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Colts’ Tyler Goodson discusses pivotal drop in defeat to Texans, asserts it ‘does not characterize me’

INDIANAPOLIS — Tyler Goodson had experienced 45 NFL snaps prior to the significant AFC South showdown against the Houston Texans on Saturday night.

However, none of those snaps carried the same weight as the fourth-down play that Goodson, a backup running back, had to execute in the closing moments against Houston, with a chance to secure a playoff spot hanging in the balance.

Despite getting two hands on the ball, Goodson ultimately failed to secure quarterback Gardner Minshew’s off-target throw on fourth-and-1 from Houston’s 15-yard line, effectively dashing the Colts’ hopes of defeating the Texans.

The Texans gained possession and went on to claim a 23-17 victory, knocking the Colts out of the postseason and propelling Houston to the playoffs for the first time since 2019.

Goodson was left to rue what could have been the most significant opportunity and failure in his early career.

“I’m going to speak with my parents,” a tearful Goodson expressed in a somber locker room. “They’re probably the only people showing love towards me right now.”

Goodson, who entered the league from Iowa in 2022, had not appeared in a regular-season game until the Colts’ Week 13 matchup with the Tennessee Titans. He joined the Colts’ practice squad in September and was not elevated to the active roster until December. Nevertheless, Shane Steichen identified Goodson during practices last week as the player who would be tasked with running a flat route in the short-yardage play that the Indianapolis coach had designated for a critical situation.

Prior to the crucial play, Goodson had not been involved in Saturday’s contest, despite being overthrown by Minshew on an earlier pass attempt. Furthermore, the decision to target Goodson came despite the outstanding 188-yard rushing performance by star running back Jonathan Taylor.

Still, as he grappled with his role in Saturday’s defeat, Goodson promptly felt the support of his teammates.

“It showcases the team’s affection towards me, and I appreciate the camaraderie within this group,” he stated. “It’s part of the game. I wish I had made that play. I wish I could have made the play for this team and secured a better outcome. But ultimately, that’s not within my control. That’s not what was predetermined.”

“The acceptance from the individuals in this locker room — coming in late and not participating in training camp, yet being accepted for who I am and entrusted to take the field and make plays — is remarkable. I’d love to continue being a part of this team,” he added.

“This doesn’t delineate my identity as a player,” Goodson emphasized. “It certainly propels me. I’ve worked too arduously to not convert that play, and it’s going to linger on my mind for an extended period until I find myself in the same position to execute that same play.”

Steichen made the unexpected decision to target Goodson after observing the Texans’ defensive positioning before the snap. Recognizing that Houston was using man-to-man coverage, Steichen called a timeout to gather the personnel for the eventual playcall.

“We observed the defensive formation, and we felt it was favorable for that play in that circumstance,” Steichen explained.

Steichen indicated that Goodson “is a pass-catcher for us in the backfield.” Goodson had entered the game with six receptions for 34 yards this season and 13 rushing attempts for 87 yards.

As the Colts pushed forward and faced a fourth-and-1, the temptation to hand the ball to Taylor was strong, Steichen acknowledged.

“Absolutely. Numerous considerations arise in that scenario during the timeout,” he stated.

Taylor accepted the decision gracefully, having just returned to the game after seeking treatment for a heel injury. There was a moment when Taylor’s return seemed uncertain, with the Colts changing his status during the game from questionable to doubtful. However, Taylor swiftly reemerged and persevered. He carried the ball nine times on the Colts’ final drive, only to be denied the ball on the decisive play.

“I stand by the coaches,” Taylor affirmed. “Have you questioned Shane’s decisions throughout this year? He has consistently made the correct calls at the right time.”

Steichen played a significant role in the Colts’ improvement from four wins in 2022 to nine victories the following season. Although Indianapolis fell short in 2023, the stage has been set higher for 2024.

“Wins and losses are an inherent part of this sport,” Steichen remarked. “You learn and evolve from them.”

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