Tale Of The Tape: Indianapolis Colts At Houston Texans
- QuarterbackAndrew Luck is not just one of the best young quarterbacks in the game. He is one of the best at his position and he continues to improve every game. Luck is a fantastic leader, has excellent arm strength, a quick release and the courage to make the big play at the key moment. Like all great quarterbacks, Luck wants the ball when the game is on the line.The Texans are in the midst of a disastrous year and the only thing that head coach Gary Kubiak can do is play one game at a time. Kubiak is turning to Case Keenum for the second consecutive game. While Matt Schaub is still recovering from torn ligaments in his ankle, Kubiak said this decision was based on recent performance. Keenum is a sharp passer and has the confidence to lead the Texans.
- OffenseThe Colts traded for Trent Richardson to give them a dependable ground game, but his performance has been disappointing. However, Donald Brown is averaging a robust 5.9 yards per carry and he could play an increased role in the offense. Reggie Wayne’s season-ending knee injury will put greater focus on T.Y. Hilton and tight end Coby Fleener.The Texans certainly have the offensive talent to compete with the Colts for 60 minutes and come away with the win. Running back Arian Foster may be the second-best running back in the league behind Adrian Peterson. Andre Johnson has caught 48 passes for 584 yards, but he has not gotten into the endzone yet.
- DefenseThe Colts rank 19th in overall defense and the key to their play is the pass-rush ability of Robert Mathis, who has 11.5 sacks and three forced fumbles through the first seven games. Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman has a team-leading 60 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Cornerback Greg Toler has 23 tackles and eight passes defensed.The Texans rank first in overall defense, and that makes it hard to explain their shocking 2-5 record. The Texans lost leading tackler Brian Cushing for the season with a torn knee ligament. That’s going to put even more pressure on defensive end J.J. Watt, who has 34 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Kareem Jackson is a decent cover corner with 28 tackles and four passes defensed, but he has no interceptions.
- Special TeamsThe Colts do a solid job in punt and kickoff coverage, but they have not come close to breaking any long returns. Placekicker Adam Vinatieri remains dependable, having made 15-of-17 FG attempts. Punter Pat McAfee has dropped 13 punts inside the opponents’ 20.The Texans have struggled badly on special teams each of the last two seasons. They have given up one punt return for a touchdown and it would not be surprising if they gave up another before the end of the season. Randy Bullock has made just 12-of-17 FG attempts.
It doesn’t seem likely that the Texans are going to turn around their season, but if they do it must start in this game. In order to have a chance, they must keep turnovers to a minimum because Luck will make them pay if they don’t. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor