Indianapolis Colts: Case Closed As Defense Stepped Up When it Counted

By Eric Smith
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

If you watched the first half of the Indianapolis Colts game against the Houston Texans and didn’t tune into the second half, then you would think I’m crazy to say the Colts’ defense stepped up huge. Many would judge this defensive performance by the first half when they gave Case Keenum, who was starting his second career NFL game, a game of his life.

Keenum hit wide-open receivers all half and had three touchdown passes in the half all to Andre Johnson. He led Houston to a 21-3 lead at the half.

Then came the halftime adjustments. I said all game that Keenum really wasn’t showing much. If you just listened to the NBC broadcast, you would have thought Keenum was Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. In reality, they set him up for failure. Indianapolis failed to execute on anything in the first half. They left too many receivers wide open and when they were covering Houston receivers, they failed to turn around and just pick off the pass.

That’s when everything changed. Indianapolis started defending Johnson by playing press coverage and bringing the heat. That led to a dominant second-half performance by the defense as they only allowed three points — a Randy Bullock 43-yard field goal with 4:31 left to play in the third quarter. That was all the scoring Houston had in the second half.

Indianapolis’ defense played hard and forced punts. That allowed Andrew Luck to lead them on an epic comeback on the offensive end. That’s why this defense will get overlooked, but I thought they played stout in the second half and helped lead this team to the comeback win.

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