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Colts Film Breakdown: Sheard Seals Colts Victory In Houston

Posted Nov 6, 2017

Intro: Each week, Colts.com will take a look at a significant play from the previous week’s contest. This week’s installment examines outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard's game-sealing sack and forced fumble on the final play of the Colts' victory over the Texans on Sunday.

INDIANAPOLIS — This week's film breakdown looks at Jabaal Sheard's heroics to seal the Indianapolis Colts' first road victory — as well as their first win in AFC South Division play — of the season on the final play against the Houston Texans on Sunday at NRG Stadium.

Here's the All-22 development of Sheard's play:

PRE SNAP

It’s all come down to this: one final play that will determine a win or a loss for either side. After struggling on offense the entire afternoon, the Houston Texans finally were able to get a little run going, down 20-14 with 3:10 left and starting from their own 20-yard line. Seven plays later, quarterback Tom Savage — replacing an injured Deshaun Watson — had moved his team to the Indianapolis seven-yard line. But after three straight incomplete passes, the Texans faced fourth and two with two seconds left. If they score, they steal another victory from the Colts; if they can’t get into the end zone, Indy flies home with its first road victory, as well as its first AFC South Division win, of the season.

Houston comes out in an empty-set shotgun formation with five receivers. Wide receiver Bruce Ellington motions over to the right side, bringing along cornerback Nate Hairston with him and signifying man-to-man coverage, and putting three Texans receivers on the right, and two on the left. The Colts, meanwhile, counter with a 4-2-5 defensive look — four guys on the defensive line, two inside linebackers and five defensive backs. It’s about as obvious a passing situation as there is, outside of a “Hail Mary” play, so while it’s important to bring enough pressure up front, the goal is to have enough bodies available to knock down anything that comes their way near the end zone.

THE COVERAGE

The first thing to appreciate about this play from a Colts perspective is the initial coverage in the back end, which takes away all of Savage’s first reads. This becomes critical a few seconds later. Cornerback Pierre Desir and safety Darius Butler do a good job containing the Texans’ No. 1 wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, on the left side of the field; inside linebacker Jeremiah George takes care of running back Lamar Miller; inside linebacker Jon Bostic and safety Matthias Farley initially jam up tight end Stephen Anderson; Hairston does a good job on Ellington; and Rashaan Melvin takes care of Will Fuller V on the right side of the field.

THE SACK

Up front, the interior pass rush of Henry Anderson and Margus Hunt do a tremendous job of collapsing the pocket and giving Savage nowhere to step up and extend the play. Sheard, meanwhile, has an incredible one-on-one effort against eighth-year left tackle Chris Clark. His get-off on the snap is great, and then he shows off his hand combat skills by controlling Clark’s outside wrist, allowing him to win on the edge and get to the quarterback. From there, the rest is just instincts: Sheard secures the sack with his left arm and goes for the strip right his right, knocking the ball out of Savage’s hand just as he was thinking about throwing into double coverage to Hopkins in the back of the end zone. The pressure up front also prevented Savage from getting a chance to get a look at his tight end, Anderson, who is now running wide open across the front of the end zone to the quarterback’s right side. From there, all the Colts need to do is ensure they fall on the ball to end the game and get the win, which is what outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo is able to do.


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