September 26, 2003
Indy Races By Texans
by Ric Sweeney
For the second consecutive week, the Texans built, but were unable to hold an early lead, eventually losing to the Colts, 30-21, on Sunday. The loss drops Houston to 2-5 on the season.
After Indianapolis took a 3-0 lead on Mike Vanderjagt’s 31-yard field goal with :48 left in the first quarter, Houston scored 14 unanswered points on two rushing touchdowns from Domanick Davis, who zipped past the 100-yard barrier for the second week in row, finishing with 109 on the ground.
The first Double D score came after Brad Pyatt muffed a Chad Stanley punt, which Houston recovered at the Colt 28. Two plays later, Davis scampered in from 15 yards out behind Zach Wiegert and Moran Norris, and the Texans led, 7-3. After a three-and-out stop by the defense, David Carr returned from the trainer’s room and hit all five of his passes, culminating in a 1-yard touchdown throw to Billy Miller in the back of the end zone. And with 5:01 left in the half, Houston led, 14-3.
But then the wheels flew off.
Carr re-injured his ankle on the toss to Miller and would not return, thrusting Tony Banks, who was actually under center on Houston’s first touchdown drive, into full-time action. Unfortunately, the Colts’s starting quarterback, Peyton Manning, was healthy and heating up.
Seven plays later, Manning hit Marcus Pollard from a yard out and the Colts were back within four, 14-10, with 2:00 left in the half. The score was set up by a 37-yard strike to Marvin Harrison and a questionable 15-yard face mask penalty on Marcus Coleman. Manning and the Colts would be given the chance to take the lead moments later.
Despite three timeouts and offensive momentum, the Texans elected to sit on their slim lead and Davis made the decision even more costly when he and Banks slipped out of synch and fumbled a hand-off, which Montae Reagor recovered at Houston’s 23.
Another costly penalty (pass interference on Marlon McCree) moved Manning to the 1 where he hit Reggie Wayne to give the Colts a 17-14 halftime lead. And it didn’t take long for them to add to it.
On the second play of the second half, Manning took advantage of a dazed Aaron Glenn and hit Wayne on a 57-yard bomb. And in the span of just 2:49, the Texans went from leading 14-3 to trailing 24-14.
Trailing 27-14 after Vanderjagt’s 29-yard field goal, the Texans bounced back at the start of the fourth quarter thanks to a fake field goal in which Stanley tucked the snap and ran the option with kicker Kris Brown, rambling for 12 yards to the Indy 13. Two Colt penalties later, Davis bounced in behind Norris from 2 yards out, and the Texans were back in it, 27-21.
But the Colts responded with a 13-play drive that ended with a 22-yard field goal and drained 7:15 off the clock. Houston got the ball back with 5:12 remaining and… ran on first down. They then ran two ineffective, and unnecessary, underneath passes to Davis, moving five yards while sucking 1:25 off the clock.
Run Blocking There’s no question, Double D does his part – breaking tackles, keeping his legs and hips moving downfield, refusing to go down – but back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances is not the work of a lone man, and the beleaguered line deserves credit. Special mention to Zach Wiegert, who drove his man 10 yards downfield on Davis’ first TD.
Billy Miller’s Catch Great to see Carr’s favorite target from last year re-emerge and his wonderful, toe-dragging touchdown grab was a thing of beauty. Hopefully, he won’t return to whatever rock he’s been buried under this year.
Chad Stanley Stanley was a fixture in this space last year, namely because he was, consistently, Houston’s best offensive weapon. Fortunately, we haven’t heard much from him this year, but on Sunday, he was on, averaging 42 yards on five punts, three of which he stuck inside the 20. And his Turner Gill-like option on the fake field goal was a thing of beauty.
The Playcalling Down 11 with 5 minutes to go and you call a run? A run?! With Andre Johnson, Jabar Gaffney and Corey Bradford on your roster? Inconceivable. No idea who, exactly, is to blame but this is two weeks in a row in which a little urgency on offense may have been the difference in two games that were definitely winnable.
Secondary Concerns Up 14-3, Marcus Coleman (face mask) and Marlon McCree (pass interference) were both whistled for penalties on consecutive drives that helped Manning and the Colts take a 17-14 lead into the break. Corky was 6-of-7 for 68 yards and 2 TDs on the drives in question. He then burned Gleen for 57 yards to start the second half, turning the game’s momentum.
Jabari Holloway Holloway’s two penalties inside Colt territory threw the wheels off half-opening drives that each ended with punts on Indianapolis’ side of the field. Inexcusable.
Leading 14-10 with 1:50 left in the first half, ball on their own 36, Houston elected to sit on their lead and paid dearly for their conservative approach two plays later when Banks and Davis miffed a hand-off, turning the ball back over to Indianapolis at the Texan 23 with 1:04 remaning.
Manning took advantage, hitting Reggie Wayne to give the Colts the halftime lead, 17-14, a lead they would not relinquish.
Week 7 Review Domanick Davis shakes Idrees Bashir on his way to his second score of the day. Final Score Houston Texans 21 Indianapolis Colts 30 Lookin’ Good
Davis was obviously Sunday’s most productive Texan, but he was lookin’ good last week and his first half fumble (his fault, or not) was a turning point in the game. So Norris gets the nod for clearing holes on both of Davis’ TDs and for having two special teams tackles.
Oh, my eyes!
The Coaching Staff
Hard to believe this is the same staff that went for the win against Jacksonville. For the second consecutive week, playing not to lose leads to a loss.
2003 Schedule Date Opponent Result 08.09 Denver 12-20 08.15 at Dallas 6-34 08.23 San Diego 17-19 08.28 at Tampa Bay 3-34 Regular Season 09.07 at Miami 21-20 09.14 at New Orleans 10-31 09.21 Kansas City 14-42 09.28 Jacksonville 24-20 10.05 Bye — 10.12 at Tennessee 17-38 10.19 New York Jets 14-19 10.26 at Indianapolis 21-30 11.02 Carolina 14-10 11.09 at Cincinnati 27-34 11.16 at Buffalo 12-10 11.23 New England 20-23 11.30 Atlanta 17-13 12.07 at Jacksonville 0-27 12.14 at Tampa Bay 3-16 12.21 Tennessee 24-27 12.28 Indianapolis 17-20 Overall Record 5-11