AFC South: 2010 Week 16 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Broncos 24, Texans 23

December, 26, 2010
Thoughts on the Texans’ loss to the Broncos in Denver.

What it means: The Texans are 5-10 and have lost eight of their past nine games.

Hard to believe, but true: The Texans, a team known for making big comebacks only to lose, jumped to a 17-0 halftime lead only to allow the Broncos to mount the comeback. Matt Schaub threw for 310 yards with a TD and a pick on a tipped ball, but Houston’s defense allowed rookie Tim Tebow to match him. Tebow threw for 308 yards with a TD and a pick, and he ran for the game-winning score.

What I liked: Filling in for Andre Johnson, out with his ankle injury, Jacoby Jones caught five passes for 115 yards. Eugene Wilson was listed in the official game book as not having played despite being in uniform. Troy Nolan probably isn’t the answer at free safety, but neither is Wilson.

What I didn’t like: The Broncos fumbled four times, but the Texans didn’t manage to take one away. Houston’s offense, the unit that needs to carry this team, converted only one of eight third downs. The chance at a late score to win it disappeared when Brian Dawkins tipped Schuab’s pass and SyQuan Thompson gathered it up.

What’s next: The Texans conclude their season by hosting Jacksonville. The Jaguars still have a shot at the AFC South crown, if they beat the Texans while the Titans win at Indianapolis.

Wrap-up: Colts 31, Raiders 26

December, 26, 2010
Thoughts on the Colts’ win the Raiders at Oakland Coliseum.

What it means: The Colts are 9-6 and will win the AFC South next week with a win against the Titans at home or a Jacksonville loss at Houston.

What I liked: I doubted if the Colts would be able to play quality run defense against a physical run team for a second week in a row, but they did. Oakland managed only 80 ground yards. The Colts might now qualify as a better run defense that we thought based on their work earlier in the season. They’re a better run team too -- they’ve rushed for more than 150 yards in consecutive games for the first time since 2006, according to CBS.

What I didn’t like: Special teams saw the Raiders' Jacoby Ford return the opening kickoff for a 99-yard touchdown. Also, Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski kicked three field goals of 45-yards or longer and Shane Lechler boomed his punts. That’s a path to holding an opponent without an offensive touchdown for more than 58 minutes and allowing it to stay in the game.

Injury watch: Joseph Addai returned to action after eight games out with a shoulder/neck injury. He took 12 carries 45 yards. But Dominic Rhodes got 17 carries and went 98 yards. Antoine Bethea was hurt late, but returned after just one play.

Brilliant: Peyton Manning's 27-yard naked bootleg got the Colts a big first down near the end that allowed them to run out the clock, but he slid short of a touchdown with a defender closing in on him to be safe.

Unconventional: Jim Caldwell hasn’t been icing kickers on field goals, he’s been icing them on onside kicks. For the second week in a row a late timeout washed away an onside attempt. Last week Tyjuan Hagler recovered the kick after the timeout and returned it for a touchdown. This week the Colts simply recovered the second kick.

What’s next: The Colts host the Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium in a game that could determine the AFC South winner and Indianapolis’ playoff fate. The only scenario where the Colts do not win the division is if they lose to the Titans and the Jaguars beat the Texans in Houston.

Wrap-up: Chiefs 34, Titans 14

December, 26, 2010
Thoughts on the Titans’ loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

What it means: At 6-9, the Titans are eliminated from playoff contention and will finish with a losing record.

What I didn’t like: The Titans did poorly against the Chiefs’ draws and screens as Jamaal Charles had 17 touches for a combined 117 rushing and receiving yards. They got killed by Dwayne Bowe, who took a third-and long conversion on an in-cut and went 75 yards for a touchdown while outrunning the entire Titans’ secondary. The Titans were just 3-for-12 on third down on offense and had the ball for just under 21 minutes.

What I liked: A big 52-yard touchdown connection with Kenny Britt for a touchdown that put Kerry Collins over 40,000 passing yards for his career. Five Collins-to-Jared Cook connections for 96 yards.

What I want to know: How do you manage one first down rushing all game? Can the Titans possibly defend defensive personnel who struggled yet again to get off the field, allowing nine conversions on 18 third downs and staying on the field for nearly 40 minutes?

What’s next: The Titans go to Indianapolis for their second game in four weeks against the Colts. They will have a chance to kill Indianapolis’ division title and playoff hopes.

Wrap-up: Redskins 20, Jaguars 17 OT

December, 26, 2010
Thoughts on the Jaguars’ overtime loss to the Redskins at EverBank Field.

What it means: The Jaguars fell to 8-7 but will have playoff life heading into Week 17. But they’ll have to beat Houston and have the Titans beat the Colts in order to get in.

What I didn’t like: Poor offensive production from the Jaguars all game. Against a patchwork defense, even without Maurice Jones-Drew, they needed to move the ball better and find more points. David Garrard threw high, missed Zach Miller early and found Carlos Rogers, whose interception return set up a touchdown drive. Josh Scobee hooked a 44-yard field goal that could have chopped into a 10-0 deficit. And Garrard’s interception under pressure deep in his own end was an unacceptably casual throw that set up Graham Gano’s game-winning field goal.

What I liked: The call and execution on Garrard’s 20-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw late in the fourth quarter that set up overtime. The overall showing from the receivers was good -- Mike Thomas was the Jaguars’ best playmaker with six catches for 96 yards and a score, Jason Hill converted a third-and-15 with a 37-yard reception and finished with four catches for 77 yards, and Mike Sims-Walker had a pretty catch and run for 31 yards on his lone target.

Things I want to know: How do you hold Washington to four-for-15 on third down and not win? Why don’t the Jaguars get away from bouncing punts when they can get in big trouble if the ball caroms off of one of their players? Why the penalties? Seven calls for 66 yards hurt and were a sign of a sloppy team executing poorly. How can you do that in such a crucial game?

What’s next: The Jaguars head to Houston for their season finale. It’s a rematch of the game Jacksonville won on a Hail Mary on Nov. 14. It still has the potential to get the Jaguars into the playoffs.