For 32 minutes and 16 seconds on a wonderful, sunny Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis, IN, the Texans were seemingly making a statement about what kind of football team they wanted to be for the rest of the 2021 season. Then, in the blink of an eye in the third quarter...
1. Colts interception
2. Two plays later, a wide open Mo Alie-Cox touchdown
3. One Texans drive and a punt later, RB Jonathan Taylor went 83 yards through a gaping hole and walked into the end zone three plays later.
Bada bing, bada boom, 10-3 turned into 24-3 in just over six minutes and this one was over. Here are the rest of my Harris Hits from the Texans 31-3 loss to the Colts in Indianapolis.
QB Davis Mills did throw that interception and the game went downhill in a hurry as I noted above. Up to that point in the third quarter, though, he had made a number of solid throws, on third down, in particular. The Texans were 9-of-17 on third down and Mills made a number of strong completions to move the sticks. But, the interception bugaboo got him on that third quarter pick to Darius Leonard.
With a reconfigured offensive line, the run game finally got some things rolling and did a decent job protecting Mills, yielding just two sacks. One of the sacks in the first half was definitely not on the offensive line, so giving up just one to that group without three starters was a solid afternoon's performance. The bigger news, so to speak, was that the Texans finished the game with 124 rushing yards, a giant leap in run game production.
Texans RB Mark Ingram II found some room in the run game, more than he had seen prior to this week. Early in the game, he split a seam for a 24-yard sprint, the longest run of the year for the Texans. He pounded his way to 73 yards on 18 carries, his second largest output of the season.
It was also good to see fellow RB Phillip Lindsay reel off a 35-yard run in the fourth quarter. It would be great going forward to get those two backs really pounding the rock.
Man, with WR Nico Collins and Brandin Cooks on the outside, the Texans have legit weapons at the receiver position. It was Collins that Mills was trying to hit on the dig route that Leonard intercepted. However, the rookie receiver finished with four catches for 44 yards and showed some power and YAC ability too. After being hurt at Cleveland earlier in the season, Collins showed what we'd been missing alongside Cooks and Chris Moore.
But, it's Cooks that just continues to shine on the outside. Everyone in the entire building knew that any third down throw was probably headed Cooks' way and he still came through, finishing with nine catches for 89 yards. He worked tirelessly to get open on scramble drills. He physically fought for every last completion on third down when the Colts were in man coverage. If I'm starting a team, I take #13 first above all else. That guy is a stone cold competitor and the Texans need football playing dudes like him.
On the defensive side, DL Jon Greenard is really blossoming in front of our own eyes. He had the only two sacks on the day. He had three of the team's five quarterback hits. He had two tackles for a loss and had six total tackles on the day, which was second on the team behind Kamu Grugier-Hill's seven stops.
The Texans ran 74 plays to the Colts 48 and had three drives of 11+ plays. One drive ended with a punt. One drive ended with the only field goal of the day. One drive ended on downs.
Furthermore, the Texans finished a drive at the 50 or better on six drives. SIX. The end of those drives went punt, punt, field goal, downs, fumble and interception.
Two other Texans drives got beyond the Texans 40-yard line, but each one ended with a punt.
The Texans went three-and-out after a penalty on a false start on first down on the first drive. There was the interception to start the second half. There was the last two-play drive at the end of the game. However, there were nine other drives in the game and on every single one the Texans picked up at least one first down. On six of the nine drives, the Texans picked up at least two first downs. However, they ended up with just three points.
The Colts defense was back together today for really the first time all season and that cohesion showed. That unit bowed its back when the Texans threatened on the other side of the 50-yard line. It was tough sledding to say the least.
I'll bring it full circle as I close, because there's not much more to say that will make for good reading. When the Texans took the field with 12:44 in the third quarter after forcing a fairly dominant three-and-out to start the second half, I looked across at the Colts sideline. It was dead. I could see the offense just sitting there with blank looks on their faces. There was no energy. None. The Texans had taken it right out of them with the way the defense had responded after 10-0. Over the next three drives, the Texans gave up just two first downs and 36 total yards. Down one score, I started to feel...and then the interception. That changed the morale, shoot, it just changed everything really. TE Mo Alie-Cox was wide open down the near sideline two plays later and it was 17-3. Not insurmountable, but the opportunity was missed. That play also woke up a dead Colts sideline. When Leonard picked off that pass, the vibe changed as if the DJ stopped playing slow dancing love ballads and put on Waka Flocka Flame "Grove Street Party". Tough day that might have eventually gone that way anyway, but the Texans helped it along with some unconscionable mistakes throughout the day. Time to saddle up and get things right for a trip to Arizona next week for the first time since 2013.
The Texans will travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals in Week 7 at State Farm Stadium next Sunday.
The next time you can see the Texans at NRG Stadium will be on October 31 as they host the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8. Kickoff is set for noon CT. Click here for tickets.
Check out the top photos as the Houston Texans take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6 of the 2021 NFL Season.