Colts vs. Texans: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Indianapolis
Colts: 17, Texans: 29
The Indianapolis Colts lost to the Houston Texans on Sunday as their comeback bid fell short. The Colts looked to be leading another comeback after a touchdown pass to Dwayne Allen got the Colts within six, but penalties and mistakes stalled the rest of their offensive possessions, and they would get no closer.
With the win, the Texans clinch the division, and the Colts drop to 9-5, needing one more win to clinch a playoff spot.
Let's take a look at some final grades for Indianapolis from this Week 15 matchup.
Andrew Luck: B-
Luck was above average today, but not by much, as many of his passes were high and he struggled to deal with pressure from Houston's pass rush, taking five sacks on the day. Luck completed just 13 passes all game, a season low, and tied his season low of 186 total passing yards.
As the season has gone on, Luck has become more and more aware of his offensive line's issues, and it's clearly affecting his performance as he rushes throws consistently. Indy's No. 1 concern in the offseason will be that offensive line. The last thing they want is for Luck's development to be harmed by poor protection.
Vick Ballard: A
Ballard, a week after his best game of the season, kept improving on Sunday with his first 100-yard game, gaining 105 yards on just 18 carries, a 5.8 average. I felt that Ballard was merely getting what the offensive line provided in the first half, but he came on strong in the second half to create and dominate.
Mewelde Moore: F
Why Moore was ever in the game to run the ball, much less in critical situations, is beyond me. After a drive where Ballard started to find a groove, Moore came in and halted the Colts' momentum, gaining just six yards on four carries and fumbling the ball on the 1-yard line, which may have been the play that lost the game.
Reggie Wayne: D+
Wayne was clearly having an off day, as he struggled to get off of defenders, and only caught three passes for 14 yards. Two of those passes were screens and the other was on the last play of the game, a garbage-time stat. Wayne failed to catch balls he usually does, dropping several passes on third downs.
Donnie Avery: C-
Targeted just six times, Avery brought in three passes for 37 yards and only managed one first down. Against a team that has struggled against No. 2 wide receivers, the Colts needed more from him today, and didn't get it.
T.Y. Hilton: C+
Another week, another big play as Hilton's 61-yard touchdown reception was the turning point in the Colts' comeback attempt. Unfortunately, Hilton also had a few key drops, with at least two balls that should have been caught on third down falling to the ground.
Dwayne Allen: C-
Allen, having clearly become the No. 1 tight end, caught passes in his 14th consecutive game, as well as contributing a touchdown and third-down rushing conversion. However, he also allowed a blocked punt for a touchdown on an abysmal block that was a key moment in an otherwise close game.
Coby Fleener: D+
Fleener got involved too late yet again on Sunday with his 21-yard catch coming with less than a minute to play, down 12. The Colts need more production from him, although he did contribute with some solid blocking on the day.
Anthony Castonzo: B+
Castonzo did allow a few pressures on Luck, but was pretty solid for most of the day, and was a rock in run-blocking. The Colts had a lot of success running to the left side, and Castonzo was one of the biggest reasons for that. When he can get to the second level, the Colts generally run well.
Joe Reitz: B-
Reitz, like Castonzo, allowed a few pressures, but was generally pretty reliable at guard, especially in run-blocking. When asked to pull and block, he did a great job, showing why the Colts were so high on him last season.
A.Q. Shipley: C+
Shipley struggled at times against a dominant Houston front, but still seems to be a viable replacement option for Samson Satele, who has had an awful year.
Mike McGlynn: F
Dominated by J.J. Watt, McGlynn struggled to get any kind of push in the run game, and allowed Watt and company to make Andrew Luck's life very uncomfortable all day. Luck should be grateful to be alive after the way McGlynn played today.
Jeff Linkenbach: F-
Somehow playing even worse than his next-door lineman, Linkenbach managed to allow penetration that even disrupted runs to the other side of the field on Sunday on at least two occasions. He also was a big reason why Luck was pressured so heavily, as Linkenbach and McGlynn were seemingly overwhelmed on every single dropback.
Antonio Johnson: C-
Johnson was solid early, as the Colts stalled Arian Foster and Johnson got a couple of stops. But as the game wore on Johnson was decidedly worse, culminating in a horrific final drive by the Texans.
Cory Redding: C+
Redding was the most active DL on the day, finishing with four tackles (one for a loss). Redding's penetration in the first half led to some big stops, but like Johnson he failed to sustain it in the fourth quarter.
Ricardo Mathews: D+
Mathews had a one notable play on the day, penetration that allowed a linebacker to get a run stop. But outside of that Mathews was invisible.
Robert Mathis/Dwight Freeney: C+
The "dynamic" duo combined for two sacks and four tackles on the day, but didn't provide much pass rush outside of those two sacks, and struggled to contain the run in the second half by setting the edge.
Jerrell Freeman: C
Freeman racked up 10 tackles on the day, but didn't get many stops as he failed to meet running backs in the hole and allowed a couple of receptions by tight ends.
Pat Angerer: C+
Angerer looked good in his return to the starting lineup, but his production wore down as the game went on. After being very productive and getting stops in the first half, Angerer was quiet in the second half with just two tackles.
Moise Fokou: C-
Fokou's only notable play of the day was a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer, which allowed the Texans to stay on the field (it was third down) and take a two-score lead.
Cassius Vaughn: C+
Vaughn actually had a decent day in coverage, and added a third-down stop in the first half. He did get picked on a little bit in the fourth quarter as the Texans ran the clock down.
Vontae Davis: C-
An off day for Davis, he had pretty good coverage for most of the day, but was terrible at tracking the ball in the air, resulting in a couple of huge receptions for Andre Johnson.
Antoine Bethea: C-
Bethea had a poor game, allowing the Texans' sole offensive touchdown on the day on a whiffed tackle on the 1-yard line (on third down). Bethea also was inconsistent in run support, racking up five tackles, but also missing a couple. Bethea did have a seven-yard sack in the second quarter.
Joe Lefeged: C
Lefeged managed to pick up three tackles on the day, but his biggest moment came on the Texans' first drive, as he bit hard on a play fake and allowed Andre Johnson to get wide open for a 52-yard catch.
Pat McAfee: A-
McAfee had a punt blocked, but that really wasn't his fault. The rest of the day was gorgeous from the four-year punter, as he averaged over 48 yards per punt and knocked three of them inside the Houston 20-yard line. McAfee also forced touchbacks on three of his four kickoffs.
Adam Vinatieri: A
Vinatieri only had one field-goal attempt on the day, a 26-yard chip shot that never had a question.
T.Y. Hilton: C+
Hilton only managed 18 yards on two punt returns, more than two yards less than his season average.
Deji Karim: B
The Colts have struggled to find a kick returner all season, but Karim came out and averaged over 27 yards per return, including a 39-yarder that gave the Colts good field position at the start of the third quarter.
Bruce Arians: F
Arians had his worst day of coaching on Sunday, with questionable play-calling, a terrible unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that gifted the Texans an extra field goal, and the awful decision of having Mewelde Moore be the goal-line back in the second quarter. The Colts also looked apathetic in the fourth quarter, with no sense of urgency as time wound down.
Greg Manusky: C
Manusky once again called a decent game, allowing the Texans to pick up a lot of yards but ultimately holding them to just one touchdown. The only horrific gaffe was the lack of deep help in the first half that led to a 52-yard catch by Andre Johnson.