The Indianapolis Colts took on the Houston Texans in Week 9 action this past Sunday, and what early on looked like a possible blowout, quickly turned into a barn burner. The Colts record improved to 8-0 with the 20-17 victory over the Texans, and they have taken an important step towards reclaiming the AFC South division title.
The crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis was whipped into a frenzy early on as Peyton Manning set a NFL record with 25 pass attempts in the first quarter alone. Manning finished the first frame completing 19 of 25 attempts for 174 yards and 1 touchdown. His first quarter was statistically larger than those of starting quarterbacks Jason Campbell, Matt Ryan and Vince Young’s stats all day in their respective Week 9 games, and Ryan and Young won.
After a touchdown toss on a check down to Joseph Addai midway through the first, and a Matt Stover field goal gave the Indianapolis Colts a 10-0 lead, the offense seemed to be rolling. But for all the yardage and time of possession the Colts had in the first half they couldn’t capitalize and mustered only 13 first half points.
Even though the high-powered offense that the Texans brought to the Circle City did not record their initial first down until 7:30 through the second quarter, they quickly made up for lost time. Just before the two-minute warning, Houston found themselves knocking on the doorstep of the Colts goal line and madness ensued.
During the TV timeout every Indianapolis sports fan throughout Indiana was thinking the same thing. “I wanna see that replay because I know Ryan Moats just fumbled.” Sure enough, with multiple angles providing evidence, Moats did lose possession of the ball while still in the field of play, and the Colts did recover. This lead to Hoosiers everywhere screaming at their TV “THROW THE FLAG THROW THE FLAG.” And, as if he were willed by the massive moral support of the whole city, Jim Caldwell acquiesced.
With the Indianapolis Colts now in possession of the pigskin, it was time for Peyton to run possibly the best 2-minute drill in the entire NFL. So it is not hard to say that all of Indy was shocked when Peyton threw a rare interception deep in Houston’s half as the Boys in Blue were looking to add to their lead.
This blunder was quickly over shadowed by the dumbest play in all of football rearing its ugly head at the end of the second half. The timeout to ice the kicker. Really? Who ever thought that giving a professional kicker more time to work out his angle, find his spot and in some cases get a practice kick before the play is blown dead was a good idea should not be running a multi-million dollar team.
The argument that they will have more time to think about the situation, consequently psyching themselves out is sophomoric. They are kickers, professional kickers who do nothing but kick. If a kicker is not thinking about kicking a football every time his team has the ball on offense, then that team needs a new kicker.
This is not in reaction to the fact that the Indianapolis Colts blocked Houston kicker Kris Brown’s first attempt and allowed him to nail a picture perfect 56-yarder on the do-over. This is in reaction to the fact that maybe the first time the tactic was used it was a great idea, but now that it is the rule rather than the exception, I’m willing to bet kickers are waiting for the time out call. It is perhaps more jarring to a kicker now to actually have to kick right away.
In the end, Caldwell had a chance to rectify his first half faux pas as Brown lined up for a 42-yard try that would have sent the game into overtime. What happened? No timeout, ball pushed wide left, Houston left thinking about what could have been. I digress.
WHAT WE LOVED…
Here at funcityfinder.com, we always start this section off with some love for the offense, but this week we are flipping it around and will shower the Indianapolis Colts defense with some praise first.
- After a week that saw three starters( Tyjaun Hagler:torn biceps, Bob Sander: torn biceps, and Marlin Jackson: torn ACL) join the injured reserve list like it was the cool thing to do, the Colts defensive philosophy of “Next Man Up” never rang more true. With two interceptions and a fumble recovery, the Blue Horseshoes stymied Houston’s offense and held them to more than one touchdown under their season average scoring of 24.8 ppg. While the Colts offense had their moments, it was the Colts defense that won this game.
- Dwight Freeney is really good. Freeney decided to answer the question about whether or not he would extend his consecutive games with at least one sack streak early by planting Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the ground on Houston’s first offensive play. Freeney added another half a sack later in the first half when he and fellow QB nightmare Robert Mathis met on top of Shaub again. Freeney is currently third in the NFL with 9.5 sacks this season.
- A first quarter interception by rookie Jerraud Powers set the tone that the new Colts secondary came to play. Also, Clint Session who is usually busy laying opposing players out, showed some great hands in the fourth quarter with an INT of his own. Session’s snag ended a late push by the Texans to either tie or take the lead.
- On a more personal note, I am glad to see new starting linebacker Phillip Wheeler (replacing Tyjuan Hagler) rocking the dreadlocks under his helmet. Now, even though Bob Sanders is done for the season, the Colts won’t be dreadless on defense.
- Dallas Clark had a career day on Sunday by pulling down 14 catches in the contest, 11 of those came in the first half as he abused Texans rookie linebacker Brian Cushing. Although he is a rookie, Cushing is no slouch, he was named defensive player of the week two weeks ago and is already an anchor of that defense. Clark’s 14 catches is the third highest single game total by a tight end in NFL history.
- Welcome back Mr. Addai. After struggling most of the season to find his way on the ground, Joseph Addai has found other ways to produce for the Indianapolis Colts. This week he scored both of the Colts touchdowns, and has been a part of the winning score in each of Indy’s fourth quarter come from behind wins these last two weeks.
- Matt Stover is still perfect for the Colts in relief of the healing Adam Vinatieri. He has proven to be a fantastic mid-season pickup, and is a testament to how diligent and good Bill Polian and the rest of the Colts front office is. He has now kicked 6 field goals for Indianapolis in its last two games. Each game was won by less than a touchdown.
- We will get to Peyton Manning later…
WHAT WE COULD LIVE WITHOUT…
- Did I mention my displeasure for calling a timeout to ice the kicker yet?
- While the Indianapolis Colts are still undefeated and have found a way to win every week, the offense has not put together a complete game since their bye week a month ago. They have drives and quarters of brilliance, but also fade away just as quickly in some instances. This may be a reaction to the offense being so good for so long that expectations are too high but, the Colts could have pulled away from Houston early and didn’t,and the game against San Fransisco was closer than it should have been.
- An extension of the aforementioned point is that the Colts are halfway through the season and still have not found any semblance of a running game. How deep can a team go in the playoffs when all they can do is throw the ball?
- Few things in this world give Colts country greater pleasure than to watch Reggie Wayne on top of his game. And while Reggie had 8 catches for 64 yards on Sunday, it was his poor decision making on throwing up a lame duck (on a lame play call) that will stick out most in our minds. The Colts were in the lead and did not need to try the trickeration. As an aside, the man who picked off the pass is Bernard Pollard who was born and raised in Fort Wayne, IN and played college ball at Purdue University.
I told you we would get to him…
- Peyton Manning did a lot of things this past Sunday. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to record 40,000 yards in passing in a single decade. He also tied Fran Tarkenton for fourth on the all-time wins list with 125. Manning also eclipsed the 300+ yard passing mark in Sunday’s contest. This is the seventh time this season Peyton has achieved said mark, which is the most of any quarterback through the first eight games of any NFL season…ever. Prior to this year Peyton had never had more than six games in which he threw for 300+ yards in a single season.
- Dwight Freeney set a franchise record by recording a sack in nine consecutive games, a streak that dates back to last year.
- Speaking of franchise records, it was not all bad for Reggie Wayne on Sunday. With his 8 catches he moved ahead of Hall of Fame wide receiver Raymond Berry for sole possession of second place on the Colts all-time receptions list. He now only trials Marvin Harrison.
- As mentioned before, Dallas Clark set a person record with 14 catches in Sunday’s game. His previous best was 12 catches.
- The Colts extended their regular season win record to a franchise best 17 in a row, this number has tied the Colts for the third longest regular season win streak in NFL history. Included in this streak of 17 wins in a row is another franchise best, 10 straight regular season victories at home.
- Saving the best for last: Jim Caldwell has become the first NFL coach to start his rookie year with an 8-0 record since a man named Potsy Clark did it in 1931 with the Portsmouth Spartans, who later became the Detroit Lions. If you say you knew that your lying. Interesting history about George “Potsy” Clark is that before taking over the reigns in Portsmouth, he setup an insurance business in a small little town called Indianapolis. He was also the athletic director and head football coach for three seasons at Butler University starting in 1927.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?…
Quite simply it means that the Indianapolis Colts are in total control of the AFC South division and well on their way to making the playoffs. With Sunday’s win, the Colts continued their dominance of the Houston Texans and now boast a 14-1 all-time record against Texas’ other team. The Colts find themselves 3 1/2 games up on Houston in the division and 4 games up in the loss column. They need to find a running game so Peyton is not left to do everything with his arm. Also, the more the Colts can win, the longer they will be playing at home come January. So even with the division all but wrapped up, they need to set their sights on sitting atop the AFC.
Now we are talking football. The Indianapolis Colts are at home once again to wrap up a 3 game home stand and will take on their bitter rivals, the New England Patriots. While the Patriots are 6-2, they have been looking very good as of late and this game will be the biggest litmus test to date of just how good the Colts really are. Come on back Friday for your complete rundown to get you geared up for this Sunday night showdown.
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