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
3 of 3

The bad from Colts’ loss to Texans (continued)

Shane Steichen’s decision making

We expected Steichen to be aggressive and trust the players he had in certain situations and looks but it didn’t quite pan out how they were hoping. There were three overall head scratching decisions. Let’s get to the first decision that made me wonder. That first one was having Matt Gay kick a deep 57-yard field goal instead of trying to pin the Texans deep when Houston was clearly winning the field position battle. Gay missed the field goal off the upright and gave the Texans prime field position that set up another Houston field goal.

The second was Steichen’s inability to convert a third down in key moments. The Colts finished 1-of-11 on third down. The play calling was a little suspect on third down and maybe had a little too much faith in his players. No team can expect to win a football game only converting one single third down. However, the fact that it is was still a one possession football game while only converting one third down is also impressive.

Finally, his decision on 4th and 1 on the final drive. Was the play call correct? Yes and No. The idea of it and the thought process of it was spot on. He saw the look he wanted and called the play he thought would give them the opportunity to either convert the down or score. The goal was not to score, the goal was to convert and keep playing and shedding clock to prevent Stroud from seeing the ball again.

Jonathan Taylor had 188 yards on the ground and was playing a terrific game and Steichen chose to swing the ball out to running back Tyler Goodson. The pass was behind him and poorly thrown by Gardner Minshew. A better throw and he looks like a hero. But the call to keep the ball out of your best players’ hands is the one that troubles me. Big time players (like Taylor) deserve the ball in big time moments and Steichen missed that.

Colts finish the season 9-8 as we head to another offseason full of questions, but the future is bright for this franchise as we welcome back Anthony Richardson. The AFC South will be competitive with all the youth at quarterback and Chris Ballard will need to assemble a roster to keep up.