As an undrafted free agent who had to claw his way onto the Colts 53-man roster from the practice squad, running back Tyler Goodson knows better than most the importance of making the most of opportunities when they're given.
Unfortunately, during the Colts' Week 18 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday night, he had his biggest one of the season slip through his fingers.
With 1:03 left in the game, the Colts were facing fourth-and-1 at the Texans' 15-yard line. Trailing 23-17, a new set of downs would have given them another chance to hopefully get into the end zone and take the lead in the game's final seconds.
Despite Jonathan Taylor taking all of the snaps at running back during that drive, Goodson came into the game in his place for the ensuing fourth down play.
"We'd been repping that play all week, I knew that play was for me," Goodson said. "And when we called it, it was all about making a play. When that ball came to me, I happened to fail today."
Upon the ball being snapped, Goodson ran his route perfectly and found a soft spot in the Texans' defense that left him wide open. Seeing this, quarterback Gardner Minshew II quickly threw him the ball, but Goodson was unable to come away with the catch, leading to a turnover on downs.
"Shoot, had a good look. Kind of a pick play for Goody. Shoot, I mean, think it's just a tough play, man," Minshew said. "There's about a million of those, what ifs in that game. Wish I had put a better ball under him. Given us a better chance."
While it was clear that the team was disappointed with the incompletion, no player felt worse about it than Goodson.
"Honestly, I was just feeling like a failure," Goodson said. "I know I'm not a failure, I'm gonna just state that. I felt a lot of love from the teammates - everybody telling me to keep my head up. But me just being me, I'm always hard on myself and I knew I could have made that play and the play should have been made. So, I just gotta go back to the drawing board, just keep working on my craft and come back next year."
One of the first teammates to have his back was rookie wide receiver Josh Downs. Close with Goodson since their days at North Gwinnett High School, Downs told his friend to do his best to block out the outside noise.
"Just ignore the people that are gonna talk bull, nonsense," Downs said. "He's a great player. Comes with the game."
Following the game, Goodson went around the locker room dapping up and hugging his teammates as a way to express his appreciation for their acceptance of him this season.
"I just wanted to go around [and] appreciate the guys for accepting me, trusting me to be a part of this team and not only be a part of this team but be able to go out there and make plays," Goodson said. "Unfortunately, it didn't end how we wanted it to end, obviously that play didn't go the way that I wanted it to go. I wanted to make the play, but it's on to the next and we gotta come back better than ever."
Goodson initially joined the Colts on Sept. 12 when he signed with their practice squad. Earlier in the season, when Goodson was called up to the active roster, he'd primarily been used as a receiver out of the backfield. His role expanded in Week 15 when he rushed for a career-high 69 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers. On Dec. 19, he was officially signed to the team's 53-man roster.
"We all have plays we wish we could have back. Just because it's the last one, doesn't really make it that much more significant," Minshew said. "I told him, you know, I'd go back with him every time. I'd throw that ball every time. I have a ton of trust and faith in him and the player that he is. He steps in a tough role and delivered for us this year. You know, probably won us a game there. So man, really appreciate him and the player and the guy he is."
With the Colts' season over and the future uncertain, Goodson said he is going to do everything in his power to ensure the pain he's feeling after the game doesn't become a familiar thing.
"I never want that to happen again," Goodson said. "I work too hard to just drop the ball like that. I gotta accept that mistake at the end of the day, but I won't be in that position ever again, ever."