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Dissecting Colts' 4th-Down Play That Ended Season vs. Texans

What happened on the Indianapolis Colts' fourth-down play that resulted in their 2023 season coming to an end?

With under two minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Indianapolis Colts faced a fourth-and-one from the Houston Texans' 15-yard line.

The Colts trailed the Texans 23-17. The Colts were looking to continue their drive or even get into the end zone to take the lead in this win-and-in battle. It had been a dogfight up to this point between the AFC South rivals.

The ball was snapped with 1:06 left on the clock. Colts' quarterback Gardner Minshew dropped back and swung the ball out to running back Tyler Goodson, who was open in the flat and had room to run. But Goodson could not corral the throw, and the pass fell incomplete. And with the incompletion went any hopes the Colts had of making it to the playoffs.

The Colts fell to the Texans 23-19 as Houston punched their ticket to the postseason. The Colts, on the other hand, were sent home with their tail between their legs. While Indy accomplished much more than anyone thought they would this season, the loss still stings.

“Obviously extremely disappointed by the way things ended there," head coach Shane Steichen said after the game. "Proud of our guys, the way they fought. The fans, they came out and they showed up for us and obviously wanting to get a win for our fans as well. But, just disappointed the way it ended. Again, extremely proud of the way our guys fought all year.”

Many factors determine the outcome of a game, but the focus will be on the missed fourth-down attempt that would have extended the game and possibly the Colts' season. Let's look at the decision, the execution, and what's next for the Colts.

Indianapolis Colts running back Tyler Goodson (31) lies on the turf after missing a catch on fourth down Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024, during a game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) runs the ball on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024, during a game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

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