Texans vs. Colts: Final Player Grades, Analysis for Indianapolis
The Colts (11-5) got huge plays from every phase of the game this afternoon, with a kick return for a touchdown, two interceptions, and a huge, game-clinching 70-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton. The win doesn't mean anything for the Colts' seed in the playoffs, but is an emotional burst as the Colts ride into the playoffs on a hot streak.
For the Texans, the game is an enormous blow to their playoff hopes, as they drop to the 3rd seed as New England and Denver both won their final game. The two teams look like they're headed in two different directions after this one, and the concerns are very real for Houston.
Andrew Luck: A-
Although his stats aren't fantastic, Luck finished off the season on a good note. Luck was more accurate than we've seen him at times during the last five weeks, and had some clutch third down conversions to get the win. His best moment came in the 4th quarter, as the Colts were faced with a 3rd-and-13 up 21-16. Luck threw a perfect strike to Reggie Wayne for the first, but the play was called back due to holding. But Luck came through on 3rd-and-23, with a perfect pass to T.Y. Hilton over the top for a 70-yard touchdown pass.
Vick Ballard: B+
Ballard struggled to find any daylight for most of the game, outside of a 20-yard burst in the first half. But when the fourth quarter came, Ballard did what he had to, gaining just enough yards for the Colts to keep on moving the ball and clinch the game. Ballard, running behind a very poor offensive line, finished with 78 yards on 29 carries.
Reggie Wayne: B-
Wayne struggled once again against the Texans defense, catching just four of his 12 targets for 40 yards. Of course, Wayne did also draw a pass interference penalty in the endzone, as well as catching the game clinching first down on 3rd-and-2 on the final drive.
T.Y. Hilton: B+
Hilton isn't a volume catch guy, and has had troubles hanging on to the ball at times. But, he always seems to come up with a big play, catching a 20-yard pass in eight of the last 10 games. This week, his moment came on 3rd-and-23, when Andrew Luck hit him in stride for a 70-yard TD to go up two scores. He finished with four catches on six targets for 111 yards.
Donnie Avery: F
Was Avery on the field today? He only finished with one target, and failed to catch a ball all game. Houston is not good against #2 wide receivers, and Avery didn't make an impact.
Dwayne Allen: B+
Allen finished with two catches for 21 yards, but 20 of it came on one play, a critical third down conversion that set up a Colts' touchdown in the first quarter. Allen's biggert contribution came in blocking. He did get beat pretty noticeably on one play, but for the most part added a solid blocker from the TE position on runs, allowing Vick Ballard to rack up 78 yards.
Coby Fleener: C+
Fleeners started out the game with a one-yard touchdown reception, but failed to get involved in the passing game for the rest of the game, dropping what would have been a long completion before the half, and failing to get a target for the rest of the game.
Anthony Castonzo: B+
Castonzo wiped away a long 3rd down conversion in the fourth quarter with a holding penalty, but overall did a good job of keeping Luck clean throughout the game. He also continues to be the Colts' best run blocker.
Joe Reitz: C-
Reitz had a poor game, struggling to contain Watt when he flipped sides, and allowing numerous linemen to penetrate on run plays and shut them down.
A.Q. Shipley: B-
Shipley struggled to open up the middle at times for the run game, but did get some great blocks in as well. Shipley generally has done a good job in pass protection as well.
Mike McGlynn: B
McGlynn still isn't the answer at guard, but he had a much better performance against J.J. Watt this time around than he did in Week 15. Watt finished without a sack, and it showed as the Colts looked much better offensively.
Winston Justice: B-
Justice was on an island for a large portion of this game, and did a decent job. But the most impressive part of his game was his job run blocking in the fourth quarter, a part of his game that usually is lacking. But this week he helped pave the way for Ballard in the game-clinching drive.
Lawrence Guy: B+
Guy got pushed around a little bit in the beginning of the second half, but managed to get some consistent pass rush, which has been lacking from the interior DL. Guy got a sack in the second half, but also managed two quarterback hits on the day.
Martin Tevaseu: C-
Tevaseu wasn't awful today, but he wasn't great either. He did manage to get a couple tackles, and helped the Colts to limit Arian Foster to less than 100 yards, the first time in his career he's failed to hit the century mark against Indianapolis.
Ricardo Mathews/Clifton Geathers: B-
The other defensive ends helped provide pass rush as well today, as Geathers got a sack in the first quarter. Mathews also got a run stop in the first half, sticking through a Foster stiff arm to bring him down for no gain, and getting a pass defense as well.
Dwight Freeney: A
Freeney showed up big time for what could possibly be his last game in Lucas Oil Stadium. Freeney had a huge sack in the third quarter that helped force a punt, as well as providing the most pressure he has all season throughout the game. His pressure in the first quarter directly allowed Geathers to pick up the sack, and he also managed to pick up a run stop for a loss in the first half.
Robert Mathis: B-
He's struggled a bit as of late to provide pressure, but he did manage three tackles, including a 3 yard loss on an Andre Johnson screen pass on third down in the first quarter. He also combined with Freeney to help bring down Foster in the backfield on 3rd and short in the first half.
Jerrell Freeman: B
Freeman got 10 more tackles this afternoon, including five stops. But all of his stops were against the run, and he struggled against the pass, allowing several long completions up the middle.
Pat Angerer: D+
Angerer got a couple of stops, but overall was poor in the game, missing tackles in the run game and allowing big completions up the middle. Of course, you shouldn't have him matched up one-on-one with a wide receiver, but nevertheless, he struggled.
Vontae Davis: B+
Davis allowed a lot of short completions to Andre Johnson, but those are tough for any corner to handle. What's more concerning for me are the two holding/pass interference penalties that allowed the Texans to sustain drives. But, Davis took advantage of good coverage and bad throws to add two crucial interceptions to his 2012 stat list.
Cassius Vaughn: C-
Vaughn had a couple of nice tackles, and finished with 10 overall, but allowed several completions without compensating with the big play, as Davis did. Vaughn did have one forced incompletion that didn't show on the stat sheet as a pass defensed.
Antoine Bethea: C+
Bethea finished with six tackles, but all were "clean-up" tackles, finishing plays after it was already a success for the Texans. He didn't get any stops or defend any passes.
Joe Lefeged: C
Lefeged was pretty invisible on the day, racking up just two assisted tackles. He didn't allow any long passes, but didn't provide any big plays either.
Pat McAfee: B+
McAfee wasn't as dominant as he has been, but he still managed to pin the Texans inside their own 20 three times, including a beauty that was downed at the 3-yard line.
Adam Vinatieri: A
A perfect 4-4 on point after attempts!
Deji Karim: A
Karim has been pretty good since re-signing with the Colts as a kick returner, and he looked close to breaking one all day. He did in the third quarter, responding to a long Texans' drive with a blast right up the middle for the score.
Chuck Pagano: A
Pagano didn't have any huge coaching decisions, but he had is team motivated and ready to play in a game that meant nothing for playoff positioning. The Colts looked like the team playing for the #1 seed today, and kept the Texans from getting their first win in Indianapolis.
Bruce Arians: B
Arians definitely looked like he learned from these two teams' last meeting. The team came out and started with their best drive all season, and did a much better job of keeping Watt contained. There still is some issues with predictability, but a much better game this time.
Greg Manusky: B
Although there were a few blitzes on third downs that allowed the Texans to convert long third downs, the Colts held the Texans to just 16 points, and Manusky's playcalling got the most pressure on a quarterback as they have all season, a big reason why Schaub had just a 66.3 passer rating.