INDIANAPOLIS – The performance was far from perfect.
But this time the Colts were able to protect the big lead they built with explosive plays, running away with a 31-3 win over an ill-fated Houston team in a game Indianapolis had to keep hopes of turning a disappointing start to the season around.
Finally, through the glove that the NFL handed to the Colts to open the season, Indianapolis (2-4) must take advantage of the lighter slate looming in front of it, and Sunday’s performance was a step in the right direction. .
1. Carson Wentz lets go of his arm
Forced to largely give up the classic deep ball over the past two seasons because of quarterbacks under center – Jacoby Brissett didn’t pull the trigger often and Philip Rivers didn’t have the arm strength to throw it off. Consistently – the Colts wanted to get the game back on the offensive this season.
Frank Reich believed he had the quarterback and receivers to get him back on the offensive.
Over the past two weeks the Colts have finally started to hit a few, and they took a 10-3 lead at halftime by getting two in the same half, the first on a touchdown. from 51 yards to Parris Campbell and the second on a 52 yards to center from TY Hilton, playing his first game this season.
The Colts always believed they had the players to make these kinds of games.
But the design of the game helped. Campbell, who left the game a little later with a foot injury, cleared deep on a play that sent three receivers to the same end of the field, and Hilton’s play came on a zone look when the Texans appeared to be playing Cover -2. Hilton attacked midfield, running freely with ease, and Wentz shot the kind of ball Hilton has always been able to descend, follow and catch.
2. Jonathan Taylor makes his presence felt in the second half
The Colts were slow to start the race game on Sunday.
Indianapolis only handed the ball to Taylor three times in the first half, largely because of the team’s problems on the first down: The Colts were too often in second to continue chasing the ball in a situation considered as a pass. happy.
But the Texans have one of the worst defenses against running in the NFL, and Taylor was able to take advantage of it after halftime.
Taylor opened it up by taking a play on the left side, then running away from multiple Texan tackles for an 83-yard gain, the longest run in Colts franchise history and the longest run than the NFL. experienced this year. Three games later, Taylor hit the touchdown and set the stage for the rest of his half.
The Colts continued to give him the ball, and Taylor salted it, rushing 14 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns, as Indianapolis put the game out of reach.
3. Darius Leonard still has a flair for football.
The Colts’ defense struggled at times, giving up assists and yards to a quick passing game in Houston, and failing to secure a consistent pass despite the Texans playing without three starters on the offensive line.
And Leonard hasn’t been himself this season, in large part because of a rebellious ankle that hasn’t worked despite offseason surgery.
The All-Pro linebacker still has his nose for football, however. Leonard fell into an area of ââplay early in the second half and knocked out Davis Mills, then ended another late practice by firing a perfectly timed punch on the ball into David Johnson’s hands, putting end any chance the Texans had to enter the end zone.
Leonard now has two interceptions, two forced fumbles and three fumbles recovered throughout the season, producing the takeout the Colts crave even if he’s compromised. Leonard’s opportunistic nature set the tone for the defense and Isaiah Rodgers added a late interception.