NFL Nation: 2013 Week 15 HOU at IND Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Houston Texans

December, 15, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- A few thoughts on the Houston Texans' 25-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts:

What it means: Despite changes to the head coach, special-teams coordinator and the structure of practice, as well as the addition of Big 12 officials during the week, nothing changed. The Texans remained winless in Indianapolis, 0-for-12, and strengthened their case for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Every phase of the game struggled. Houston's defense played well late, but it was not in time to change things for the Texans given how their offense was playing.

Stock watch: Both Case Keenum and head coach Wade Phillips' stocks took a hit on Sunday. Before Sunday's game, the Texans had set an NFL record with seven consecutive games lost by seven or fewer points. This one was never that close. It was the Texans' first blowout loss since an Oct. 13 loss to the St. Louis Rams that ushered in the Keenum era. The Colts led 20-3 at halftime, and the Keenum-led offense didn't notch a first down in the third quarter. The Texans' fourth-quarter numbers were slightly better, especially on a late drive that ended just before the two-minute warning. But even that didn't lead to points.

Penalties again: The Texans set a franchise record with 14 penalties for 177 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14. They quickly set out to match that feat against the Colts. The difference between this week's and last week's penalties is that last week the Texans might have won had it not been for penalties. This week's penalties, while still costly, can't be blamed for the loss.

What's next? The Texans face the Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos in Houston. Manning is coming off a loss and a lot of time to prepare with playoff positioning at stake.

Rapid Reaction: Indianapolis Colts

December, 15, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- A few thoughts on the Indianapolis Colts' 25-3 victory over the Houston Texans:

What it means: The Colts didn't wait until the second half to get going offensively. They started on their first offensive series of the game. The Colts mixed up the run with the pass to go 80 yards on 11 plays on their opening drive. The drive ended with quarterback Andrew Luck finding receiver Griff Whalen for a 14-yard touchdown. That was the first time the Colts scored a touchdown in the first quarter since doing it against Denver on Oct. 20. Slow starts have been a problem the past seven weeks for the Colts, but they went into the half with a 20-3 lead. They were 5-of-8 on third down in the first half after going 0-for-6 in the first half against Cincinnati on Dec. 8. The one downside about the Colts on offense is that they started the game 5-for-5 on third down but failed to convert on their final 10 attempts.

Whalen steps up: Whalen has been an afterthought this season after having a strong training camp. He was elevated from the practice squad Saturday because of the injury to fellow receiver LaVon Brazill (foot). He took advantage of the opportunity. Whalen, a college teammate of Luck's at Stanford, caught four passes for 45 yards, returned three punts for 67 yards and a kickoff for 22 yards.

Being honored: Former Colts running backs Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk were inducted into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime. Dickerson rushed for 5,194 yards and 32 touchdowns during his five seasons with the Colts. He won the league's rushing title in 1988, when he gained 1,659 yards to go with 14 touchdowns. The Colts traded Dickerson to the Los Angeles Raiders following the 1991 season. Faulk rushed for 5,320 yards and 42 touchdowns to go with 297 receptions and 2,804 yards in his five seasons with the Colts. He was traded to the St. Louis Rams after the 1998 season because he thought he deserved a raise. Dickerson and Faulk join Robert Irsay, Bill Brooks, Chris Hinton, Ted Marchibroda, Jim Harbaugh, the 12th Man, Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James in the team's Ring of Honor.

Injuries: Colts guard Joe Reitz left the game in first half after being tested for a concussion. Starting running back Donald Brown sat out the second half with a stinger. He ran for 38 yards on five carries. Linebacker Daniel Adongo (hamstring) and safety Sergio Brown (groin) also left the game.

What's next: The Colts go on the road to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Colts and Chiefs have a chance to face each other in the playoffs in Indianapolis.



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