I do not know how much of a Christmas bonus the referees from the Thursday night match-up between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts received. However much it was, Jim Irsay must have thrown in a little extra “bonus” to earn the favor of the referees in last night’s game. Otherwise, how would any referee call some of the those absolutely useless non-calls that cost the Texans the game? I understand that Colts WR Reggie Wayne made a great catch over CB Kareem “Don’t Look Back” Jackson but the opportunity would never have been there if not for some highly questionable penalties against the Texans.
Watching the game last night was not good for my blood pressure. Each time the whistle blew during a play I was ready for a penalty against the Texans. By the end of the game the Texans had managed to accumulate 11 penalties for 85 yards. However, it was the roughing the passer call with 35 seconds left in the game that hurt the most.
Rookie DE J.J. Watt, who was having a hell of a game by the way, had shed his blocker and was zeroing in on Colts QB Dan Orlovsky. Watt tripped and went to pull Orlovsky down when OLB Connor Barwin was pushed atop Watt who, consequently, hit Orlovsky below the knees. The ensuing penalty was a “roughing the passer” call which gave the Colts an automatic first down.
While I understand that the NFL is trying to protect its top money-makers (because let’s face it, that is what they are most concerned about) these penalties that are called on incidental contact are becoming ridiculous. By the end of the game Texans players were throwing their hands into the air – literally – to indicate that they were not laying on hand on Orlovsky.
The other penalty in this game that was highly questionable was also against Watt. Watt was going to take down Orlovsky, in the second quarter, with a perfectly legal tackle around the waist. Orlovsky, however, decided that it was wise to drop his head down to Watt’s level and take a blow to the head. A yellow flag flew immediately and Watt was called for “unnecessary roughness, helmet to helmet contact”. I will let you watch the evidence for yourself and determine, for your self, if this was a majorly bad call.
RB Ben Tate also looked as if he needed some inspiration last night. On his six rushes he managed to accumulate one negative yard. That is right, he managed to go backwards one yard over six plays – pathetic! He was not hitting the gaps with his usual power and did not bounce the ball to the outside edge at all. His plays became so predictable that the Colts simply stacked the box every time he was in on a play because they knew that he was simply going to try to run the ball up the gut.
As far as the wide receivers are concerned, we need help! Jacoby Jones is NOT a starting wide receiver. He has great break-away speed but hardly ever uses it. Even if he does manage to separate from his protection, though, his hands are more like cinder blocks than baseball gloves. He has had passes thrown into his numbers, over his shoulder, and right into his hands only to watch them bounce off of him and fall harmlessly to the ground.
Perhaps the most telling sign of the offense’s mediocrity, though, is Coach Gary Kubiak’s play-calling. There were 31 rushing plays called as opposed to the 16 pass plays. Of the 16 pass plays T.J. Yates completed 13 of those passes for an 81% completion percentage. Now, call me crazy but if my quarterback is completing that many of his passes then I am going to mix things up a little more and try to spread the ball around.
To watch the Texans go 1 for 10 on third down conversions was almost sickening. A large part of that, however, is due to the run calls that came in on almost every third down attempt. There were times when it would be third and seven or eight and still the run was being implemented – that is terrible play-calling!
Overall, last night’s game was one giant, sloppy mess of bad play-calling, uninspired offense, and ridiculous penalties. The Texans remain win-less in Indianapolis and become the only 10-4 team to ever lose to a one-win team. For all of this I hope that the Colts lose their first round pick, it is time that they ran out of Andrew “Luck”!
Tags: Andrew Luck Arian Foster Ben Tate Colts Connor Barwin Dan Orlovsky Eric Winston Gary Kubiak Houston Indianapolis Indianapolis Colts J.J. Watt Jacoby Jones Jim Irsay Kareem Jackson Reggie Wayne T.J. Yates Texans