U.S. Markets close in 3 hrs 45 mins

Darius Leonard credits coaching for big fourth-quarter plays

Mike Florio

The Colts held off the Texans on Sunday, thanks to a total-team effort that included a great offensive performance and a clutch showing from the defense.

After the 30-23 win that propelled Indy to 4-2 on the year, putting them in first place in the AFC South, linebacker Darius Leonard credited the defensive coaching staff for two of the most important play of the day.

The first came with 13:06 to play, and with Houston facing fourth and one from their own 48. Last week in that spot, quarterback Deshaun Watson leaned on receiver DeAndre Hopkins underneath, sealing the win in Kansas City. This week, Hopkins was on the other side of the formation, and the Indy defense knew not to ignore him.

“We knew they were going to their best player in that spot,” Leaonrd told PFT by phone after the game, explaining that the goal of the call made by defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was to force Watson to rely on someone other than Hopkins. Watson didn’t.

Leonard also credited coaching for his game-sealing interception, an athletic effort that saw him gobble up a bobbled ball. “The coaches know their tendencies,” Leonard said. “They put me in great position with an opportunity to make a play.”

Make a play Leonard did, punctuated by a nasty stiff arm to Kenny Stills, in his return to action for the first time since suffering a Week Two concussion. Other than saying “it sucked” to not play, Leonard didn’t want to discuss the concussion.

It sucked for all Colts fans to lose quarterback Andrew Luck only two weeks before the season began. Leonard said that it ultimately took the Colts “a couple of days” to react to Luck’s departure, pivoting to life after Luck and winning four of their first six games without the first overall pick in the 2012 draft.