Kravitz Dopey Report Card: Colts vs. Texans (September 30, 2018)

(Photo courtesy: Houston Texans/Twitter)
Bob Kravitz

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Every week, Bob Kravitz offers his Dopey Report Card on the Indianapolis Colts' performance. This week, he breaks down the Colts' loss to the Houston Texans.


It's great that Robert Turbin is returning after a four-game suspension, but does it really matter when you can't block anybody? Colts runners were getting pummeled in the backfield before they could find any traction. In an overtime game, they ran exactly 17 times for 41 yards. That is, in a word, comical. Houston's Jadeveon Clowney, J.J. Watt and others were in the Colts' faces all game. The hope was that the addition of first-round pick Quenton Nelson would be a game-changer, that the historically awful Colts running game might come to life, but it hasn't happened. At least not yet. The Colts were completely one-dimensional, even before they fell behind 28-10 and were forced to pass their way back into the game.


Yes, the Colts allowed 119 yards on 35 carries, but if you're Indy, you'll happily accept a 3.4 yards-per-carry average every single week. Lamar Miller, Houston's primary running back, went for 49 yards on 15 carries. By and large, I've been very impressed with the Colts run defense and their front four, in particular. Denico Autry has been a nice addition, Al Woods has been solid since he arrived in in Indy, Jabaal Sheard is criminally underrated and Margus Hunt has been a beast this season. As usual, Darius Leonard led the way statistically, finishing with 13 combined tackles and a sack. The middle linebacker, Anthony Walker, finished with 10 tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss. Don't be misled by the 37 points the Texans put up: Fourteen of them were courtesy of the erring Indy offense.


On the good-news front, Andrew Luck is back. We figured there would be some growing pains, and he failed to break the 200-yard barrier in the games against Washington and Philadelphia. Sunday, though, the elite Luck was back, and he was doing it without Jack Doyle, who missed the game with an injury, and T.Y. Hilton, who left the game in the third quarter when he was hurt. We're talking Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, Chester Rogers, Nyheim Hines (who showed you what kind of player he can be) and Ryan Grant. Luck was a gaudy 40-of-62 for 464 yards, four TD's and no interceptions – and his team lost. On the bad-news front, there were entirely too many drops, including a game-changing bobble when Johnson failed to catch a sure first-down pass on third-and-2 at the Houston 25 in overtime. The offensive line got worked early in the game, especially the two reserve tackles, but they battled and improved as the game wore on. Let's just hope we don't find out that Anthony Castonzo is heading to The Netherlands for his balky hamstring.


At least the Colts have a pass rush; they sacked Deshaun Watson seven times and now have 17 sacks in four games. Indy also hit Watson 11 times, which used to be a month's work for previous Colts' teams. The secondary, though…not good. Pierre Desir had a monster interception, but the entire game, Indy was credited with just two passes defensed. It didn't help that Kenny Moore II had to leave early with a concussion. Watson had his way all game, continually finding rookie Keke Coutee 11 times for 109 yards and Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins 10 times for 169 yards. If Watson could throw for 375 against the Colts, what's the over-under for Tom Brady – 500?


What else can you say about Adam Vinatieri? He passed Morten Anderson for most field goals in NFL history Sunday, and he's just 25 points shy of the all-time points record, which he should break sometime next month. We've been fortunate to see some all-time greats in this town – Peyton, Freeney, Mathis, Edge, Marvin, Reggie, and the list goes on – and Vinatieri belongs in that pantheon.


All right, let's revisit fourth-and-4. Twenty four hours later, I still don't like it. I understand why Frank Reich did it; he wants to build a go-for-broke, no-risk-it-no-biscuit mentality into this team, and he will tell you that Doug Pederson did similarly reckless things his first year in Philly. But the odds were not in his favor; not in the least. The Colts had a 10.4 percent chance to win that game by going for it. Ten-point-4. Even if the pass had been completed to Rogers, the Colts would have been awfully hard pressed to get Vinatieri into field goal position with the clock under 20 seconds and no timeouts left. It's funny, when the analytics run counter to the go-for-it narrative, we hear, "He's establishing a culture!'' OK, then, so why didn't Reich go for it on fourth-and-2 at the Houston 25 early in overtime? Help me out here.


This team – shoot, most teams – aren't good enough to give away 14 points with turnovers deep in their own territory. This team isn't good enough to commit 10 penalties for 85 yards. This team isn't good enough to continually drop passes, contested or otherwise. This team isn't good enough to overcome when its first-year head coach makes game-management mistakes. Through one quarter of the season, the Colts look like a somewhat better team than I expected them to be, but the record doesn't reflect it. Mistakes. Silly mistakes.

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