The Texans Clinched A Playoff Berth Thanks To A Colts Drop On 4th And 1

The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts met on Saturday night in Indy with a rarity in the NFL, a true win or go home game in the final week of the regular season. While so many teams are dependent on other outcomes to determine their playoff scenarios, the two AFC South foes were both 9-7 and while they won’t know their seed until the end of Sunday, the winner of the game was assured a playoff spot and the loser was guaranteed to have their season end.

It was a tense, back-and-forth affair that saw Houston take control early with a touchdown on their first play of the game, but Gardner Minshew and the Colts battled back throughout the game, tying it at 17-17 in the fourth quarter. From there, Houston followed the lead of rookie sensation C.J. Stroud as he made a couple ridiculous throws under pressure on a late drive in the fourth quarter, getting the Texans into a goal-to-go situation to take the lead.

Devin Singletary would punch it in to push Houston ahead by six points, but a missed extra point led to some additional drama as the Colts could not only force overtime with a touchdown and extra point, but win it.

They quickly got into Houston territory on a Minshew pass to Josh Downs, and steadily worked the ball into the red zone with inside two minutes to play.

After Jonathan Taylor got stuffed on 3rd and 2, the Colts called timeout and dialed up what was a successful play design, working Tyler Goodson wide open out of the backfield, but Minshew’s pass was behind Goodson and the backup running back couldn’t haul it in for what would’ve been a first down (and, if it’d been in front of him, maybe more).

The drop led to distraught fans in Indy, who couldn’t believe that was how their season ended, particularly with Taylor on the sideline for the biggest play of the season and a third-stringer with no catches or rush attempts on the night in the game.

That point will undoubtedly be raised in Shane Steichen’s postgame presser, as to why Goodson was the choice of back, although it should be said it was certainly not entirely on him as Minshew’s pass wasn’t on target. It’s a gutwrenching way to lose for the Colts, who forced a three-and-out by the Texans on the ensuing possession, but Houston wisely just worked clock and ran out of the back of the end zone for a purposeful safety on the ensuing punt attempt with one second on the clock. The Colts never got far trying for a miracle pitchy pitchy woo woo, and Houston was able to celebrate an improbable playoff berth in the first year with DeMeco Ryans as coach.