Welcome back, Chuck. So great to see Chuck Pagano back on the sidelines for the Colts. I knew it was coming, but it was still great to see it. We often talk about athletes as heroes, but nothing was more heroic than Pagano's homecoming.
We are the Texans, the mighty, mighty Texans. I said it when Houston got off to its great start: until the Texans win the doggone Super Bowl/actually do something to show they're a real contender, they will always be the Texans. They needed just one more win to clinch homefield advantage in the playoffs. Not only did they fail, they looked absolutely shellshocked.
Dome Sweet Dome. Even when the Colts were at their worst last season, they beat the Texans at home (the primary reason for the observation above). The Colts are now 11-0 all-time against Houston at home. It won't last forever, but it's certainly entertaining.
Isn't Deji a type of mustard? The Colts got a HUGE lift when Deji Karim took a kickoff return 101 yards for a touchdown. Karim has had a couple nice returns since joining the team...but this one was key. The Texans just scored to go ahead and the Colts needed to respond. I don't think anyone touched him during the return.
The longest drive. The Colts put the game away with a final drive that consumed more than nine minutes of clock. Think about that.
Vontae Davis. That trade really looks good now. After struggling with injuries earlier this year, Vontae Davis has been a beast in the last part of the season. He drew a couple flags today, sure, but we'll take the interceptions. While Andre Johnson caught 12 balls for 141 yards, he didn't sniff the end zone.
Woulda, coulda, shoulda. It's a moot point now, but this is why I wish the Colts had played just a little better in the first meeting of these two teams. The Texans clearly aren't as elite as they'd like to think. If Indy had managed to eke out a win at Houston, they could've hosted a playoff game. Think about that for a second.
The Greatest Third and 23 Ever. Yay! Reggie Wayne caught a pass! First down, Colts! Wait? Holding? On Castonzo? Oh, crap. Third and 23? There's no way we'll ever...wait! T.Y. Hilton down the seam! A 70-yard touchdown! That's pretty much my thought process during that entire span.
"The Mayor" bottled up. Not a big game for Vick Ballard, who managed just 2.9 yards per carry. The Texans frequently beat blocks and stopped Ballard in the backfield for no gain/negative yards. But you know what, it didn't matter because...
They closed it out. ...Ballard got tough yardage on the Colts' final possession, helping the team run out the clock and keep the ball away from the Texans. The Colts have been able to pick up key first downs in several situations this year.
And yes, Reggie Wayne, the clock will keep rolling. On third and two, habitual gambler and ex-interim head coach Bruce Arians elected for a pass to Reggie Wayne. Number 87 caught it, picked up the first down, and the clock kept churning.
You want yards? Take 'em? You want touchdowns? We're stingier about those. The Colts have a knack for keeping teams out of the end zone. They seem to clamp down in the red zone.
Welcome back, pass rush. Although the Colts didn't get pressure in a few situations, the pass rush was generally pretty good this week. They finished with four sacks on the afternoon.
We salute you, 93. Dwight Freeney had a sack in what could be his final home game with the Colts. You never know, though. Everyone thought Reggie Wayne had played his last game at Big Oil after the team beat Houston last year. Still...I don't think Freeney is an ideal fit for the defensive scheme and will be too expensive to retain, even if the Colts have a lot of cap room.
Dwayne Allen, running back. We've seen it a few times this year, but I like the change of pace of handing the ball to Allen out of the fullback position on a third and short. The Texans were gunning for Ballard on that play, giving Allen just enough room to get the first down.
Kneel before Zod. When you're on the winning side of things, there's nothing better than the kneel down from the victory formation.
A little help, please? Oh, thanks. The Colts avoided a big-time turnover when the officials overturned a sack/fumble and called it an incomplete pass. I consulted my Oakland Raiders Tuck Rule Book, but still couldn't figure it out. To me, it looked like the Texans defender batted the ball out of Luck's hand. NFL officiating guru Mike Pereira tweeted the following explanation:
On reversal, direction of the pass means nothing. His arm was started forward and then he got it and the ball went backward then incomplete.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) December 30, 2012
Fleener sighting. Coby Fleener caught one pass. It was a touchdown.
Cassius Vaughn: Open field specialist. I really like what I've seen from Cassius Vaughn at corner. He's a tremendous open field tackler.
Some Guy had a sack. Lawrence Guy sacked Matt Schaub. I think it's fitting that his jersey has "Guy" on the back because, really, no one knows who he is. Did you realize he's appeared in nine games for the Colts? He also had eight tackles last week.
Bring on the Ravens. Someone somewhere will do some stupid story about how the Colts used to play in Baltimore and people will cry about it and scream "Mayflower" and "stolen from the night" and "Bob Irsay" even though Baltimore stole the Browns from Cleveland and has won a Super Bowl since coming to Baltimore.