Despite scoring 21 unanswered points early to ending regulation in a tie, the Texans embraced adversity and pulled out a critical win in Indianapolis on Sunday.
The next step will be to build on that success.
"I think it was a very hard fought game," head coach Bill O'Brien said Monday. "I thought that – start with defensively, obviously we rushed the passer well, we scored on defense, we had another strip-sack that was recovered inside the five-yard line, we only gave up, I think, 41 yards of rushing, something like that. We did a lot of good things. Played hard throughout the game, were on the field quite a bit."
Last week, O'Brien wanted to see improvement in red-zone efficiency and consistency in both. Against the Colts, the Texans were 3-of-5 in red-zone scoring and a perfect 3-of-3 in goal-to-go situations. Houston was also 8-of-16 (50%) on third-down conversions. Heading into Week 4, the Texans were tied for seventh in drives that reached the red zone, but near the bottom of the league in red-zone scoring (36.36%).
Deshaun Watson completed 29-of-42 for 375 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 102.8. He also added 41 yards rushing on six carries and a rushing touchdown.
"Probably the best young quarterback I've ever coached at making the right decision," O'Brien said. "But, he needs to probably make that right decision all the time, if that makes sense, not take the five-yard sack and give us a chance to be second-and-10 instead of second-and-15, or third-and-10 instead of third-and-15. So, he'll continue to get better at that, but it's just he and I sitting down, watching the tape, 'Hey, look, in this situation here, it's probably better to duck out of bounds or throw it away."
The defense shut down the Colts ground game, allowing just 41 yards on 17 carries. The Texans sacked Andrew Luck four times, forced three fumbles and recovered two of them, including one in the endzone by Jadeveon Clowney for a defensive touchdown. However, Luck was also able to complete 40-of-62 passes for 464 yards and four touchdowns.
"You have to correct," O'Brien said. "Obviously, go back to defense, we've got to correct some things with our coverage. Andrew Luck's a great player, had a great game, really had a great game. It's always difficult, with the way the rules are and how it is now in the NFL, great quarterbacks are going to make plays and that's just the way it is. But, we've got to do some things to shore some things up."
O'Brien praised the resiliency of his players, who did not give up after the season's 0-3 start or during Sunday's tumultuous game. With the win, the Texans begin the second quarter of their season with a two-game home stretch, including a primetime matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.
"It's a long season," O'Brien said. "We have to do a good job of not riding the wave. We've got to do a good job of continuing to build and get better because it's a very long season. Nothing has been determined yet. Nothing. No divisions, no playoffs – nothing's been determined. We have to understand that and take it really, really short focus of one day at a time and making sure that we're trying to get better every day."
The Texans will host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football in Week 5. Kickoff is set for 7:20 p.m. CT on NBC and SportsRadio 610.
The Houston Texans traveled over to Lucas Oil Stadium to defeat the Indianapolis Colts for Week 4 of the 2018 NFL season.