- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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HOUSTON -- Thoughts on the Texans’ 34-7 rout of the Colts at Reliant Stadium.
What it means: The Texans bolted out to a 1-0 start over the Colts last season, but this one was different. We saw what a good team can do against Indianapolis minus Peyton Manning. The Texans sailed, and the Colts struggled. It’s hard to call any Houston game a turning point, but this is one we might look back to as a pivot point for control of the AFC South.
What I liked: Matt Schaub-to-Andre Johnson was virtually can’t-miss after an early interception of a pass that slid through Johnson’s hands. Derrick Ward and Ben Tate both ran effectively. Jacoby Jones showed smarts and speed on a 79-yard punt return for a score. The Texans’ new 3-4 defense found consistent pressure that made life very tough on Kerry Collins. End Antonio Smith was especially effective.
What I didn’t like: Collins was just shaky, handing away two fumbles in a short span early on, once on a sack, once on a fumbled snap. Unless the protection was perfect, he was messy and there were only a handful of snaps where the protection was perfect. Indianapolis’ defense simply didn’t show any ability to bottle up the run, and receivers consistently found space between defenders to collect Schaub’s passes.
Who to worry about: Colts linebackers. Gary Brackett suffered a shoulder sprain when he was tackled at the end of an interception return. The Colts played bad defense with him. Without him, they’d really have a hole. Ernie Sims suffered a knee sprain early in the game, which meant undrafted rookie Adrian Moten saw time in the nickel package.
One good thing about the Colts: They didn’t quit, showing some life in the second half even though they knew it was over. Reggie Wayne was in the middle of it. Jeff Saturday fought hard to recover Collins’ third fumble at the bottom of a pile.
One bad thing about the Texans: With Arian Foster (hamstring) already hurt, Ward left the game with an ankle injury. Tate and Steve Slaton provide nice depth, but any team down its top two running backs has questions.
What’s next: The Colts try to recover when they host Cleveland. The Texans try to keep things going in Miami. The rematch between Houston and Indy is at Lucas Oil Stadium on Dec. 22.