The good and bad from Colts’ painful season-ending loss to Texans

The Indianapolis Colts season ended in devastating fashion as they dropped the finale and their playoff hopes, losing to the Houston Texans 23-19.
Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts
Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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With a playoff spot, and the AFC South title on the line, the Indianapolis Colts suffered a painful loss to the Houston Texans in Week 18. Although Indy did a lot of good this season, the 23-19 loss will be a bitter taste in Indy’s mouth all offseason. Outcome aside, there was plenty of good and bad in Indy’s final game of the season, so let’s take a look.

The good from Colts’ loss to Texans

Jonathan Taylor

This was Jonathan Taylor’s first game against the Texans this season, as he was on the PUP list the first time around. His performance was the high point of this game. He finished with 188 yards on 30 carries and had one big 49-yard run in the second half that tied the ball game and completely shifted the momentum.

Some fans criticized Taylor’s extension when he came off the PUP list and said that it was an overpayment for the position, in a league moving towards more pass-heavy schemes. General manager Chris Ballard has always defended his position of having that game-changing back to win games and keep us in games. Taylor, without question, silenced any remaining doubters on Saturday with this performance.

Colts offensive line

This offensive line is the most improved unit we saw this season and they were not healthy the entire year. We saw injuries from Ryan Kelly and Braden Smith affect on this line all season long. Still, the group had a terrific performance on Saturday night as they only allowed two sacks on Gardner Minshew and plowed the roads for 227 rushing yards, mostly from Jonathan Taylor.

The line controlled the line of scrimmage and kept this team in the game but unfortunately, the rest of the offense struggled from an execution standpoint. This line will continue to get better under the scheme of coach Tony Sparano Jr. and, as always, health will be the key factor for them.

Second half adjustments

The Colts went into the locker room down 14-6 and it was far worse than the score showed. They were burned on the Texans’ first play from scrimmage with an inexcusable blown coverage with Nico Collins, and on the second touchdown, safety Rodney Thomas II made a bad read and went to the flat instead of staying in the middle of the field.

Indianapolis was able to come out in the second half and force a Houston three-and-out and then come back with a four-play, 87-yard drive that finished with a Taylor 49-yard touchdown run. The players were able to execute a different game plan to get them back in the game. Even as we saw, on the failed 4th down in the final minutes, it was poor execution more than it was a poor play call.