Sunday night wrap-up: Hilton hauls in a win


For much of the first half, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck looked like he didn’t know what to do without Reggie Wayne.

As the night went on, he might have found his next long-term target.

With three touchdowns in the second half of their 27-24 win over the Texans, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton took a huge step toward becoming the guy for the Colts.

Wayne’s streak of 189 straight games ended with his torn ACL two weeks ago, and you just don’t replace him.

There’s no one in the group of Hilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey or Griff Whalen who could, of course. But those guys could help Luck by catching things that hit them in the hands.

Hilton started to in the second half, which was the only reason they got back into the game. In the first half, Luck didn’t appear to fully trust anyone other than his old Stanford tight end Coby Fleener.

Hilton needs to become more consistent catching the ball before he can get close to Wayne’s level, but he’s emerged as the one of the group with the best chance.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. For all the thoughts racing through the minds of the Texans when head coach Gary Kubiak was taken to the hospital after collapsing at halftime, imagine what it was like to be Wade Phillips at the moment.The veteran defensive coordinator just lost his father, legendary coach Bum Phillips, watching a video tribute from the sidelines during a first-half timeout. And then his boss was taken off the field on a stretcher and he had to get back to work.The strain on football coaches is magnified by the attention they receive. There are more stressful jobs on the planet, but their jobs are not conducive to a healthy lifestyle.

2.  The Texans had bigger concerns Sunday night than their record or the game.

But as it pertains to the common world of football, they found at least one important answer, and perhaps two.

If it’s too soon to say that Case Keenum is their quarterback of the future, it’s certainly too soon to say Andre Johnson is slowing down.

The quarterback making his second start and the veteran wideout connected nine times for 229 yards.

Johnson scored his first touchdown since Dec. 16, 2012 in the first quarter, and added two more before halftime.

But more than the scoring itself, the deep ball element that had been missing from the Texans offense was back.

Deposed quarterback Matt Schaub was averaging 6.7 yards per attempt in his six starts this year (a number which had been shrinking progressively, from 8.5 in 2011 to 7.4 last year).

By contrast, Keenum averaged 10.8 yards per attempt last week against the Chiefs, and 10.3 Sunday.

3. The Colts were not helped by a pair of special teams calls in the first half.

Texans special teamer Bryan Braman didn’t touch the ball when he plowed into Colts punter Pat McAfee, which should have been called a roughing penalty.

But the second quarter review which gave the ball back to the Texans after return man Keshawn Martin fumbled seemed bizarre. They reversed the call on the field to say Colts wide receiver LaVon Brazill touched it, but any contact seemed imperceptible.

Of course, the special teams gods giveth back, too. Texans kicker Randy Bullock missed three field goals — the sixth, seventh and eighth misses of the year from the 2012 fifth-round pick.

4. The Texans brought Ed Reed in for his leadership.

It certainly wasn’t for his play on the field.

Reed has been a step slow (or worse) all year, but he does things more befitting a rookie.

His third quarter personal foul on an incomplete pass kept a drive going. The fact the Colts only got a field goal out of the deal doesn’t matter that much, but Reed’s not delivering anything near the level to justify their investment in him.

5. The early hole they found themselves in made it not conducive to running.

But at some point, the Colts have to be concerned with what they’re getting from running back Trent Richardson.

After giving up a first-round pick to acquire him from the Browns, Richardson has averaged 2.7, 3.0, 3.1, 4.0, 2.6 and 2.5 yards per attempt.

Jim Brown might have been right. Richardson might be an ordinary back, but they didn’t pay an ordinary price.

28 responses to “Sunday night wrap-up: Hilton hauls in a win

  1. Pep Hamilton’s “Ground and Pound” game plan is what puts them behind the 8-ball.

    Once they scrapped that 1994 game-plan and let Luck play, they were able to move the ball and look like a normal offense again.

    Big mistake hiring that guy. His offense is outdated, and his obsession with “ground and pound” cost them next years 1st round pick for a 3.0 ypc rb. He needs to go

  2. How in the name of god does a professional NFL football team have a kicker like that?

    The guy literally can’t kick field goals. That last kick was a miss the second it left his foot. It cost them this game, period.

    That aside, best wishes to Coach Kubiak for a speedy recovery.

  3. Lol Luckboy lucks into yet another comeback against a scrub team vs Keenum, Tate, a backup head coach and a reeling team. Everyone line up to anoint the guy who dug his team into the hole and was lucky enough to be playing a team in disarray…he deserves the horseshoe on his helmet.

  4. No wonder the browns traded Richardson…he’s awful. Like…I wouldn’t sign the guy if he was released…kind of bad

  5. Regarding the call to overturn Martin’s fumble on the kickoff: that was the right call, though the refs probably confused many by saying it touched his foot (it didn’t).

    However, you can see that JUST after his left hand touched out of bounds, the ball was still rolling along his right hand fingers. So, it touched the Colts player while he was touching out of bounds; it was the right call (I could provide some screens if people want them). Most probably missed it (not their fault) because the ref accidentally said it touched off his foot.

    Now, that Andre catch that was overturned…egh. Maybe it isn’t the official rule, but I’m of the opinion that if the player has possession as they touch out, the play should be over at that point. I thought he had it plenty long enough regardless.

  6. Calls happen. That’s every game.

    As a Colts fan, I hate to think it, but Kubiak going out sapped everything from the Texans. Case Keenum (that just sounds like a Texas QB name) has some arm on him.

  7. First things first. I hope Gary Kubiak is ok. That’s life, not just football. Secondly, Luck is money when it counts. And finally, please stop calling Irsay an alcoholic. You sound stupid and ignorant. Local Indy TV just had him on last game, and he sounded completely sober. Being an Indy resident, I know people that can attest to his sobriety. He may shoot his mouth off, but it seems to work (see the hype he created around the Denver game, putting the heat on him and not the team). Great comeback win for the boys in blue!

  8. Luck is a great QB and deserves the praise but Houston’s K was terrible and the penalties were at the absolute worst time for them. I can’t believe these Vegas guys (Houston +2.5) are so good.

    Richardson for a 1st rnd pick? Well done Cleveland…Well done…

  9. Refs were terrible in this game. Though they later said that Pagano could’ve challenged the roughing the kicker no call, something I didn’t realize either but I’m sure he will file that into memory for another time…the reversal on the fumble was just a clear violation of the rules. Call in the field stands unless there is CLEAR, INDISPUTABLE EVIDENCE to overturn it…there wasn’t…and it was bull. There was no way the ref could’ve seen a way to reverse that call and both ref misses led to tds. Tough win by the Colts but Luck continues to impress with his ability to step up his game when it matters most. Also, the Colts offensive line is exactly that…offensive. Needs serious work. P.S. T-Rich will be fine as soon as Hamilton decides to do something other than run him between satele and Thornton every rush play.

  10. Keenum to Andre Johnson looked as good as anyone in the league. This team will rally around coach Kubiak and win some games down the stretch.

  11. Andre has never been close to slowing down. That man is a warrior and can still play at an extremely high level. Since Schaub arrived, almost every single deep ball to Andre (over 30 yards) has been under thrown. AJ usually has to slow down and wait for it. But he’s always been capable of making plays. Keenum has a much better deep ball (Case has a grade B arm at best, but he’s accurate and has enough) and can hit AJ in stride. Insert new qb with some courage and mocse, see AJ thrive.

    Seriously the guy was at the top of his position for a long time. I won’t make the argument that he’s still at CJs level, but he’s not as far behind as people think. He’s spent 10 years being wasted by Carr and Schaub, while being a class act and managing to string together 1500 yard seasons. Weak qbs and weak red zone offense are the only reason he doesn’t have more TDs.

    If he’d spent his entire year with Tom Brady or Peyton, his stats would be scary and either would have more rings.

  12. “Texans special teamer Bryan Braman didn’t touch the ball when he plowed into Colts punter Pat McAfee, which should have been called a roughing penalty.”

    “But the second quarter review which gave the ball back to the Texans after return man Keshawn Martin fumbled seemed bizarre. They reversed the call on the field to say Colts wide receiver LaVon Brazill touched it, but any contact seemed imperceptible.”

    These two calls weren’t just bad calls, they were the kind of calls that make you wonder about fixed games, especially the overturned fumble recovery.

    How could they possible see irrefutable evidence to overturn the call on the field?

  13. Richardson is getting hit right after he touches the ball. He had no holes to run through. Also, several of those carries came in clock killing mode. The Texans knew this and predictably tackled him for a loss on each one of those carries.

  14. To all the geniuses out there who were so certain that the Colts robbed the Browns when they acquired Trent Richardson, would you care for some fries with your crow?

  15. “But the second quarter review which gave the ball back to the Texans after return man Keshawn Martin fumbled seemed bizarre. They reversed the call on the field to say Colts wide receiver LaVon Brazill touched it, but any contact seemed imperceptible.”
    The replay showed the ball touching the Colt player’s hand while he was out of bounds. Pretty simple reversal! The ref confused people by saying it touched his foot.

  16. indyshepherd says:
    Nov 4, 2013 7:56 AM
    On Sunday night, Andrew Luck officially became an MVP candidate.
    Seriously? Colts barely beat a team missing four starters, using an un-drafted QB who’s coach just had a stroke.

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