The Colts rookies accounted for all three offensive touchdowns on Sunday afternoon as Indianapolis closed out the 2012 regular season with a 28-16 win over the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Here is a closer look at the three touchdown drives.
Fleener’s one-yard touchdown catch
The scene: 0-0, the Colts begin at their own 25-yard line following a 28-yard kick return by Deji Karim to begin the game.
The anatomy of the drive: Thirteen plays, for 75 yards in 7:09. It was perhaps the Colts finest opening drive of the season on Sunday that ate up nearly half of the opening frame.
Key play: With the Colts facing a third-and-three from the Houston 24-yard line, quarterback Andrew Luck went to one of his most reliable targets. Tight end Dwayne Allen hauled in the first down catch and took the reception all the way down to the four-yard line.
The score: The Colts lined up with all three tight ends in the game and linebacker Mario Harvey shifting to the left side of the line of scrimmage prior to the snap. Fleener, who was lined up to the left of offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, drifted into the end zone at the snap appearing to look for a potential block. The play-action fake to running back Vick Ballard was executed perfectly with Fleener wide open in the back of the end zone and Luck finding him. Fleener broke out Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ dance to celebrate his second career NFL touchdown.
Ballard’s one-yard touchdown run
The scene: Leading 7-6, the Colts took over at the Houston 39-yard line, following Vontae Davis’ first career interception at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The anatomy of the drive: Six plays, for 39 yards in 2:05. The drive included all 39 yards coming from Colts rookies.
Key play: On the second play of the drive, Ballard took a draw behind Castonzo and went 20 yards into the red zone. The draw has been a vital weapon in the Colts rushing attack all season long and Ballard’s run was his longest of the afternoon.
The score: On a first-and-goal from the one-yard line, the Colts come out in the same alignment that they lined up in during the game’s first touchdown. This time Ballard took the handoff and followed the blocks of Castzono, Harvey and Fleener into the end zone for his second career rushing touchdown.
Hilton’s 70-yard touchdown catch
The scene: Leading 21-16, the Colts take over at their own 43-yard line, following Shayne Graham missing a 52-yard field goal.
The anatomy of the drive: Three plays, for 57 yards in 1:51. The drive came after the Colts had just four total yards in the third quarter.
Key play: The key play came on the prior possession when the Texans marched down to the Indianapolis 27-yard line before facing a third-and-four. Schaub dropped back to pass and defensive end Lawrence Guy recorded his first career NFL sack when he took down the Houston quarterback for an eight-yard loss. The sack forced the long field goal attempt that went wide right.
The score: A holding penalty forced a third-and-23 for the Colts from their own 30-yard line. The Colts lined up in a four receiver set with Hilton in the left slot, to the right of Donnie Avery. Luck took the shotgun snap, looked to his right and a subtle pump fake forced Houston safety Quintin Demps to roam towards that side of the field. Luck quickly turned to his left and fired a perfect pass into Hilton’s arms and the speedster did the rest outrunning the Texans secondary for the Colts longest offensive play of the season.
Tags: Andrew Luck, anthony castonzo, Coby Fleener, donnie avery, dwayne allen, Mario Harvey, T.Y. Hilton, vick ballard
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