Daily Brew: Colts pose big challenge in run game

The Indianapolis Colts have been putting up big numbers in the run game this year. With a talented offensive line paving the way, Indianapolis ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (141.1), just ahead of the Texans, who are ranked fifth (140.7).

“They ran the ball for what, 264 yards I think the other day,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “So yeah, they've got a great running game. I think they're averaging 141 yards per game in the running attack and we're averaging 140, so it's two pretty good running games. I think that's going to be part of the game, how well we can stop the run, how well we can run the ball, that's going to be part of the game."

The Colts will be without starting back Marlon Mack, who fractured his hand in Sunday’s win against Jacksonville. In quarterback Jacoby Brissett's return from an MCL sprain, Indianapolis focused on the ground game, producing had two 100-yard rushers in the 33-13 win. Mack rushed for 109 yards on 14 carries while Jonathan Williams added 13 carries for 116 yards.

In their Week 11 loss to the Ravens, Houston finished with 122 yards on the ground led by Carlos Hyde who rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown. But the Ravens snapped Houston’s 25-game streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher when Gus Edwards finished with 112 yards, which included a 63-yard touchdown run. The Texans look to get back on track in stopping the run when they face the Colts.

“They do a great job with the scheme that they run, they run various schemes and then they always have a wrinkle for you in the next game, so to speak,” O’Brien said of the Colts offense. “They always have something new for you. They do a good job, so we have to do a good job of, again, playing our gap tackling. We've got to tackle, we can't have missed tackles. Linebackers have to tackle, which our inside linebackers have tackles very well. Our safeties need to tackle and then our outside backers obviously need to tackle. So we've got to do a good job of all those things, but the Colts have a different scheme so just like every week in the league, it's different."

In Week 7 at Indianapolis, the Texans held the Colts to just 62 net yards rushing. Mack averaged 2.4 yards per attempt and rushed for 44 yards, his lowest totals for game this year. In addition to Mack and Williams, the Colts also have running backs Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins on their depth chart.

The Texans will celebrate their Salute to Service game on Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts. Kickoff is set for 7:20 p.m. CT on FOX-26, NFL Network and SportsRadio 610.

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