Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans Review | What We Learned
The majority of the headlines entering Sunday’s divisional showdown in Houston focused on Peyton Manning’s neck, but the dominance of the Texans stole the show. Houston was the better team from the start, storming out to a 34-0 halftime lead on their way to a 34-7 victory at Reliant Stadium.
The Colts obviously missed Manning, as Kerry Collins’ shakiness (two early fumbles killed Indy’s chance to build any momentum) was evident from the start. He did start to look a bit more comfortable in the second half, but the game was already well in-hand for the Texans at that point.
What can we take from this game?
1. Manning or No Manning, the Colts Have Issues
Kerry Collins’ efforts didn’t exactly help matters, but he was far from the only problem for the Colts on Sunday.
The Texans had their way with Indy’s defense. They did force an early interception off of a high pass from Matt Schaub on the first series of the game, but wound up giving up 384 yards of offense on their way to a 34-7 drubbing.
Pass protection was also a problem for the Colts. The Texans were harassing Collins all day long, while sacking him three times and forcing two fumbles, both of which were lost.
2. Arian, Who?
2010 rushing champion (and fantasy dynamo) Arian Foster missed the game nursing his sore hamstring, but the Texans hardly missed him. The combination of Derrick Ward, Ben Tate and Steve Slaton helped Houston rack up 167 yards on the ground against Indianapolis.
Ward started and scored an early touchdown, but later left with a minor injury. Tate, last year’s second round pick out of Auburn, was the real star in the Houston backfield, rushing for 116 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown in his first NFL regular season game.
Despite having no real individual standouts, the offensive line for Houston is one of the best and most cohesive in the league. Foster may still be a cut above the rest of the Texans’ backs in terms of sheer talent, but Houston’s past issues running behind a shaky offensive line are certainly a thing of the past.
3. Houston, We Have a Defense
Wade Phillips was brought in during the offseason as defensive coordinator to fix what was one of the league’s worst defenses last season.
So far, so good.
As mentioned above, the Texans were disrupting Collins in the backfield all day long, highlighted by a pair of sacks (and a forced fumble) from Mario Williams, who is now an outside linebacker.
The only score allowed by Houston was a Reggie Wayne touchdown after the Colts recovered a Ben Tate fumble deep in Texans’ territory in the fourth quarter.
They still have some things to fix, but early indications are obviously very good.
4. Reggie Wayne Can Still be Productive
Collins obviously struggled, but he was still able to connect with the reliable Reggie Wayne seven times for 106 yards with a score.
Obviously, this is good news for fantasy owners who may have been skeptical of Wayne’s value without Peyton Manning under center.
As long as Wayne can get open, it looks like Collins will find him.
5. For Houston, the Job is Far From Done
Just last season, the Texans were flying high after drubbing the Colts (with Manning) at home to start the season. Despite the potential they showed that day, they crumbled down-the-stretch, and finished the season 6-10.
There’s no doubt that the talent is in place, and, with Phillips running the defense, they appear to be in much better position to capitalize on a potentially weak division.
How will they deal with adversity?