Outshot at the OK Corral

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September 18, 2006
Outshot at the OK Corral

by Bob Hulsey

Everything you need to know about the Texans-Colts "rivalry", we learned on the first six snaps. The kickoff return by Edell Shepherd was uneventful but, on the first offensive play, Houston quarterback David Carr was sacked by Robert Mathis before he even had a chance to roll out. On the next play, Carr fumbled the snap from Mike Flanagan which was recovered by Raheem Brock of the Colts.

After two short runs by Dominic Rhodes, Indy quarterback Peyton Manning found Brandon Stokely in the back right corner of the end zone behind a flailing Dunta Robinson for a touchdown just 2:05 into the game.

The rout was on.

The Texans tried in vain to keep up in a 43-24 loss that was not as close as the final score might imply. Indianapolis extended their franchise record to 9-0 against the Texans.

After the Stokely score, it took Manning six plays to reach paydirt on their next possession with rookie Joseph Addai of Sharpstown High romping the final 21 yards on a crossing pattern for the touchdown.

The teams traded long drives that ended in turnovers before Adam Vinatieri booted a 39-yard field goal with 6:06 to play in the second quarter that extended Indy’s lead to 17-0.

Carr completed five of seven short passes to march the Texans 55 yards, finishing with a 43-yard field goal by Kris Brown. Manning quickly brought the Colts back during the two-minute drill with a 43-yard Vinatieri field goal just before halftime to put Indianapolis ahead, 20-3. Indy had a touchdown throw to Reggie Wayne on the drive nullified by a holding call.

By then it was clear that only the Colts could stop the Colts. Manning had 215 yards passing for the half and finished with 400 yards and three touchdowns. He picked on an undermanned and undertalented secondary mericlessly, connecting with nine different receivers. Reggie Wayne (6-135) and Marvin Harrison (7-127) were his favorite targets. It’s telling that the top three tacklers for the Texans were members of the secondary and nickel back Dexter McCleon chipped in five more.

The second half was more like watching a cat toying with a mouse before killing it. You just knew the Colts could have quickly put Houston out of its misery if it had the inclination. Instead, Manning was content to develop the confidence of Rhodes and Addai while using his right arm to come to the rescue whenever it looked like a drive might stall. He handed off six times on the opening drive of the second half before finding backup receiver Bryan Fletcher wide open in the end zone for a 15-yard score. Later, Vinateiri added his third field goal of the day to push the lead to 30-3.

In the fourth quarter, the offenses simply traded touchdowns. Carr was first on a 33-yard catch and run by rookie Owen Daniels to complete an 80-yard drive. After the Colts answered with a two-yard touchdown run from Rhodes, Carr led the Texans on a 68-yard march that finished with a one-yard touchdown toss to Mark Bruener. The two touchdown catches by tight ends may have equaled the number Texans tight ends had caught in the four years under Dom Capers – or so it seems.

Following a three-yard touchdown run by Ran Carthon (the extra point was blocked), Carr worked his own two-minute drill, hitting Andre Johnson for a ten-yard score with :10 left to close it out.

Carr’s completion percentage (84.6%) would have looked even better had there not been drops by Johnson and newly-acquired runner Samkon Gado. But almost all the passes were outlets, slants and swings which ought to be completed most of the time. The touchdown toss to Daniels was about the only pass that looked like it flew more than 20 yards through the air.

After a terrible start, the offensive line hung tough but suffered injuries to Flanagan and rookie left tackle Charles Spencer. If either injury is serious, and it appears that Spencer’s will be, then the Texans may have to shuffle their line yet again – a problem Carr is all-too-familiar with.

The 0-2 Texans return to Houston next week for their second meeting ever with the Washington Redskins.

What Went Right?

Mario Williams Williams asked to be left at the end position this week and he showed greater penetration and consistency. No sacks yet, but he looked more like what the Texans saw as an overall number one choice than when he was moved all over the line.

Passing Accuracy Rag on David Carr all you want, but any head coach in the NFL will take a 22-for-26, 3 TD, 0 INT performance out of their quarterback. Sure, a lot of it came in "garbage time", but you can’t fault someone for finding open recievers and not throwing picks.

Lack of Quit Last year’s Texans might have stopped hustling in a blowout loss. This year’s team absorbed some bad breaks and kept after it.

What Went Wrong?

Bad Start Other than the Eagles’ game, the Texans’ offense has not looked in sync early. Against the better NFL teams, you can’t win coming from behind.

Ball Control Two lost fumbles in the first quarter played a key role in the defeat and two other fumbles by Carr could have been disasterous. Trying to minimize mistakes is part of Gary Kubiak’s strategy in building the offense. Turnovers kill as today’s game illustrated.

Safety Coverage C.C. Brown and Glenn Earl look so lost at times in the middle of the field but who can blame them when the Colts seem to have eight players running routes on every pass play?

Key Play Of The Game

Already behind 14-0, the Texans mounted a drive to the Colts’ 23 with hopes of getting back into the game when rookie Wali Lundy was stripped by Montae Reagor on a run to the left while falling to the turf. Reagor fell on the ball for a recovery. The turnover took what life was left in the Texans’ chances of starting a comeback.

Game 2 Recap Raheem Brock recovers one of David Carr’s fumbles. Final Score Houston Texans 24 Indianapolis Colts 43 Lookin’ Good

Ron Dayne and Sam Gado
The two newcomers at running back both appeared to be upgrades over Wali Lundy and Vernand Morency who worked most of the preseason. Ron Dayne (11-37) showed power running through the hole while Samkon Gado (3-36) reeled off a 27-yard gallop for the longest run of the day.

Oh, my eyes!

Peyton Manning
It’s bad enough watching Manning carve up the secondary on drive after drive, but you can’t escape him during commerical breaks either with the flurry of ads starring you-know-who pitching who-knows-what. For a change, can’t we see Ben Roethlisberger doing a Harley ad? Please???

2006 Schedule Date Opponent Result 08.12 Kansas City 24-14 08.19 St. Louis 27-20 08.27 at Denver 14-17 08.31 Tampa Bay 16-13 Regular Season 09.10 Philadelphia 10-24 09.17 at Indianapolis 24-43 09.24 Washington 15-31 10.01 Miami 17-15 10.08 Bye 10.15 at Dallas 6-34 10.22 Jacksonville 27-7 10.29 at Tennessee 22-28 11.05 at NY Giants 10-14 11.12 at Jacksonville 13-10 11.19 Buffalo 21-24 11.26 at NY Jets 11-26 12.03 at Oakland 23-14 12.10 Tennessee 20-26 12.17 at New England 7-40 12.24 Indianapolis 27-24 12.31 Cleveland 14-6   Overall Record 6-10