Schaub was clearly outplayed by Peyton on Monday Night
Familiar Territory: After defeating Houston, Indianapolis is now in sole possession of 1st place in the AFC South
The Indianapolis Colts entered Monday night’s game against the Houston Texans as the better prepared team. Slipping to 4-3, the Texans were hobbled by an early Colts lead, to which quarterback Peyton Manning never let up. Lucas Oil Stadium was on a thrill ride, where the Texans went from a 14-3 first half deficit to a 30-17 fourth quarter stall. The Colts offense totaled 24 first downs, 366 total net yards and three touchdowns. The Texans, on the other hand, were limited by a stellar Colts pass rush that kept Matt Schaub from performing at his usual level of play. Additionally, the Colts were able to effectively play with a depleted team. Throughout their offensive injuries, the young Colts replacements filled-in and helped bring the Colts to a 5-2 division lead in the AFC South.
The Colts’ first quarter couldn’t have gone better for the team. By scoring early and arrogantly teasing the Texans defense, Peyton Manning set a relentless game tone. When his fellow teammates failed to catch, run a route or block, Peyton let them hear it. He was vocal, often angry, and dictating the game. On the other side of the ball, first-time middle linebacker, Brian Cushing, was quiet and stuck to Frank Bush’s play calling. The play calling was good, but not enough. The Colts played a drag-out-the-clock game, which in combination with the Texans’ mistakes, hindered any chance of a Texans comeback. Manning threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns while his fellow players around him fell to injuries. He commanded the win from the beginning.
The Texans offense, led by Matt Schaub and Arian Foster, were unable to run with the Colts. Matt Schaub eventually gained 201 yards, but only had one touchdown and threw an interception. He was intimidated from the Colts pass rush, and had no rhythm in the game. Foster, although amounting 102 yards and a touchdown on the ground and nine receptions for 65 yards, wasn’t able to become a factor in the game. Also, besides Andre Johnson’s seven reception, 106-yard and a touchdown game, the Texans’ playmakers didn’t show up. Owen Daniels had a reception and Derrick Ward was a non-factor. Kevin Walter dropped a pass, wasn’t able to capitalize on targets and went stat-less. The Colts offense outmatched the Texans offense overall, and the Texans kick return game led by Jacoby Jones on kicks and punts wasn’t able to impress on the road.
The Texans ’s loss can be examined in many ways. Statistically, the Texans’ third down conversion rate, first downs, total yards and the overall time of possession hindered the Texans. The Texans were 3-for-11 (27%) on third down, compared to the Colts’ 46% rate. Additionally, the Texans only had 19 first downs on 23:35 minutes, compared to the Colts’ 24 first downs on of 36:25 minutes of clock. The Texans only had 291 total net yards compared to the Colts 366 yards.
Peyton Manning’s excellent play and team leadership proved serving yet again for the Colts. By reaching a 14-2 mark over the Texans, the Colts also take the 2010 AFC South Division lead. In the win, young players like tight end and Dallas Clark-replacement, Jacob Tamme, stepped up. Tamme was on the receiving end of a Peyton Manning’s first passing touchdown. Tamme put Pollard and the linebackers on notice for the whole game thereafter, yet he finished the game with six receptions for 64-yards and a touchdown. The Texans defense was put to the test again Monday, but failed to put the tumbling offense in any position to win the game.
The Houston Texans now sit at 4-3 and third in the AFC South. Ahead of the 4-4 Jaguars, who the Texans meet in two weeks at Jacksonville, and behind the Colts and Titans in the division, the Texans are now looking on the outside of the AFC wild card picture. However, the season is still young and the defense did show some new looks and stood strong at teams. However the offense and Schaub’s familiarity of intimidation reared this game’s loss. Look for the Texans to look for more ways to protect the quarterback, the Texans have a bad history against next week’s opponent’s quarterback rush. The incoming San Diego Chargers are the number one pass defense. Although playing some of the league’s most young and inexperienced offenses throughout the league, the team is always playing at a high level. Look for the Texans to rebound from this loss, make corrections, and move forward to next Sunday’s game.