Nico Collins is off to a terrific start in 2023.
The third-year receiver topped last week's career-best 80-yard game at Baltimore with a 146-yard eruption at home against the Colts. Collins also caught quarterback C.J. Stroud's first NFL touchdown pass and has clearly built a nice connection with the rookie signal-caller. In the 31-20 loss at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Stroud completed seven passes to Collins.
"We got a lot to prove," Collins said. "We got a lot of stuff to keep growing. It's only the beginning."
Stroud, who found Collins in the back of the end zone for an acrobatic scoring grab later in the first quarter, agreed about Collins' bright future.
"These were little glimpses of what is to come," Stroud said. "I think it's just more and more success, from not only me and him, but really this whole offense. I think that we'll just keep growing."
Collins helped get the Texans offense moving on its second possession. Facing a 3rd-and-4 from the Houston 38-yard line, Stroud found Collins for a 28-yard pickup. Nine plays later, the two linked up again for Collins' shortest reception of the day, an 8-yard completion.
His next four catches went for gains of 24, 20, 25 and 32 yards, respectively. He also caught a pass for nine yards in the final quarter. In between all that, a 28-yard Collins' reception was wiped off the books because of an illegal formation penalty by the Houston offense.
"Nico just went crazy," rookie wide receiver Tank Dell said.
Head Coach DeMeco Ryans was disappointed in the team outcome Sunday. But Ryans was impressed with Collins' performance.
"It was exciting to see the game that Nico had, one of the best games in his career," Ryans said. "Very encouraged with Nico. He's doing the work, and we're seeing it on the field. He and C.J. are building a really good connection, and we're excited to see that continue to grow."
Stroud shared in the postgame press conference that Collins was one of the first Texans to reach out to him and meet him after the quarterback was picked second overall in this year's NFL Draft. Since then, that connection's continued to build.
"It's really fun working with a guy like that," Stroud said. "He works really, really hard. He works on his body really, really hard. He's a big guy, and he's getting out of cuts really fast. I know it's hard on his limbs and everything. He's constantly in the training room. He's constantly asking me questions about the offense, and he's constantly just trying to get better. And I appreciate a guy like that."
Collins now has 13 catches for 226 yards this season. He's averaging 17.4 yards per reception.
He and the Texans will meet Monday to review the loss to Indianapolis, have Tuesday off, and return to the practice field at the Houston Methodist Training Center on Wednesday.