Matt Hasselbeck overcame his age and burned the Houston Texans, with a brilliant performance on Thursday Night Football. Hasselbeck teamed with Andre Johnson, and the rest of the Colts cast, to dump a 27-20 loss on the Texans.
The victory over the Texans helped to renew the Colts dominance of the AFC South. Rumors had begun to circulate that the Colts would be out of contention for the division crown, due to an injury to starter Andrew Luck. Hasselbeck has quickly put those doubts to rest. In Luck’s absence, Matt has guided the Indianapolis Colts to their second consecutive victory. In those two wins, Hasselbeck has completed 48 of 76 passes for 495 yards and three touchdowns.
Hasselbeck got support from another not-so-senior citizen. Wide receiver Andre Johnson, 34, helped Matt Hasselbeck burn the Texans through the air. Johnson snagged six passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. The Texans had decided Johnson couldn’t play anymore and released him, before the start of the season.
Being released by a team isn’t new to Hasselbeck, either. Matt started his career with the Seattle Seahawks and guided the team to five straight postseason appearances. According to The Seattle Times, he was released after the 2011 NFL lockout. He spent time with the Tennessee Titans before the Colts picked him up in 2013 as a backup to Luck.
Indianapolis can breathe a sigh of relief. So far, Hasselbeck’s signing has proven to be a move of sheer genius. His play in the last two games has shown the determined leadership of a postseason quarterback. He has been calm and precise on the field.
As reported by ESPN, Hasselbeck later said he had a bacterial infection and was determined to play even though quarterback coach Clyde Christensen told him he didn’t have to. Instead, he played one of the best games of his career. Head coach Chuck Pagano was impressed with his performance and decision to play.
“He knew that everybody was counting on him and I think it would have taken something really, really severe to keep him from playing in this one. That was one heck of a performance for a guy that was ailing big time.”
Despite losing their first two games of the season, the Colts are on a three-game winning streak. All three victories have been against AFC South opponents. The wins have come at the best time possible for the team. With Luck needing more time to heal, the Colts need Hasselbeck to continue his stellar play.
The victory marked the 16th straight division win for the Colts. The Texans and Jaguars got burned without Andrew Luck. Hasselbeck has lit a torch and is leading his team through the darkness. He has shown the ability to be tough in the pocket and puts an amazing touch on his passes.
The Colts were trying to ice the game, late in the fourth quarter. Instead of running the ball and being conservative, they decided to attack. Hasselbeck torched the Texans with a 40-yard pass to T.Y. Hilton to help run out the clock.
This was not a fluke win for the Colts. They dominated the line of scrimmage and stuffed Arian Foster. The Texans running back finished the night with 41 yards on 19 carries. That’s a minuscule 2.2 yards per carry.
Hasselbeck choked up after the game and said, during a television interview with CBS Sports, he had nothing left.
“I didn’t know if I could make it through… for some unknown reason, I was able to finish. I can’t explain it. It was amazing. I’ve got nothing left, probably. I don’t know. It’s been an emotional day.”
Hasselbeck jogged off the field shaking his head, clearly enjoying the moment.
[Photos by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]