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linchao Apr 3 '19
The Colts lost a close one at home to the Houston Texans yesterday and yet again White Andrew Luck Jersey , the offense was to blame. While the defense certainly can’t be let off the hook for allowing so many points on the board for the Texans, they were often facing adverse circumstances, and the Texans were the recipients of good field position for much of the game. However, it was ultimately the offense which doomed this game. As many will point out, rightly, you don’t win or lose a game on one play, or usually even a series. But there are certainly impactful series late in games that can steal a win for the team, even if you didn’t play like you deserved one earlier in the game. This was just such a game. The Colts looked abysmal on offense early in this game, giving up a touchdown due to a botched snap, letting the Texans defense dominate the line of scrimmage and get a lot of hits on Andrew Luck. The receivers were inconsistent, not getting separation, and dropping passes when they did. And penalties. 10 of them for 85-yards by game-end.Still, with all that bad, the Colts found themselves in overtime, driving with a chance to win the football game. So let’s take a look at that drive and what caused it to fail.The drive started on a positive note, with a pass to Ryan Grant for a quick first down. Getting that first down right out of the gate is big, because this offensive thrives on a rhythm and flow and when you are keeping the defense in first downs, it forces them to face a lot more possibilities as far as what kind of plays you can call. Hindsight is 20/20, but if Grant spins outside after his catch instead of inside, he has a chance to break a big gain here. Otherwise, hard to be mad about a 12-yard gain to start your drive. The next play is another good one, with Luck hitting Eric Ebron on the left sideline for a 9-yard gain. Despite the quick strike bringing up 2nd and short, it also saw Ebron leave the game hurt. That would prove significant in the very next play. Foresight not factored in, the Colts had gotten another very good gain and had time to spare. Here is where we see the drive begin to fall apart. Injuries had already taken their toll, with T.Y. Hilton missing with hamstring and chest injuries. Now the loss of Eric Ebron chipped away yet another offensive weapon. Reich dialed up a run for rookie Nyheim Hines, who was having a solid game receiving, though he had not been very effective running the ball. Hines easily gets the first down Andrew Luck Jersey 2019 , but Mo-Alie Cox is flagged for holding. This one was not a good look. It is tough to blame Cox on this play, as he gets matched up with Jadeveon Clowney one-on-one. There probably isn’t a tight end in the NFL who is winning that matchup, but the Colts put their recently-brought-up-from-the-practice-squad tight end up against him. If Eric Ebron is in the game, maybe this doesn’t happen. I’m not saying that he blocks Clowney any better, but his presence in the game demands some respect for him, and he opens up plays that might have caused the Colts to run a different look. Hard to know, but just another way injuries are taking their toll on this team.Regardless, just like that the Colts see their momentum stall. 2nd and short was suddenly 2nd and 11, without any real weapons to go to. It was at this point that Quenton Nelson decided it was time to have his worst play in a Colts uniform. This is hyperbole on my part, because I haven’t watched every snap of Nelson’s in depth, but based on Brett Mock’s great breakdowns, I feel pretty confident it is at least in the top 2. The Texans use Clowney’s insane athleticism to stunt inside and although Nelson passes off his man effectively, he is in no way prepared for Clowney. His feet look like they’re in concrete blocks and he cannot get them under him as Clowney seems to pretty effortlessly shove him aside and run free to Luck for a huge sack. This is a killer. On a drive where the Colts absolutely have to have points to get a win, two consecutive plays have them moving the wrong direction. There are no plays designed to work well on 3rd and 21, so at this point the Colts are in a tough spot. Most teams would go to their playmaker on the field and try to get them free in space to hopefully pick up the yards. With T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron, Jack Doyle, and Marlon Mack all hurt either before the game or during the course of it, the list of “playmakers” was pretty woefully thin. The play they dialed up got the ball to Mo-Alie Cox on a short pass, and he was somehow able to make a man miss and take it for 17 yards, getting the Colts in a 4th and 4 at their own 43-yard line. If he hadn’t held and started this offensive slide in the first place, Cox nearly redeemed himself (Again, not all on him, Clowney is a beast).That brings us to the team’s most controversial set of downs. The Colts head to the line in a clear attempt to draw the Texans offsides. It wasn’t inherently a bad call, because they had bitten on Luck’s hard count several times earlier in the game. However, it was a pretty obvious ruse, and one that didn’t pay off. The Texans didn’t bite Marshall Faulk Jerseys 2019 , and the Colts burned a timeout. The problem here is that the Colts planned to go for it. Punting the ball here was settling for a tie or a loss. There was almost no chance of getting a win once they kicked the ball away, especially given the time remaining. They were planning to go for it no matter what. However, by calling a timeout instead of coming to the line to run a play, they wasted the element of surprise. The Texans were clearly not going to jump offsides. That meant that the Colts were not likely to get immediate penetration into the backfield because the defensive line were going to play tentatively at least until the ball was snapped. Fear of jumping offsides was working in their favor. Once they called the timeout and then came back to the line with their offensive personnel, there was no question that they would be going for it. This was a major mistake on the part of Frank Reich. It is easy to forget at times, that he is still a rookie head coach. This is the second instance in two weeks where that has shown up in his game management. Last week it was a missed challenge, this week in his timeout call. Let me be clear on my own opinion, I loved that the Colts went for it. But the timeout was a big mistake.So with the game on the line, the Colts drew up a short pass to Chester Rogers. He runs a short comeback and finds himself beyond the line to gain, but an incredible play by J.J. Watt gets a hand on the pass. It is almost imperceptible unless watching the play in slow motion (which I did several times). The ball is clearly touched and changes its trajectory, falling short of Rogers and ending the Colts’ hopes for a win. As I said before, I liked this call. The Colts didn’t want a tie. They aren’t a contender this season. They don’t have enough offensive weapons, and they have too much youth and inexperience at every level, including coaching, to expect to compete for a championship. Even if they make the playoffs this season, they aren’t likely to go far. However, they have a very young roster that is being developed into the core of what this Colts team will be going forward. We have suffered since 2012 under the direction of a coach who was the master of the participation trophy. Frank Reich and Chris Ballard have come here to build a team for whom winning is the only acceptable outcome, where there are no lollipops and Capri Suns given out “just for playing.” They aren’t interested in playing for a tie. Teams that build a culture that accepts ties might win a lot of games, but they don’t win many rings. I understand that a tie in the division matches up better than a loss. However, there are some times where the long term effect on a team’s toughness and mentality is more important than the strategy inside the season. In my opinion, this was one of those times. Unfortunately for the Colts, they came up short. The New York Jets have consecutive wins for the first time in more than a year, and they're feeling good about getting back to .500.The way they got there, though, was far from satisfying. And it has them motivated to improve."It's one of those bittersweet victories," cornerback Morris Claiborne said after the Jets' 42-34 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday . "You played well enough to win the game, but you feel like you could've played a lot better. You never want to give up that many points."Jason Myers kicked a franchise-record seven field goals White Marshall Faulk Jersey , Sam Darnold threw two touchdown passes, and the Jets (3-3) intercepted Andrew Luck three times in the win. They had to hold, though, against a Colts team that was never out of it.But Jets coach Todd Bowles is fairly certain his squad would not have left the field with a victory when faced with this type of game in the past."The game wasn't perfect, by no means," Bowles said. "With the growth of the team, we probably would've lost this one a year ago or a couple of weeks ago. So, to win ugly, for us, is a pretty good thing."Just two weeks ago, the Jets were facing the prospect of their season spiraling after their third straight loss.They have scored 76 points in their last two games, victories over the Colts and Denver Broncos, with at least 30 points in back-to-back games for the first time since the 2011 season."It just shows what we can do when we're doing things the right way and when we're executing," said Jermaine Kearse, who caught a season-high nine passes for 94 yards.The Jets closed the game with scores on each of their last eight drives. They also scored multiple times in every quarter, including a 23-point first half — the most by the team since scoring 27 against Tennessee in 2015.The one criticism is that the Jets mostly failed to convert in the red zone, going 1 of 6 inside the Colts 20. Several drives stalled, resulting in all those opportunities for Myers.Myers' 24 total points are the second-highest single-game total by a player who did not score a touchdown in NFL history. Only the Titans' Rob Bironas, who holds the mark with eight field goals in a game, had more: 26 on Oct. 21, 2007."Obviously, we want to finish in the red zone," Darnold said. "That's what we pride ourselves on."The Jets hadn't won back-to-back games since they won three straight in Weeks 3-5 last season. Next Sunday, they'll wrap up a three-game homestand against Minnesota with a chance to go over .500."We're definitely back in the thick of things," said Darnold, who had two touchdown passes and an interception. "But at the same time, we're not satisfied."Here are some other things to know from the Jets' victory over the Colts:COLD COLTSIndianapolis (1-5) has lost four straight and was again victimized by mistakes — namely dropped passes and turnovers .Andrew Luck was 23 of 43 for 301 yards with touchdowns to Marcus Johnson Johnny Unitas Jerseys 2019 , Eric Ebron, Erik Swoope and Chester Rogers. But he was also intercepted three times, including a pick-6 by Claiborne on the Colts' second play from scrimmage.It all had Luck pondering whether it's tough finding the joy in football."At times, especially when I do things — stupid is the only word that comes to mind," he said. "We do some silly things to ourselves, but when it comes to having fun playing, I'm having fun playing."BANGED-UP TEAMSThe Colts played without several starters, including wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, defensive linemen Denico Autry and Margus Hunt, tight end Jack Doyle, safety Clayton Geathers and right tackle Denzelle Good. They might be down a few more players as running back Robert Turbin (shoulder) and wide receivers Johnson and Ryan Grant all left with injuries.New York could also have its own injury woes. Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (ankle) was seen with a walking boot after the game, while fellow receiver Terrelle Pryor left with a groin injury. Starting safety Marcus Maye also has a thumb injury and was wearing a cast while leaving the locker room.GIMME THATThe Jets forced four takeaways — three INTs, one fumble — against the Colts, making them the only team with at least two games this season with at least that many in each.New York scored 20 points off the four turnovers Sunday, and has 15 takeaways for the season."Takeaways solve a lot of problems," Bowles said. "There are some things we have to fix, but takeaways aren't one of them."FEELING SUPERThe 50th anniversary of the Jets' 1968 team that won the Super Bowl behind Joe Namath was celebrated this weekend , first at a dinner Saturday night and then during a halftime ceremony at MetLife Stadium.Several Jets players said they were inspired by meeting those players, who are still the only team in franchise history to play on the NFL's biggest stage."I shook the hands of legends," Claiborne said.RODGERS' RETURNJets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers has not been coaching the last two weeks while dealing with an unspecified illness, but was on the field before the game and watched from a box in the stadium.Bowles said he was "a casual observer," and it's uncertain when Rodgers might return to his role of calling the defense. The assistant coach was in the locker room after the game and broke down the team's locker-room huddle after the victory."Just seeing him walking is a blessing," Claiborne said.
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