INDIANAPOLIS -- You'll convert some and you'll fail on others.
That's been Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich's message to his players about his aggressive playcalling since he was hired last winter. On this Sunday, though, Reich's aggressive approach on fourth down in their own territory failed and ended up costing the Colts in their 37-34 overtime loss to the Houston Texans.
"I'll address it now: I'm not playing to tie," Reich said. "I'll do that 10 times out of 10. That's just the way it's got to roll."
The Colts, who had come back from a 28-10 second-half deficit, had the ball at fourth-and-4 from their own 43-yard line when quarterback Andrew Luck's throw landed at receiver Chester Rogers' feet, giving Houston a short field to work with to win the game.
Deshaun Watson completed a 24-yard pass to receiver DeAndre Hopkins one play later to put the Texans in position for a Ka'imi Fairbairn 37-yard field goal to win the game and send the Colts to their second straight loss.
"I think that's who we're going to be as a team; we're going to be aggressive," Reich said. "That's a mindset that we have. That's the only way to win in this league I think."
The only thing Reich second-guessed after the game was how he handled the situation. The coach sent the offense on the field first with the intention of trying to draw the Texans offside. The bluff didn't work, causing the Colts to call a timeout. There was a possibility of catching the Texans off-guard had the Colts snapped the ball prior to the timeout. Instead, Houston knew the Colts were going for it after the timeout.
"Whenever you lose you always go back and re-evaluate every play," Reich said. "In the perfect scenario, we don't call timeout, we just go for it the first time. There's no doubt that's the probably the best way to play it out. But that's not how it played out. That's on me."
Part of the reason the Colts took the timeout, according to Reich, was so that they could make sure they had the play. They were without Luck's two favorite targets in tight end Jack Doyle (hip) and receiver T.Y. Hilton, who left in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. The throw to Rogers is one that would have been intended for Hilton if he had still been in the game.
"Hurt me," Hilton said. "Supposed to have been a ball for me. Wanted to be out there with my team. Hurt me. Great playcall. I liked it all. Frank has trust in us, and I have trust in him. We're playing for a win. That's what you play for."
Hilton's comments were echoed inside the Colts locker room after the game. There was no questioning Reich's decision -- just support.
"Love it. Love it," Luck said. "We're not going to play for a tie, and I think everybody in that locker room loves that. I love that. Now we have to execute. I have to throw a better ball. We all know where we have to improve. That attitude, we can get behind that."