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Week 15 Game Recap: Indianapolis Colts 17, Houston Texans 29


Indianapolis Colts

QB Andrew Luck, Pass: 13 - 27 - 186 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 10 - 0

The Houston defense did Luck no favors on Sunday as he struggled to find time to complete downfield passes throughout the game. He was sacked five times and had to move around in the pocket on most every snap to avoid even more lost plays. He threw for two touchdowns and could have had a third had a pass to Reggie Wayne not been called back on offsetting penalties. His best pass came on a 61 yard touchdown to TY Hilton. On the play, Luck was flushed to the left in the pocket and stepped forward as if he might run. The move brought both safeties towards the line of scrimmage allowing Luck to loft a long pass to a wide-open Hilton in the middle of the field. Otherwise, Luck was pressured in to throwing the ball away or making inaccurate passes as the Texans were hot on his heals on most every snap. Of note: Luck is excellent at selling play-action just as his predecessor Peyton Manning was. On the nullified touchdown to Wayne, Luck sold play-action in a way that froze the defense enough to allow Wayne to get behind two defensive backs.

RB Vick Ballard, Rush: 18 - 105 - 0 (2 targets)

Ballard had his second solid game in a row. Unfortunately, his success on both interior runs and around the corners did little to stifle the Houston pass rush, leaving the Colts with too many third and long situations. Ballard was also pulled at the goalline for Mewelde Moore, who fumbled with his only carry. Ballard's best runs came on a 19 yard gain and an 8 yard gain on off-guard runs. On both carries Ballard showed excellent burst in securing the ball and hitting the hole quickly before the Texans 3-4 defensive front collapsed the interior. Like Andrew Luck, Ballard was tormented by the Texans in the backfield as he was stopped for a loss five times (three times by JJ Watt). Overall, Ballard showed that he may be the Colts answer at running back. He has good acceleration and what he lacks in agility he makes up for in power, gaining yards after first contact regularly.

WR T.Y. Hilton, Rec: 3 - 78 - 1 (6 targets)

Hilton continues to emerge as an excellent second receiving threat next to Reggie Wayne. The Colts line him up both as a slot receiver and split end and utilize his deep speed frequently against zone defenses. Hilton's best catch came on a 61 yard reception that resulted in a touchdown. On the play, Hilton lined up in the slot to the left side and ran a deep slant to the middle of the field. Quarterback Andrew Luck stepped up in the pocket and the threat of him running caused the safeties to step forward, letting Hilton get behind them. Luck delivered a great deep pass which Hilton caught in stride before running the final 25 yards for a touchdown. Hilton is not strong enough to get off the line on quick plays with regularity, but his deep speed and quickness makes him a genuine deep threat each time Andrew Luck has time in the pocket.

WR Donnie Avery, Rec: 3 - 37 - 0 (5 targets)

Avery finished the day with three receptions on five targets. He was covered primarily by a safety or nickel corner and had some difficulty beating his man off the line of scrimmage. Avery primarily ran deep crosses and hitches in the middle of the field. His best catch came on a nine yard gain to the Texans one yard line on a quick pass from Andrew Luck. Unfortunately, the Colts fumbled the ball on the next snap.

WR Reggie Wayne, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (8 targets)

Wayne had a relatively quiet day as the Texans worked hard to defend him by rolling a safety over in coverage whenever he got more than a few yards off the line of scrimmage. Combined with a devastating pass rush, Wayne simply did not have much time to get in to his routes before Andrew Luck had to get rid of the ball. He was only targeted once downfield as his rookie quarterback struggled for time in the pocket. Wayne's best catch came on a reception that was nullified by offsetting penalties. On the play, Andrew Luck sold play action and threw a high pass to the back of the endzone. Wayne, running an in-pattern from the right side, managed to get behind two defenders, lept in the air for the reception, and drug his toes just inside the endzone before going out of bounds. Unfortunately the touchdown was called back.

TE Dwayne Allen, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 3 - 36 - 1 (3 targets)

Allen finished the day with three receptions on three targets against the Texans. He primarily ran go patterns up the seam and quick in and out routes as the Colts looked to loosen the middle of the defense. Allen's touchdown came on a curl pattern in the third quarter. On the play, the rookie tight end started from the right side and ran a curl to the front of the endzone. Andrew Luck threw the ball to his outside shoulder as a Houston defender closed in from the inside. Allen secured the ball and spun in to the endzone for his third touchdown of the year.

TE Coby Fleener, Rec: 1 - 21 - 0 (1 targets)

Fleener was upstaged by Dwayne Allen near the goalline but contributed nonetheless against the Texans. He worked diligently as an in-line blocker as the Colts tried to sustain drives on the ground. He finished with one reception for 21 yards on the Colts last drive. On the play, Fleener ran a quick crossing pattern across the middle of the field and caught the ball on the run, picking up 21 yards in the process.


Houston Texans

QB Matt Schaub, Pass: 23 - 31 - 261 - 1 TD / 0 INT

Schaub returned to form against the Colts after a difficult game last Monday against the Patriots. He completed nearly 70% of his passes and showed excellent discipline in not throwing the ball in to tight coverage. While Schaub did absorb 3 sacks, he made a number of timely throws on and passed for 13 first downs as the Texans controlled the clock and the flow of the game. Schaub's best throw came on a touchdown pass to Andre Johnson. On the play, Johnson lined up split to the right and ran a quick slant. Schaub correctly identified where the pass-rush would come from and fired a quick pass ahead of Johnson between two defenders. Johnson did the rest, side-stepping a tackler and coasting across the goalline for a touchdown. Schaub did underthrow Johnson on the game's first drive, turning a sure touchdown in to "only" a 52 yard gain. Schaub continues to play well within the offensive scheme and returned to making good decisions after last week's failures.

RB Arian Foster, Rush: 27 - 165 - 0, Rec: 2 - 4 - 0 (2 targets)

Despite not scoring against the Colts, Foster had perhaps his most complete performance of the season. He ran with power between the tackles and great quickness to the outside. The Colts had no answer for Foster as the Texans dominated the game's time of possession battle by using Foster. Foster's best run came on a third quarter dash up the middle that netted 29 yards. On the play, Foster took the handoff and burst through the wide-open hole at full speed. He was 15 yards downfield before a defender reached him. Foster responded with a stiff-arm before powering ahead for an even greater gain. Once again, Foster appeared patient in letting holes open on outside run while showing no hesitation at all in hitting the hole hard on interior runs. The Texans line did an excellent job opening up large gaps for him allowing for the big day. Foster also had two short catches on outlet passes for four total yards.

RB Ben Tate, Rush: 5 - 13 - 0

Tate had five carries against the Colts including a carry that lost yardage as well as his helmet. With Arian Foster running so well, the opportunities for Tate were few an far between. His best run came on first down in Indianapolis territory. On the play, Tate took the ball off guard and scampered for nine yards by keeping his legs driving after first contact.

RB James Casey, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets)

Casey continues to line up most often as an H-Back for the Texans but did get a few snaps coming off the line of scrimmage. He was excellent in blocking packages both on the run and in passing downs. He finished the day with a single nine yard reception.

WR Andre Johnson, Rec: 11 - 151 - 1 (13 targets)

Johnson continued to look rejuvenated as the Texans worked him on more short and intermediate routes to the middle of the field instead of just go patterns. Johnson had a sure touchdown done in on Houston's first drive when Matt Schaub underthrew him. The play still resulted in a 52 yard gain. Otherwise, his big day might have been even more impressive. Johnson's touchdown came on a catch that reminded of his earlier years. On the play, he lined up split to the right side. He ran a quick slant to the middle of the field and caught Matt Schaub's fast pass. At the one yard line, a defender had a chance to tackle Johnson but he sidestepped away from traffic and found his way to the endzone. Johnson was excellent with the ball in his hands Johnson also had a 22 yard catch and run over the middle on an excellent crossing pattern that demonstrated how in sync he and Schaub are. The Houston quarterback has consistently gotten Johnson the ball in front of his body and on the run allowing for substantial yards after the catch.

WR DeVier Posey, Rec: 3 - 46 - 0 (3 targets)

Posey had a nice game against the Colts as the Texans third receiver in three-wide packages. His best catch came on a 36 yard reception down the middle of the field that showed Posey's smooth hands and excellent top-line speed. The play finished with a 15 yard personal foul against Indianapolis giving Posey a 51 yard net gain on the catch.

WR Kevin Walter, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (2 targets)

Walter caught both of his targets against the Colts. He primarily ran out routes to draw his defender away from the middle of the field as well as short curls on the weak side of the field. Both of his receptions came on the same drive as the Texans tried to drive for one more score as the first half wound down.

TE Owen Daniels, Rec: 4 - 40 - 0 (7 targets)

Daniels caught only 4 of the 7 passes intended for him on Sunday against the Colts. His receptions came on quick outs and curls. On the occasion Daniels ran a deeper pattern, the Colts rotated a safety to him very quickly to avoid a long gain. Daniels also spent quite a bit of time in-line as a blocker as the Texans abused the Colts on the ground. Daniels best catch came on a 17 yard gain to the middle of the field. On the play, Daniels chipped his man at the line of scrimmage before running to the open field between two defenders where Matt Schaub hit him with a quick pass.


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