5 Things to Watch: Texans vs. Colts

1. Typical Foster: Arian Foster's been brilliant in his career against the Colts. He's averaged 6.6

yards per carry. Four times he's rushed for 100 yards or more. In a fifth game, he finished with 96 rushing yards. He's coming off his finest game of the season after a 157-yard, two touchdown output against the Cowboys. More of that would be a big benefit to the Texans.

"I've said it before: he's probably the best running back in the game because he can affect the game in the run and the pass," wide receiver Andre Johnson said. "You don't have a lot of running backs that can do that, but he can affect it in both ways. When he's healthy, he's great."

Foster was listed as limited on Tuesday's injury report because of a hamstring injury. But head coach Bill O'Brien seemed confident the Pro Bowler would suit up against Indianapolis.

"Oh yeah," O'Brien said. "As we stand here today, it looks like those guys are good to go."

Foster said he felt "good" on Monday.

2. Faster start: The Texans defense has been exceptional in the first quarter of games this season. No team has scored on them. None.

The offense, however, has struggled to match that excellence. Aside from a pair of touchdowns in the Week 2 win at Oakland, the Texans offense has been blanked in the first quarter of every game they've played. It's a cause of frustration for the Texans, and O'Brien knows what the Texans need to do to fix it.

"We have to get the first first down," O'Brien said. "When we go three and out and we're not in manageable third downs, it's not good. If we can do a good job on first and second down and get it to where it's third and five or less, then our percentages of converting that third down will go up and then we can get into more of a rhythm type of offense. We've got to get going here early in these

drives."

Going three-and-out would play right into Indianapolis' hands, as the Colts lead the NFL in time of possession with 36:24 per game. Quarterbacks coach George Godsey emphasized that succeeding early on third down is a key.

"I think it all starts on third down," Godsey said. "You get a critical third down really early in the game to set the tempo. Those are the things that we just have to move the chains, we've got to go ahead and complete some balls there."

3. Limit Mistakes: When he met with the media after the loss to the Cowboys, O'Brien was clearly

angry. The Texans were oh-so-close from pulling out a victory, but the head coach pointed out what kept them from doing so.

"We have to fix the things that we can fix," O'Brien said. "These games come down to five, six, seven plays, and if you continue to make the same mistakes, you're not going to win when the other team doesn't make those mistakes. It's coaching and it's playing and we've got to get better."

On the three scoring drives last Sunday, the Texans weren't penalized on offense. They weren't penalized on two other drives, but one of those ended in an interception while the other ended in an overtime punt. Five others saw the Texans pushed back because of yellow flags on the ground, and resulted in punts as well.

In union with starting quickly, the Texans must be more mistake-free.

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  1. No such Luck**: Former Stratford Spartan Andrew Luck comes to town on a roll. He's the NFL's leader in passing yards with 1,617, and he's already thrown 14 touchdowns through three games. He's 3-1 all-time against the Texans, and guided his Colts to a comeback win in Houston last season. Luck, though, is impressed with a Houston defense that's forced 12 turnovers through just five games.

"They present some multiple looks, some real funky blitzes," Luck said. "They do a great job of playing man coverage and zone coverage and mixing it up. Never really letting you get a beat on them. Great situational football, third down and red zone; they do a heck of a job."

Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, meanwhile, thinks Luck's ability to keep his eyes downfield in the face of danger is a key to his success.

"I think that's what he does," Crennel said. "He looks down the field. That's one of the reasons they have the number of yards that they have because he will go down then field when it's open and available for him."

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  1. Andre 13,000**: With 19 more receiving yards, Johnson will have 13,000 for his career. Only 14 others have accomplished that feat in League history.

"Like I said before, I probably won't realize it until I'm finished playing," Johnson said. "Like I said before, it's humbling to be mentioned with those guys, but I feel like I still have a lot of football left. Once my career is over, I'll look back on that and see some of the things that I've been able to accomplish."

He's leading the Texans with 27 catches, and has 320 receiving yards this season. With 109 more receiving yards, he'll pass Hall of Famer Steve Largent for 14th place all time.

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