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Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Stats & Info breaks down Colts-Texans

By Paul Kuharsky

INDIANAPOLIS -- The best of ESPN Stats & Info’s breakdown of the Colts win over the Texans on Monday night:

Peyton Manning on third down with three wide: Despite being without Dallas Clark and Austin Collie, Manning actually fared better on third down with three wide receivers on the field.

In the Colts’ first six games, he completed 57.4 percent of his passes in those situations, with two touchdowns, an interception and an 85.7 passer rating.

Against the Texans he hit 66.7 percent, had two TDs and no picks and posted a 119.1 rating.

Nickel and dimed: Did you see much of Kevin Bentley on the field? He was the strongside linebacker who replaced Brian Cushing when the team moved Cushing to the middle to replace DeMeco Ryans, who’s out for the season.

But Bentley didn’t play much and that’s because the Texans played five or more defensive backs on every single passing snap the Colts ran. Before Monday night, 89 percent of Manning’s pass attempts had come against nickel or dime coverages.

Bentley had one defensive tackle.

Sacks without blitzing: Dwight Freeney set the tone by forcing Houston’s first punt with a sack on third-and-10, and later put the game on ice by strip-sacking Matt Schaub (again on third-and-10) on the Texans’ final play. The stellar performance moves the tandem of Freeney and Mathis within striking distance of the league’s top pass-rushing duos.

Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck of the Giants and Jason Babin and Dave Ball of the Titans have each combined for 11 sacks out of four-man pressure this season. Freeney’s sacks put him and Robert Mathis at 10.5 as a tandem without blitz help.

Underthrowing: Among Matt Schaub’s 70 incomplete passes through the Texans’ first six games this season, just 13 of them were on underthrown balls (18.5 percent). Schaub underthrew his targets seven times (50 percent of his incompletions) on Monday night, including a second-quarter interception returned for a touchdown by Kelvin Hayden.

Half the chances: Arian Foster put up a respectable performance with 102 yards on the ground, but it paled in comparison to his 231 yards in the Week 1 win over the Colts. The difference this time was opportunity -- the Texans never trailed in Week 1, so Foster racked up 33 carries. On Monday, Houston was behind nearly the entire game and the Texans back had just 15 rushes.

In Week 1, Foster carried the ball 17 times (for 157 yards) on first down compared to just six first-down carries in Week 8.