A horrible call on 4th down in Texans territory nearly doomed the Colts on Sunday.
When the Indianapolis Colts kept the offense on the field on 4th and 1 from the Houston Texans’ five-yard line with about seven minutes remaining in the game, just about every fan knew it was a bad idea. Indy was leading 24-20, so why not take the chip shot field goal to make it 27-20? At worst, you’re probably looking at overtime if the defense blows it.
Instead, Frank Reich decided to go for it and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni called a draw to Nyheim Hines, who was getting gobbled up all afternoon. Hines was crushed at the line of scrimmage by two Texans defenders and the Colts turned it over on downs. Momentum gone.
Luckily for the Colts, the defense came up huge, sacking Deshaun Watson in the end zone for a safety to make it a 26-20 game. And after the offense gave the ball back, the Texans drove all the way down the field to the Colts’ two-yard line late in the fourth, but the defense recovered a fumble on a bad snap. Game over. Colts win.
That’s a big break for the coaching staff, which would’ve caught a TON of criticism if the Texans had scored. Though Reich had to answer questions about the play, it wasn’t nearly as difficult to respond after the victory.
But we do have a few questions. Why was there a lot of confidence on a draw call on 4th and 1 and what were the “multiple options” on the play? It simply looked like a bad call that the Texans defense blew up. Why was there no QB sneak with Jacoby Brissett, which seems to work every time? Why not just take the field goal?
And what’s the “strong go for it” on the charts? We get that you want to put the game out of reach and stomp on your division rivals, but the defense was lights out in the second half. It out-scored the offense! Why wouldn’t you trust Darius Leonard and Co. to continue keeping Watson in check after the tremendous adjustments they made after the first half?
Colts fans will take 8-4. They’ll take the win. They’ll take tied for first in the AFC South. But the coaching staff has to be better. When you need every win possible down the stretch, these kinds of risks just aren’t worth it.
Hopefully that odd response from Reich indicates he understands that because his decision-making will need to be a bit more polished as we head into the final four games of the year.