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Colts' Frank Reich stands by 'risky' overtime decision

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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck calls out a play against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter on September 16, 2018 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

By Phillip B. Wilson, The Sports Xchange
INDIANAPOLIS -- 

After having a night to sleep on it, Indianapolis Colts first-year head coach Frank Reich reiterated he would have made the same decision to go for a win in overtime instead of settling for a tie on Sunday.

"It was a bit risky and it was a bit aggressive, but I think it was the right call," Reich said on Monday of a fourth-down decision that backfired and enabled Houston to kick a field goal for a 37-34 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Quarterback Andrew Luck threw a low pass that bounced to wide receiver Chester Rogers on fourth-and-4 at the Colts' 43 with 27 seconds remaining in overtime.

"I feel good about it," Reich said of the decision. "Just didn't feel good about the execution."

He was asked if the Colts' record (1-2 at the time) and the game being early in the season had anything to do with going for the win.

"I mean, I think that's fair," Reich said. "I think it's also probably reasonable to put that scenario in context -- that is such a rare scenario where you get to the end of an overtime game. That's the first obviously with the new rules [10-minute overtime] that has never happened to me like that before."

Reich said after the game he would go for it "10 out of 10 times."

"I probably should give context to the 10 out of 10, I mean it's probably not a complete absolute as much as it is a mindset of being aggressive," he said. "There are always a lot of things to consider. To say it's an absolute, it was emotional yesterday, a tough loss. The mindset is we're going to be aggressive, okay? That's probably more -- a better perspective for me to put it into context that way."

Reich admitted he was supremely confident that Luck would make a play, especially when considering the passer finished 40-of-62 for 464 yards with four touchdowns.

"That's just it," Reich said. "Literally, the confidence level -- it just felt like he could do nothing wrong. It felt like everything that we called, he was making it work. If it wasn't open, he made it work. Anybody who questioned anything about [his] arm or throwing the ball down the field -- I mean he's consistently answered those questions time and time again. People have questioned him from the beginning of the year until whatever. He just got it going. He just got it going in a big-time way. [He] played at a super, super high level and I think we were all feeding off of that confidence in what our franchise quarterback was doing."

The Colts don't have any time to dwell on the setback with a Thursday night game at New England (2-2). And the team has a lengthy list of injuries -- among those who didn't practice on Monday were wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (chest/hamstring), center Ryan Kelly (hand), linebacker Darius Leonard (ankle), tight end Jack Doyle (hip) and cornerbacks Kenny Moore II (concussion) and Nate Hairston (ankle).

Starting running back Marlon Mack missed his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. He was limited in practice. Offensive left tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), who has yet to play this season, was also limited. Starting safety Clayton Geathers (knee) was limited, too.

"For us being a young team, I just love -- it just appears to me the maturity level of these young players [that are] just eager to get on to the next game, just eager to get ready," Reich said. "I think the most important thing is how are we going to take care of them physically? How will we take care of them physically, get your bodies right and get these game plans in quickly and just get everything focused on New England."

The Patriots routed the visiting Miami Dolphins 38-7 on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

"You got to move on from this one real fast, [with a] Thursday night game coming up," Reich said. "We know how quick a turnaround that is here. Very well-coached team, good football team. So all eyes on New England."

NOTES:

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The Colts' 17 sacks are a franchise record for the first four games in a season and rank second in the NFL to Chicago's 18. The previous Colts mark of 16 was set by the Baltimore Colts in 1983.

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Seven sacks on Sunday were the most for the Colts since Dec. 5, 2004, against Tennessee.

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The defense also leads the league with 31 tackles for loss, the most in the first four games of the season in the NFL since the then-St. Louis Rams had the same total in 2015. Colts defensive end Margus Hunt still leads the league with nine tackles for loss.

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Rookie linebacker Darius Leonard still leads the league with 54 total tackles and 38 solos. He also has seven tackles for loss, which combined with Hunt is the most for two teammates through the NFL's first four games since 1994.

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Running back Robert Turbin has been reinstated by the NFL from the reserved/suspended list after he served a four-game punishment for violating the league policy on performance-enhancing drugs. His roster exemption expires on Friday. "I feel good, ready to roll," he said. "We don't know what's going to happen just yet, but whatever I am asked to do, I'll be ready to do."

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Now that kicker Adam Vinatieri has surpassed Morten Andersen for the NFL record in field goals (567), the next mark expected to fall is Andersen's 2,544 points as the league's all-time leading scorer. Vinatieri is second at 2,519.

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Colts GM Chris Ballard said on his Monday radio show that he hopes rookie defensive end Tyquan Lewis (toe) can practice in the next month. The second-round pick is currently on injured reserve and has yet to practice with the team.

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When asked if Thursday's game has added meaning because of New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels backing out on taking the Colts head coaching job this past offseason, Ballard said, "Not at all. It's just another game, and it's the New England Patriots, and we're happy to go play on Thursday night."

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Luck's career day against the Texans rewrote the team record books. His 62 pass attempts surpassed Jeff George's 59 in 1993. His 40 completions tied Peyton Manning, who set the mark in 2010 also against Houston. Luck's 464 passing yards were a career best and second in team history to Manning's 472 in 2004.

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The Colts' 23 passing first downs tied a franchise record set in 2010 at Jacksonville.

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Luck has thrown a touchdown pass in 27 consecutive games, the league's longest active streak.

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The Colts dropped to 15-15-1 in overtime games, including 9-10-1 at home.

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Rookie running back Nyheim Hines caught nine passes for 63 yards and two scores. He's the 12th rookie in team history to catch two scoring passes. His nine receptions are tied for second by a Colts rookie and the most since 1986.

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First-year wide receiver Zach Pascal caught his first NFL touchdown pass on a 4-yard completion.

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Linebacker Skai Moore and tight end Erik Swoope, who were cut last week to make room on the roster for positions impacted by injuries, have been re-signed to the practice squad.

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Sports - U.S. Daily News: Colts' Frank Reich stands by 'risky' overtime decision
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