The Houston Texans imposed their will on the Indianapolis Colts and gave the home crowd at Reliant Stadium a big divisional victory 29-17. The Texans played their style of football throughout the entire game. They gave the Colts a steady diet of the run and then hit the Colts with balls thrown downfield. J.J. Watt raised his usual havoc as the Texans defense kept Colts QB Andrew Luck in check for the most part in this contest. We learned some things about both of these teams in this contest.
1. We Learned That Arian Foster is the Catalyst of the Texans offensive Attack.
When the Texans can get running back Arian Foster rolling, they are a hard team to beat. They fed the rock to Foster early and often to the tune of 27 carries for 165 YDS, that is 6.1 yards per carry. When Arian Foster gets going, it opens up the play-action passing game which has become a staple of Coach Gary Kubiak's offensive game plan. Andre Johnson was the beneficiary of the bulk of the targets that were created by having the running game going. Johnson was targeted 13 times. He caught 11 balls for 151 YDS and 1 touchdown. QB Matt Schaub was able to be efficient going 23-31, 74.2%, 261 YDS ,1TD,no INTs,109.7 QBR. All this is a byproduct of Arian Foster running well for Houston. They are going to want more of these types of performances going forward from this offense.
2. J.J. Watt Is All That and Then Some!
Continuing to make his campaign for Defensive Player of the Year and MVP of the NFL was Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. If I could sum up Mr. Watt in one word it would be "relentless "! 10 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble was the tally for Watt who set the defensive tone for the Texans. Watt leads the NFL in tackles for loss with 29. The Colts could not stop him. He has simply been dominant all year.
3. Vick Ballard Runs Hard!
The Colts have some nice pieces in this young offense that are going to be around for a while in this league. Colts Running Back Vick Ballard was giving the Texans defense fits. He was a big part of the reason the Colts hung around in this game. Ballard had 18 carries for 108 YDS, that's 5.8 yards per carry. Both rookies Ballard and QB Andrew Luck could be backfield mates for a longtime. The Colts future is definitely bright.
4. Luck Can Play Interception Free on the Road
Colts QB Andrew Luck has been suspect on the road throwing the ball. He came into this game having thrown 8 TDs to 13 INT in road games this season. Today he did not throw any picks. His stat line was not anything to light fireworks over, 13-27,48.1% 186 YDS, 2 TDs, 0 INTs. The fact that he did go this game without an interception says a lot for his growth. This has been a great rookie campaign for Luck. His having the Colts in the playoff hunt after this team only won 2 games last season speaks volumes.
5. We Still Don't Know Who The Houston Texans Are!
True, the Texans are in the top spot in the AFC and can get homefield throughout if they win there remaining games. Yet we still don't know which team the Texans really are. Are they the team we saw today? Power running game, great play-action passing capability, defense that can create havoc. Or are they the team that we saw in Foxboro last week that got lit up by "Captain" Tom Brady and the Patriots 42-14? It seems like when an experienced, playoff tested quarterback takes the field against the Texans they have a hard time finding answers. Ask Aaron Rodgers and his 6 TD passes vs this team,or Matt Stafford who was robbed of a victory by his coach's mishap on a phantom Justin Forsett score. We are not going to find out who the Texans are until the playoffs start. In the postseason we may finally see the true identity of this Houston Texans team.