Thu Oct 17 5:51pm ET
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) scores a touchdown next to Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Damien Wilson (54) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) runs past a tackle attempt by Kansas City Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill (22) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) celebrates his touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) is upended by Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Houston Texans running back Carlos Hyde (23) is held back by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward (35) and cornerback Kendall Fuller, rear, during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich heads off the field after the Colts defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 19-13 in sn NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich prefers taking the aggressive approach.
His coaching staff understands it. His players respect it. And opponents know they must be prepared to confront it.
Sometimes, the fourth-down gambles pay off - as they did earlier this season at Tennessee and Kansas City. Sometimes, they backfire. Either way, though, Reich acknowledges he's willing to take the same risky call against Houston on Sunday as he did in last year's home overtime loss to the Texans.
''Those decisions always come down to what's best for the team in the moment,'' Reich said. ''A lot of things go into those decisions, but primarily like you said, it's a belief in the players. Yes, we think situationally it calls for it, but it really stems from a belief that we'll get it done.''
Nobody has been better playing the odds this season than Reich.
Indy has converted all seven fourth-down attempts, the gutsiest call coming from its 35-yard line with less than 2+ minutes to go in a two-point game at Tennessee.
And when things don't go right, such as the incompletion on fourth-and-4 from the Indy 43 with 24 seconds left in overtime against Houston, Reich still seems to hit the jackpot. While the Colts lost that game, he won over the locker room with a season-changing moment.
Indy has won 13 of its 19 games since then including twice at Houston late last season.
''Frank made the call he felt was best for his team and that's in my opinion what Frank does well,'' coach Bill O'Brien said after the Texans converted a key fourth down at Kansas City last week. ''He's an aggressive coach. You know sometimes you have to do in your mind what's best for your team from your preparation and where you are in the game. Those are things that Frank does very well.''
It keeps everyone on their toes - and the bye week may only give Reich more time to contemplate how to play it Sunday.
''I think that mentality is what carries beyond that one play,'' he said. ''I think that's an example of what happened last year. Yeah, that was one play, but it was the belief and conviction in our players I think that carries longer than the one play.''
Four-time Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton has thrived against the Texans over the years.
In 15 games, the Colts receiver has 78 receptions, 1,506 yards and nine touchdowns. Late last season, with an ankle injury, he still managed to haul in 11 catches for 260 yards in the games at Houston.
The Texans know just tough Hilton can be.
''He's fast, great route runner, can come in and out of his breaks, understands how to attack leverage, has great experience,'' O'Brien said. ''He's seen all of the coverages there are, so he knows how to get open. He's got good chemistry with Jacoby and I think he's targeted quite a bit. It's a challenge.''
HOLDING THE LINE
The Colts went from worst in sacks allowed in 2017 to first last season. Now Houston is trying to follow a similar blueprint.
While Jacoby Brissett has gone down just six times, tied for the second fewest in the league, the Texans have made a dramatic turnaround after giving up 18 sacks during the first four weeks.
Neither Brissett nor Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson have been sacked in their past two games.
''They're doing a heck of a job of playing as a unit,'' Watson said. ''Everyone is up there with the right mindset, positive attitude and always playing the next play. So, those guys up there have been doing a heck of a job.''
The Colts, meanwhile, have only allowed one sack in their past five October games.
Running back Carlos Hyde fit exactly what the Texans wanted when they acquired him from Kansas City on Aug. 31 - after losing Lamar Miller to a season-ending knee injury.
Hyde has been the key to the league's No. 5 rushing attack (139.8 yards) and ran for a season-high 116 yards and one touchdown last weekend.
He's 10th in the NFL with 426 yards rushing and has three touchdowns this season.
HOME, SWEET, HOME
After Indy won 13 straight home games to open the series, Houston has taken three of past four at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts' lone victory during this current run came in the 2017 season finale, with Brissett closing out the season as the starter. Indy also had a seven-game home winning streak snapped by Oakland on Sept. 29.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson was benched by head coach Kliff Kingsbury in the Week 10 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in favor of RB Kenyan Drake. Johnson lost a fumble in the third quarter and Kingsbury like what he saw from Drake. 'We just felt like with Drake, needed to get something going and kept him rolling,' Kingsbury said Monday, Nov. 11. 'The last couple weeks, practices, games (he) has brought a little pop to the run game, the pass game, and we felt like he was the guy to try and close the game out with.'
Fantasy Spin: Kingsbury added that the decision was his and had nothing to do with Johnson's recent rash of injuries. He said he'll figure out the best role for both Johnson and Drake over the next few weeks. It's bad news for Johnson's fantasy owners, as he already has struggled to live up to his early-round draft status.
Arizona Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds (hamstring) has missed the past two games, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he is uncertain for Week 11 against the San Francisco 49ers. 'I would expect him hopefully in the near future,' Kingsbury said.
Fantasy Spin: Edmonds will return to the crowded backfield with Kenyan Drake and David Johnson both considered the top two backs. He had his chance to shine in New York when Johnson was hurt and Drake not yet on the team, but he was injured and will now return to a logjam with minimal fantasy appeal.
Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers WR Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) will not return for the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks due to an injury suffered to his ribs in the first half.
Fantasy Spin: With Sanders on the shelf it will be Kendrick Bourne, Dante Pettis and Deebo Samuel expected to pick up the slack in the pass game among the tight ends, especially with leading receiver TE George Kittle also inactive.
San Francisco 49ers DT D.J. Jones (groin) has been ruled out for the rest of the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, Nov. 11 after suffering a groin injury in the first half.
Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of the Week 10 game against the San Francisco 49ers and he will not return.
San Francisco 49ers WR Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) suffered an apparent injury to his right rib cage area in the first half of the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks. He pulled up on a route and was seen grabbing at the area during the telecast before leaving for the locker room. Sanders is questionable to return.
Fantasy Spin: It's a shame for Sanders and the 49ers, who just acquired him. Kendrick Bourne and Deebo Samuel should see more targets among the wideouts.
San Francisco 49ers DT D.J. Jones (groin) left the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks in the first half due to a groin injury and he is questionable to return.
Kansas City Chiefs DE Emmanuel Ogbah (pectoral) is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery this week to repair a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in Week 10, according to a source.
Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson (calf) is considered day-to-day because of the calf injury he suffered in Week 10.
Los Angeles Rams WR Brandin Cooks (concussion) will not be able to play in the Week 11 game.
Fantasy Spin: Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds will continue to be the top three receivers for the Rams. Woods and Kupp are must-start options in fantasy leagues, but Reynolds could be benched if fantasy players have better options available.
Minnesota Vikings CB Trae Waynes (ankle) is expected to be available for the Week 11 game after he was inactive for Week 10.
Free-agent DTs Carl Davis (Colts), David Parry (Patriots) and Justin Ellis (Raiders) worked out for the Green Bay Packers Monday, Nov. 11.
Free-agent QB Tanner Lee (Jaguars), WR JJ Nelson (Raiders), OG Larry Allen Jr. (Chargers), PK Elliott Fry (Ravens) and P Kaare Vedvik (Jets) were among the players that worked out for the New York Giants Monday, Nov. 11.
Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper (knee) has been diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament and will miss some time. He is scheduled to receive a second opinion on the injury to determine how much time he will miss.
Fantasy Spin: Hooper has been one of the better tight ends in the NFL this season, so fantasy players should monitor the situation to see when he may be able to return. Luke Stocker and Jaeden Graham will see more playing time, but neither players should be fantasy options.
Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (foot) may be sidelined for two weeks because of the foot sprain he suffered during the Week 10 game, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: It seems like Freeman will miss at least one game because of the injury, but fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation. Brian Hill will receive most of the work while Freeman is sidelined and can be a No. 2 running back or flex option.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (knee) is officially active for the team's Week 10 game.
Fantasy Spin: Mostert is coming off a disappointing Week 10 performance and probably will only see a handful of touches this week. He can be avoided in all fantasy leagues.
Seattle Seahawks WR Josh Gordon (ankle) is officially active for the team's Week 10 game.
Fantasy Spin: Gordon has been with the Seahawks for a little over a week, so he may see limited snaps this week against the San Francisco 49ers. Fantasy players probably should see him play in a game before considering him as a starting option.
San Francisco 49ers PK Robbie Gould (quadriceps) has been declared inactive for the team's Week 10 game.
Oakland Raiders LB Marquel Lee (ankle) participated in practice Monday, Nov. 11. He is currently on the Reserve/Injured list.