The Colts’ red zone defense was spectacular in a too-close win Sunday.
The story of Sunday’s Colts victory was timeliness.
But the stark truth is, though the defense is usually stout, Deshaun Watson found more than his fair share of holes, especially during scattershot moments of hurry-up offense.
At the tail end of both halves, Watson sprinted down the field in under two minutes, inching closer to pay dirt in 10-yard chunks. We’ll always remember the last gasp — that one ended with Leonard’s special play and averted an overtime nobody wanted. Not even the banged-up Watson.
But the defense holding steady just before the half, as well as on Houston’s seven-minute drive, their first of the second half, was the real reason Indy was able to escape with a win. Without these two bouts of determination, the frantic ending never would’ve happened.
Watson was given the football starting at his own 19 with 1:43 left in the first half down just one score. Within a minute 30, he had a 1st & Goal at the 10-yard line that inched to the five with an encroachment penalty.
Not only did Indy’s defensive backs buckle down with goal to go, but they completely extinguished any hope Watson had; all three incompletions that followed were launched out of the back of the end zone. Sure, Watson learned all the right lessons from Red Right 88, but it was exceptionally demoralizing for a Houston offense that though they’d solved the Colts.
We saw more of the same to wrap up the Texans’ marathon drive to start the third quarter, too. Frank Reich declined to challenge a dicey sideline catch while the offense was raging, but saved his flag for a special moment — he undid a first down extension and turned it into a 3rd-and-inches, only for a rattled Texans TE group to false start in unison, leading to a difficult incompletion from Watson.
Twice, the Texans could’ve gotten so much closer. Twice, they fizzled out when their opponent should’ve been susceptible to gashing.
Well…three times they fizzled out, actually.
Indianapolis was lucky on Sunday, but make no mistake: They were also good, and they refused to play any of Deshaun Watson’s quick-twitch games when it was time to play big boy football in the trenches.