian Blackmon, comprise a group that the Colts haven’t seen in quite some time.
-4th and 1 Play Call: What’s interesting about the Frank Reich 4th-and-1 decision from Sunday was the disparity in thinking. According to analytics, Reich said the situation was ‘heavy go for it.’ That’s totally fine, and understandable. But don’t the analytics also indicate you should roll with your biggest strength in short yardage, i.e. Jacoby Brissett? Again, going for it and trying to finish the game was the right call. But going against what has worked so well as of late could (should) have easily cost the Colts a needed divisional win.
-Unit Consistency: It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen the Colts produce a consistent 60-minute output on either side of the ball. Sunday was the most glaring disparity in that, with the offense delivering in the first half (24 points, most in the first half this year) and the defense showing up big time in the second half (0 points allowed and a safety). I fully realize it’s hard to ask for teams to sustain such consistency over the course of 60 minutes, week-in-week-out, but you have to go back to much earlier in the season to find a result like that for the Colts.
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