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4 instant reactions to the Indianapolis Colts’ loss to Houston in season finale

The Indianapolis Colts squared off at home against Houston in the regular season finale. Both teams would greatly benefit from losing this game. However, somebody has to win. Well, with these two teams, that’s not necessarily true. While many fans were wanting and hoping the Colts would lose to improve the team’s draft position, the players and coaches are still trying to win.

To the delight of the viewers of this game, both teams played a lot of their stars. Considering both franchises have nothing to play for, the veterans and stars could have easily sat this one out. Regardless, here are the final Colts’ instant reactions for this season.

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Indianapolis Colts lowlights continue

NFL: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

This game got off to a terrible, or great, start depending on your view of the team. Then the Colts picked things up. On the first Colts’ kickoff return opportunity, they fumbled the ball for Houston to recover. And before the Colts’ offense could even take the field, they were already down 10 points.

Then, when the offense finally got the football, they would march down the field and score on their opening drive for only the second time this season. This highlights just how terrible this offense has been. With how much talent the scoring attack features, the Colts should have had more success on their first possession this season.

A couple of other low-light notes in this game — This marks the 16th time in the last 19 games that the Colts trailed at halftime. And considering this happened against Houston again in Week 1, you would hope that this team would have come out with a little more fight to make sure history didn’t repeat itself. 

One final awful stat that repeated itself in this game — This marked the 13th game where the Colts had multiple turnovers. Only four times did this team have one or fewer turnovers this season. Ball security is something that the new coaching staff will need to address.

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Zack Moss has his best game of the season

NFL: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s bold predictions doubled down on the belief that Zack Moss would have a great game. And this time, that prediction came to fruition. He easily had the best performance of his NFL career.

  • 18 carries, 114 yards, 6.3 YPC, 1 touchdown, 3 catches on 3 targets, 7 yards

Moss easily ran through this 32nd-ranked Houston run defense. He had two impressive runs in the game. The first was an electric 34-yard scampber. And the second was his touchdown score. Houston thought they had him stopped, but Moss kept his legs moving and would not be denied his ninth career NFL touchdown.

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Parris Campbell ends his best season on a high note

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Parris Campbell has battled injuries for his entire career, but he’s shown he can play at the NFL level in limited action. Campbell looks like a talent that opposing defenses need to game plan for. He is the team’s most explosive wide receiver, providing the deep threat ability the Colts desprately need.

  • One rush, 26 yards, 6 catches on 9 targets for 42 yards, 7.0 YPC

He will finish this season with 623 receiving yards, close to doubling his career total prior to this season. Campbell is set to become a free agent. The Colts will have a decision to make on whether they want to offer him a contract or let Campbell sign with another team. 

Spotrac lists Campbell’s market value at $2.5 million a year. With what he’s shown this season and the fact the Colts aren’t deep at wide receiver, it would be smart for the team to offer him a contract. Of course, Campbell may want out of Indy altogether or ask for more than the team is willing to pay.

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Sam Ehlinger’s inexperience costs the Colts in the end

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Sam Ehlinger made his third career start in the NFL. He played well but not well enough to win the game. Ultimately, his inexperience is what hurt the Colts this week

  • 23-of-35, 209 yards, 6.0 YPA, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions

His first interception, a pick-six, is a play that is common for young quarterbacks. Not the pick-six exactly, but more a product of him trying to do too much. He was in the process of avoiding a sack and tried to make a play. A veteran quarterback would have taken the sack, knowing it’s better than possibly turning the ball over, but not Ehlinger.

His second interception came off a tipped pass. Ehlinger did all that he could to help this team win the game, yet it wasn’t enough.

It’s very possible that this team, under the leadership of general manager Chris Ballard, decides that Ehlinger is a quarterback the team can win with. This could lead to him deciding to maximize their top-five draft pick by trading back. With a young roster gaining experience, if the team is able to get better production out of the offensive line while adding more talent, there’s a chance for a quick turnaround. 

For now, the Colts put an end to a miserable season, finishing with a 4-12-1 overall record, a 2-6 mark at home, and 1-3-1 in the AFC South. Now, the organization will turn all of its attention to the upcoming draft. They will also need to find an answer to their head coach position and possibly a new GM.

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