AFC South: 2011 Week 14 wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Ravens 24, Colts 10

December, 11, 2011
Thoughts on the Indianapolis Colts' 24-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and M&T Bank Stadium:

What it means: The Colts forge on toward 0-16 with their 13th loss of the season, never really threatening the Ravens. A week after Dan Orlovsky provided some encouragement in his work bringing the Colts back from a large deficit in New England, he was terrible. He threw 20 incomplete passes, connecting on 17 for 136 yards, while taking four sacks and throwing an interception. He hit Jacob Tamme for a touchdown on the last play of the game, fumbled three times (though Indy recovered them all), hit on nothing longer than 13 yards and posted a 53.4 passer rating. The Colts have made it through their toughest stretch of schedule and could face rookie quarterbacks in their next three games.

What I didn’t like: How many tackles did the Colts miss on Ray Rice alone? A lot. Also, how does a team get beat by a throw back across the middle like the one Joe Flacco found Dennis Pitta on for a 7-yard touchdown?

A bit of credit: The Colts went for it on fourth down four times and they converted three times. It makes sense when there is nothing to lose. It’s also made necessary when you go two-for-14 on third down.

Illustrating ugliness: The Colts had 12 first downs to the Ravens’ 24. The Colts averaged 2.9 yards per pass play. The Colts held the ball for only 23 minutes and 52 seconds. Seven of the Colts’ 11 possessions were four plays or fewer.

What’s next: The Colts host the Titans on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Tennessee won the first matchup 27-10 on Oct. 30 in Nashville.

Wrap-up: Texans 20, Bengals 19

December, 11, 2011
Thoughts on the Texans’ 20-19 win over the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium:

What it means: The first division title, the first playoff berth and the first home playoff game for a franchise that debuted in 2002. It also should mean long-term job security for Gary Kubiak and his staff. A team that’s shown great resilience all season long fought back and won on the final play from scrimmage, as rookie quarterback T.J. Yates hit Kevin Walter over the middle for a touchdown with two seconds left. That got the Texans to 10-3. They had to wait a little while, until Jake Locker was sacked on the last play of the game between the Titans and Saints, to know Tennessee lost and the division crown belonged to Houston.

What I liked: Yates threw a bad pick to Reggie Nelson. Yates, Ben Tate and Arian Foster each lost a fumble. And the Texans gave up a 14-yard gain on a third-and-15 shovel pass (although the Bengals then false-started on the fourth down). The Texans were down nine points in the third quarter. But even after all that, as has become their MO, there was no panic. They got a giant forced fumble from Connor Barwin that was recovered by Brooks Reed, a fantastic 17-yard run from Yates on a third-and-15 and a favorable pass interference call against Adam Jones during the comeback.

Rookie quarterback watch: The Texans said they wouldn’t be scaling back for Yates, and they didn’t -- he threw 44 passes, connecting on 26 for 300 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Yates got the win and posted an 85.4 passer rating, outperforming Cincinnati’s rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, who’s been a starter since the season began and had 189 yards and one TD. Yates absorbed five sacks along the way and was helped by 144 rushing yards.

What I want to know: What exactly Kubiak told this team after clinching the division and how he intends to pull everyone back to Earth after 24 hours pass.

What’s next: The Texans host the Carolina Panthers at Reliant Stadium on Sunday, then have a quick turnaround for a game against the Colts in Indianapolis on Thursday Night Football Dec. 22.