Texans fall to the Colts: Six Points
Receivers maturing quickly, but offense limited until OL steps up; do Texans need to blitz more?
The defensive line did not play with the same energy as last week. Granted, Colts QB Anthony Richardson wasn’t in the game long, but he was turning it into a rout early with his legs. The Texans didn’t radically change the game plan that worked last week with a similar QB, skills-wise. We just didn’t see the same performance from the D-line, especially defensive ends Will Anderson and Jon Greenard. Neither were factors this week, and Anderson lost contain on Richardson’s second TD in the first quarter.
I’m beginning to like the receiving corps. When you get 20 catches and almost 300 yards combined out of three receivers, that’s hard to defend. With Robert Woods and Tank Dell underneath and Nico Collins over the top, you’ve got the ingredients for an offense that can move the football. Although I’m sure head coach Demeco Ryans wants to establish an identity as a hard-nosed, physical football team, the fact is that the strength of this team is in its passing offense, and probably will remain that way.
One more note about Collins: he did most of his work between the numbers. Catching ‘go’ routes on the outside is all well and good, but when you can make big plays inside, knowing you’re going to face the punishment of the safeties, that’s impressive.
You can dump on RB Dameon Pierce all you want, but until the offensive line gets healthy and jells, it’s going to be very hard to find rushing lanes. The Colts operated out of a seven-man front most of the game, but they may as well have been in goal line defense. As for the pass protection, the Colts had six sacks, and five were from down linemen. When you’re able to generate that kind of pass rush – not just pressuring, but finishing – without blitzing, you have a significant advantage. It’s hard not to fault offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik here. At one point, he had Woods – a wide receiver – trying to block a defensive end. Stroud barely escaped with his life. Slowik is simply going to have to do a better job of chipping the end, keeping the tight end in to block, and otherwise helping the tackles, especially if OT Laremy Tunsil remains out.
Much has been said about QB C.J. Stroud already, and I was pretty complimentary last week. I was impressed again. For a guy under constant pressure, he’s been really poised. It’s also impressive how well he’s taken care of the ball, though he got away with some risky throws this week.
Obviously, Richardson and his backup, Gardner MInshew, are two very different players, but I was a little surprised we didn’t see more pressure packages once Minshew took over. Minshew offers some mobility, but he’s nowhere near Richardson. Had the Texans blitzed more and gone to more man coverage, it might have damaged the Colts’ offensive continuity. I think the Texans have the corners to play with more pressure; my guess is that defensive coordinator Matt Burke was less willing to change course mid-game due to the injuries in the secondary.
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