"We had a good effort. We came up a couple of plays short, and it was very disappointing. We are going to keep battling. That effort today, you can win some games in this league." - Gary Kubiak.
For the second time this season, the Houston Texans gave the Indianapolis Colts a gigantic scare. And for the secone time this season, scare was the best the Texans could do as they wound up on the short end of a 33-27 loss in what may have been yesterday's most exciting game. The loss dropped the Texans to 3-7 and puts a dark cloud over an amazing performance by Steve Slaton. Slaton carried the ball 15 times for a team rookie-record 156 yards, including a 71-yard touchdwon run, the longest in team history.
But the difference in the ballgame was the Indianapolis Colts ability in the second half to move the chains on third down. 6 times in the second half, the Colts faced a third down. They converted 5 of them, their lone falied third down being at the end of the game with them already in field goal range. When it was 3rd and 7, Peyton Manning would find Dallas Clark for 9 yards. If it was 3rd and 9, Manning would find Marvin Harrison for 10.
The Texans had done a good job of bend but don't break in the first half, holding the Colts to 3 field goals. But the Colts began to get their running game working, forcing the Texans to adjust. And that played right into Manning's hands. “We started to get down into some eight-man fronts, and when we did that, they started picking us apart. Credit to Peyton and their football team and their patience," Kubiak said.
Still, the story of the game from the Texans' side is not so much the loss as it is the reemergence of Slaton. After complaining of fatigue and taking a rest in the blowout loss to the Ravens, the WVU product went wild against a Colts' defense that everyone knows is not one of the best at stopping the run. After facing the top two statistically run defenses in the past two weeks, this was also a break of sorts for the Texans' running game. “It definitely did help me to rest. You really don’t realize how much football I have played so far just being a rookie now. I think last week definitely did help me," Slaton said.
The Texans also did a very good job of protecting the football, up until Sage Rosenfels threw an interception in the final minute. That possession produced two plays where I do have to ask why they tried to force plays. Trailing 33-27 with 1:47 left and no timeouts, the Texans began their last chance at their own 24 yard line. Rosenfles then completed a 12 yard pass to David Anderson. Then, instead of wasting the next first down and spiking the ball to stop the clock, the Texans tried to hurry up and run another play. The result was a sack.Anderson a couple plays later would catch another pass, a 14-yard gain, that gave the Texans a first down at their own 48. Again, instead of coming to the line and spiking the ball, they tried to force another play and that play turned out to be the interception that ended the game. I don't know if that decision is made by Kubiak or Rosenfels but that's what spiking the ball is for. That's why you do it on first down. It still gives you three plays to move the chains and allows you the luxury of getting your offense ready to run a play without having to force anything.
Other than that, I can't complain about the offensive performance in this game.
As for the defense, I'm giving them a mulligan for the 33 points allowed. After all, that was Peyton Manning on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
(sources: CBS Sportsline, houstontexans.com)