By CJ Carlson
The Indianapolis Colts lost out on a playoff berth on Saturday when they were defeated by the Houston Texans on Saturday Night. The loss hurt more because it feels like it could have been avoided if it weren’t for an odd coaching decision on their final drive of the game.
Let’s go to the beginning though. Running back Jonathan Taylor was the workhorse for this Colts offense throughout the entire game. Taylor broke a few big runs in the process, including a long touchdown run, and ended the night with 188 total rushing yards. A good chunk of those yards came on the final drive, with the Colts needing a touchdown to win the game. Taylor touched the ball on almost every single snap, rushing it nine times in total as they marched into the Texans territory. Then comes a fourth down and one.
The Colts took a timeout to think about their fourth down call and came out of the huddle with Jonathan Taylor on the sideline. For some odd reason, after riding him the entire game and the entire drive, they sat him down on the most important play of the game in exchange for Tyler Goodson.
The play felt designed to get Garnder Minshew to throw the ball awfully quickly to the flat, and he did just that. The pass went directly towards Goodson out of the backfield, looking like it would be an easy first-down conversion with nobody near him. Unfortunately, the ball wasn’t perfectly thrown, and Goodson dropped it to ice the game for Indianapolis.
The Indianapolis Colts Don’t Regret The Choice
Goodson only has a handful of receptions all season long, six of them to be exact, so he’s not a significantly better pass catcher than Taylor. It also feels odd to pull Taylor given that the play could have been (and was) their final play of the season. Wouldn’t you want your superstar player on the field?
Especially if that player ripped off nearly 200 yards rushing up to that point in the game. When talking to head coach Shane Steichen, he said, “I felt good about Goodson in that situation. He’s a pass catcher for us out in the backfield and that’s what we want.”
It wasn’t just on Goodson that he couldn’t haul what seemed to be an easy catch in to keep the game alive. Minshew took responsibility for making it harder than it needed to be. He said, “I’m equally responsible for not working as he is. We all have plays that we wish we could have back, because the last one doesn’t really make it that much more significant. I told him that I’d go back with him every time. I’d throw that ball every time.”
With the Colts eliminated from playoff contention, the Texans have punched their ticket to the postseason for the first time in a few years. Still, the Indianpaolis Colts had one hell of a season, and it’s certainly something to be proud of.