Colts - Texans: Three Big Plays

Jess Huffman breaks down the game tape of three significant plays from last Sunday's matchup.

Let's be honest, who doesn't want to be the Colts right now?

The Colts are John Travolta in "Staying Alive." They've got all the right moves. They're like Tom Selleck in "Magnum P.I.," in the heat of their prime. They're Chuck Norris in "Walker: Texas Ranger," kicking bums and taking names.

If the Colts were a 1980's action star, they'd be "Rambo," "Rocky," and "Commando" rolled into one. They're the talk of the town, the cool kid on the block and the envy of the league.

As the Colts cruised past the Texans, 31-17, Sunday, they continued they're cool ways. Although it wasn't the prettiest game in the world, the Colts were never seriously threatened and remained composed throughout the contest. Just like every source of envy, Indianapolis never showed fear and displayed confidence throughout.

Here are a few of my favorite plays from week 10. Hope you think they're as cool as I do.

A little play action
It didn't take long for the Colts to get moving. They were forced to punt on their first drive, but they picked up the pace on their second drive, running nearly every play to perfection.

Edgerrin James was being Edgerrin James – breaking tackles and getting first downs. Peyton Manning was being Peyton Manning – making precise passes and picking on defenses. On 10 plays, the Colts marched 70 yards down the field in 4:55.

The most impressive of plays came on the touchdown score.

With 4:36 remaining in the first quarter, Peyton Manning set under center with James as the single back. Marvin Harrison was out wide along the right sideline, while Brandon Stokley and Reggie Wayne were bunched along the left sideline. Dallas Clark was on the right end of the offensive line, as the Colts faced first-and-10 from the Houston 14-yard line.

Here it is:

Manning sets, screaming, "Buffalo, tornado – buffalo."


"Huh, huh, hike."

Manning turns back to Edge, as Stokley, Wayne and Harrison run deep routes. In the 3-4 defensive formation, the Houston trio of linebackers smell run. They charge for James as he appears to be taking the handoff.

In the meantime, Clark removes himself from the offensive line, gives way to the pass rush and turns to look for a pass. Manning is getting all the pressure from the run threat, while Wayne, Stokley and Harrison have the secondary deep. Clark – well, he's just waiting.

Manning takes the easy road.

Flipping to Clark, the tight end has a wide open field in front of him. Marvin Harrison makes a key block near the end zone, and the Colts are up 7-0.

It was Clark's second touchdown of the season, and the Colts were cruising.

It's too easy
The Colts offense is really coming together. Granted, they haven't been tested in recent weeks. I mean, the Patriots and Texans don't have the most impressive defensive units this season, but I still have to give my guys some credit.

For one thing, obviously, they're putting up more points. That's the most important thing. But more particularly, they are getting more players involved.

Edge is getting more touches, resulting in more 100-yard performances. The emergence of Wayne as a premier target is opening up Harrison out wide, while Clark's utility role in the slot is presenting more opportunities for Stokley. There are just too many weapons -- and not enough defenders. Not to mention the Indianapolis offensive line refuses to let anyone touch Manning.

It is a defensive coordinators nightmare -- a potent arsenal of weaponry with a brilliant field general.

In the second quarter Sunday, Indianapolis really started to humiliate, orchestrating a nine-play, 71 yard with ease. Already up 14-0 with 5:43 remaining in the second quarter, the Colts wanted more. On third-and-eight, from the Houston 21-yard line, Manning set in the shotgun with James on his left hip. Wayne was out wide, along the left sideline, while Stokley and Harrison were bunched along the right. Clark was set on the right end of the offensive line.

"Machine gun, Harbaugh, Hitchcock, hike."

Manning takes the snap, while Edge splits running a short route toward the left sideline, drawing single coverage from the linebackers. Wayne runs a deep route in single coverage, while Clark takes off straight up the field, sucking in linebacker Morlon Greenwood to cover, leaving the middle of the field is open. From the right sideline, Harrison runs a deep route, while Stokley comes across to the middle of the field.

Manning recognizes Stokely is open, hits him in the chest and Stokley runs a sprint through the gut of the field. With Wayne and Harrison occupying the outside of the defensive backfield, Clark stayed in the middle, clearing the lane. He put a key block on Greenwood and safety Marcus Coleman, and Stokley had just enough room to slip in the end zone.

It was almost too easy, or at least it looked that way. The Colts weapons spread out the defense, Manning hit the open man and the Colts were up 21-0.

There was still more than half a football game to be played, but it was apparent the game was over.

Not so fast my friend
OK. So it wasn't over.

Just when you think you can let up a little bit, the Texans come back and close the gap, 21-14.

At this point, you're thinking, ‘There's not really a chance. Is there?'

Nope. Sorry Texans fans, there's not. Your team is just not that good, and the Colts are really, really good. It's that simple.

From their own 25-yard line, the Colts started rolling again, cruising down 65 yards in three plays. Ouch.

On first-and-10 with 8:20 remaining, Manning set in the single back formation with James at tailback. Wayne was out wide, along the left sideline, while Stokley and Harrison were bunched along the right sideline. I found this play particularly fun to watch.

Manning takes the snap with James back to block. While Wayne runs his route to the left, Manning opens up his left shoulder, drawing the defense. Harrison freezes on line of scrimmage, while Stokley runs a route with cornerback Lewis Simmons covering him. Manning is shifted toward Wayne, and he pumps fakes. As the defense bites, stutter stepping forward, Stokley runs a slant away from Simmons and in front of Coleman. Sensing the hesitation opening the hole in the defense, Manning hits Stokley for a 23-yard pass.

It was pretty, taking Indianapolis all the way to the 48-yard line. The Colts scored two plays later on an almost identical play. Manning had weapons to the left, pump-faked, the defense bit and he hit Harrison deep. It was a 30-yard touchdown.

The Colts never looked back.

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