Moral Victory? Puh-lease.

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December 12, 2004
Moral Victory? Puh-lease. by Dave Sabo

The story all week was Peyton Manning and "The Record". With five touchdown passes, Colts quarterback, Peyton Manning, would break Dan Marino’s 20-year old record of 48 touchdown passes in a season.

All went according to script as the Colts intercepted David Carr on the Texans’ first possession and scored on a 3-yard toss from Manning to Marvin Harrison. After a short drive, the Texans punted and Peyton got the Colts into the endzone again with a 12-yard pass to Reggie Wayne.

While the curators in Canton began clearing space for a display commemorating Manning’s single-season touchdown record, Domanick Davis decided to flash some of the ability that had fans dreaming about 2000-yard seasons last summer. Additionally, the Texans defense decided they’d rather not become a footnote to history.

Early in the second quarter, the Texans drove 42 yards with Davis handling the ball on five of seven plays. The drive culminated with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Jonathan Wells. The defense stepped up, applying pressure on Manning and disrupting his rhythm. Both teams traded punts and the Texans went into halftime trailing just 14-7.

The Texans opened the second half by holding the Colts to a field goal on their opening drive. Houston stormed right back with 9-play, 74-yard drive punctuated by Davis’ team record sixth rushing touchdown of the season. Alas, it would be the Texans’ final score of the day. Breakdowns on the offensive line killed drive after drive, spoiling a yeoman effort by the defense, which continued to pressure Manning when it counted and held the Colts to a pair of field goals throughout the rest of the game.

While the Texans lost the game and failed to win a team-record sixth game for a second week, they did manage to salvage a bit of pride by holding Manning to two touchdown passes and forcing him to wait, at least, another week to break Marino’s record. With three touchdowns next week, Peyton will break the record at home against the Baltimore Ravens. Meanwhile, the Texans will travel to the Spaceship That Crash Landed on Historic Soldier Field to take on failed Pearl Jam cover band leader, Chad Hutchinson, and the Chicago Bears.

What Went Right?

Pass Rush When Manning was pressured, good things happened for the Texans. And the pressure, when applied, was brought by Dunta Robinson and Antwan Peek. Dunta recorded the first two sacks of his career and the first two-sack game by a Texan since ’02. Peek failed to record a sack, but harassed Manning all afternoon. How long can the coaches keep him off the field?

Man With a Plan While you may not agree with some of the playcalling, Capers deserves kudos for sticking with an effective running game despite falling behind by 14 points early. He’ll be questioned for not taking a shot deep to his team’s best offensive weapon, but that falls on the offensive lines lack of execution, not his game plan.

No Record for You Everyone was sure Peyton would at least tie the record in Houston. Midway through the third quarter, Manning and the Colts abandoned any thoughts of the record as it was all they could do to secure the win, the division crown and a playoff berth.

What Went Wrong?

Pass Blocking The Texans, for the most part, looked entirely unfamiliar with the concept. Surely, after witnessing the strafing the Colts secondary endured at the hands of That Other Guy That Played QB at Fresno State, Dom and the Texans staff planned on going deep, at least once, right? We’ll never know since Carr was forced to dump off or take the sack while Freeny and his boys spent the afternoon all up in his cage. Just an awful showing by the line.

Falling Behind Early As they have done so often this year, the Texans came out flat and fell behind immediately. With a little momentum, the Texans might have forced Indianapolis to play from behind. The Texans showed that Peyton can be rattled and put off his game to an extent. Get a lead and take him out of his comfort zone, and all bets are off.

A Record After All Well, he has to wait to surpass Marino, but Manning did break a record held by Johnny Unitas. With his two touchdown tosses, Manning has thrown for two or more TD’s in thirteen consecutive games.

Key Play Of The Game

Trailing by six with 3:34 to go in the game, the Texans had the Colts facing third and ten at their own 39. A stop forces a punt, and the Texans have just over three minutes to mount their winning drive. With Manning in the shotgun, Houston brought the house to crash the pocket. Peyton, however, read the blitz and beat it with a 14-yard laser to Wayne. First down, an eventual field goal, and the Colts escape with the win, and the division title.

Week 13 Dwight Freeney drops David Carr for one of his three sacks. Final Score Houston Texans 14 Indianapolis Colts 23 Lookin’ Good

Domanick Davis
Dom set personal and team records for yards rushing (128) and yards from scrimmage (201). For all intents and purposes, he was the Texans offense for the first two and a half quarters. Hopefully, this means his fumbling woes are behind him.

Oh, my eyes!

Seth Wand
I know the coaching staff said they saw a lot of potential in him, but he’s been awful stingy about showing the rest of us. Dwight Freeny absolutely abused him all afternoon. Never have I been so aware of his play as I was today, and when you’re an offensive lineman, that ain’t good.

2004 Schedule Date Opponent Result 08.14 Dallas 18-0 08.21 at Pittsburgh 3-38 08.27 at Denver 17-31 09.02 Tampa Bay 9-17 Regular Season 09.12 San Diego 20-27 09.19 at Detroit 16-28 09.26 at Kansas City 24-21 10.03 Oakland 30-17 10.10 Minnesota 28-34 10.17 at Tennessee 20-10 10.24 BYE — 10.31 Jacksonville 20-6 11.07 at Denver 13-31 11.14 at Indianapolis 14-49 11.21 Green Bay 13-16 11.28 Tennessee 31-21 12.05 at New York Jets 7-29 12.12 Indianapolis 14-23 12.19 at Chicago 24-5 12.26 at Jacksonville 21-0 01.02 Cleveland 14-22   Overall Record 7-9