Initial Reaction: Colts Outlast Texans


The Indianapolis Colts got off to an unbelieveable start last night against the Houston Texans. It was beyond domination in the first quarter.

It was like playing Madden with the difficulty on rookie for 15 minutes of Thursday night’s game. Then the Colts took their foot off the gas pedal and the Texans managed to make it some sort of football game.

Yes, the Texans kept the game close but needed 14 points off turnovers to do so. It’s very clear after last night who the best team in the AFC South is, and the Colts will likely run away with the division from here on out.

Here’s what stood out from Thursday:

  • The Texans never learn their lesson. Last year at Houston, T.Y. Hilton had seven receptions for 121 yards and three touchdowns. His encore Houston performance was nine receptions and career high 223 yards receiving and a touchdown. Even when they double covered him, Hilton managed to get open. The relationship between Hilton and Andrew Luck is so similar to Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning its scary. Those two are going to take a serious chunk out of the cap space in another year.
  • Just another ho hum performance from Luck. He’s so good right now we aren’t even surprised at the end of the game. Luck is playing at an MVP level and had a great bounce back game following the Ravens debacle. He’s leading the NFL with 17 touchdowns (five more than a number of other players who have yet to play this week). He even figured out how to slide on run plays.
  • Colts fans need to take stock of the incredible run they’ve had at quarterback and wide receiver. They have watched one future Hall of Famer throw the ball to potentially two HoF receivers. Luck is well on his way to building a hall worthy career and so is Hilton. There are so many franchises that would kill just to go through the Colts wide receiver string (Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Hilton) let alone Manning to Luck.
  • The Jonotthan Harrison experiment is getting dangerous. He may be the center of the future and at times is blocking very well, but the mental mistakes are inexcusable. He has four bad snaps in two games and the coaching staff put him in tough situations playing against an experienced and talented front seven last week and the best defensive player in the league this week. There is no excuse for the mental errors and pre-snap issues that Harrison has had.
  • The Colts can play at an elite level few teams can match. That first quarter was insane. Luck had 208 yards passing and the Texans had two total yards. We’ve seen other times when the Colts just utterly dominate an opponent too. Its easy to blame the short week and road game for the Texans’ rally, but the Colts still need to work on closing out games.
  • I have zero clue what is and isn’t a catch on the NFL. It didn’t look like there was enough to overturn Wayne’s diving third down reception since the ball doesn’t clearly hit the turf. Andre Johnson‘s fumble seemed to be a catch, and it was in game, but former official turned CBS-analyst Mike Carey insisted that it wasn’t. Tucking the ball and taking three steps before losing it always used to be a catch, not sure why it wasn’t any different last night.
  • J.J. Watt is a monster. He had a number of great plays, and a few that are overblown. For one, his first sack of Luck at the goal line was meaningless as the Colts scored on the next play. The fumble recovery for a TD was nice, but all he did was scoop and score. The Colts caused that fumble. All that said, he is a game wrecker but still a defensive end and ultimately limited on his in-game impact. I shudder to think what this defense will look like when Jadeveon Clowney returns to the lineup.
  • The Colts didn’t scheme against Watt well enough. The first quarter, he was largely shut down but came alive for the rest of the game. There were too many plays where Watt was unmarked, blocked with a tight end, or the Colts passed his direction. When his nickname is “JJ Swat” maybe passing over him doesn’t work, since he batted down two big passes.
  • Say what you will about the defense, but 1-for-8 on third down attempts don’t happen by accident. Opponents are 3-for-28 over the past three weeks at converting on third down. Bjoern Werner also made the game winning play. For someone who we were writing off as a bust through the first four weeks, Werner has been outstanding against the Ravens and Texans.
  • Pat McAfee is unreal. The onside kick recovery was beautiful and the fact that Chuck Pagano has had two successful surprise recoveries is astonishing. Lil Chuck is growing up as a coach. But back to McAfee, he’s dominating the league in touchbacks on kickoffs and his punts are a thing of beauty. If he doesn’t make the Pro Bowl (or All-Pro) I will be shocked.