Let’s get down to business.
It wasn’t just that the Texans beat the Colts yesterday, it’s HOW the Texans beat the Colts. A 34-24 final doesn’t scream domination, but the second half was certainly that, if not on the scoreboard, then certainly on the field in a very tangible way.
A team on a mission
Leading 13-10 at the half, there’s no way the Texans didn’t have at least a little bit of “we’ve been here before” rattling around in their heads. In the past, this has caused the team to pucker, panic, and fold. Yesterday, it was a whole different world. The team came out running in the second half, eating up eight minutes on the clock in a drive that featured ten straight running plays. Incredible.
Arian Foster and the O-Line were just not having it
The best thing about this game was that in the second half, the Colts knew the Texans were going to run. At some point – they knew the Texans were going to run on EVERY play. The result? Not only could the Colts not stop it, but the Texans were repeatedly ripping off five, seven, and twelve yard runs. There were times you could literally see the Colts quitting. You could see their collective will to win erode. This is NOT the same Texans team we have seen in the past. This was gritty, brutal, smashmouth football that we haven’t seen in Houston since before I knew what football was.
Mario Williams showed up in a big way
If the Texans drafted Mario to get in Peyton Manning’s face, Williams showed (again) that he is what the Texans hoped he would be. Mario was all over the place yesterday, constantly pressuring Manning, and continuing last year’s dominance against the run. The way he slings grown men around is scary. One sneaky thing about yesterday’s game that I loved – when the Texans gave up the late long touchdown catch to Austin Collie – Mario was FURIOUS. Of course, he should be, but I haven’t seen him that animated on the sideline in the past. I do think the whole “Mario needs to be more intense” thing is way overblown, but if Mario is starting to bring a little more leadership to the table, that’s nothing but a good thing.
Multiple half-sacks handed out to the D-Line is a great sign
Being a Texans fan, you know the drill. Nine times out of ten, if a Houston Texan registers a sack – it’s going to be Mario Williams. Against the Colts, the Texans were so disruptive on the defensive line, that Mario had to share. Antonio Smith got himself a half-sack, as did Jesse Nading, who at first glance looked decent in relief of Connor Barwin, who is tragically gone for the season with a nasty dislocated ankle.
Peyton Manning shredded the secondary, but that’s what he does
As expected, the Texans had some serious coverage issues yesterday – but you almost have to throw all the statistics out the window when you’re playing the Colts. There was a lot of concern about how the young secondary would respond to facing Manning, but in case you haven’t noticed in his 12+ years in this league – he does it to everyone. Young secondaries, experienced secondaries – whatever. Plus, the Colts were playing from behind most of the game and basically abandoned the running game.
Kareem Jackson took some lumps out there
Still, you can’t look past how rough rookie Kareem Jackson looked out there at times. He did make a nice play or two, but Pierre Garcon gave him everything he wanted and more. KJax would be catching a lot more flak if Garcon wouldn’t have dropped a couple of passes. Still, again – it’s Peyton Manning. He’s going to get his, and there are times when he’s going to do it at will. The Texans did everything they could to keep Manning off the field in the second half, and it worked. When he was on the field, the Texans did everything they could to get in his face, and that also worked.
Despite their struggles, the secondary combined for a huge play
In what might have been the play of the game, Manning completed a long pass to Austin Collie, but Bernard Pollard and Eugene Wilson combined to knock the ball loose. Glover Quin recovered the fumble, setting up the Texans for their second TD drive of the second half. It was that drive where the Colts simply looked defeated.
Fantastic game, but it was just one game
As fans, there’s nothing wrong with savoring the hell out of this victory. I never try to overreact to a big win or a big loss, but the Texans really showed me something yesterday. Something I haven’t even seen in small doses in the past. But we have to keep in mind that the Colts aren’t exactly stellar against the run. Couple that with the emotion and scope of the opening game of the season, and clearly we do not expect this (or really anything close to this) every week. With a young team like the Texans, it’s hard to tell how they will react next week in Washington against the Redskins. Will yesterday’s performance put them on a wave of confidence that keeps on rolling, or could the team become overconfident? Somewhere in between? We just won’t know until next week, which now seems like a month away.