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Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans

Source: Bob Levey / Getty

INDIANAPOLIS As one would expect, a whole lot has changed for the Colts and Texans in the 113 days since their first meeting this season.

Who would have ever thought back on September 17th that when these then 0-1 teams had their rematch, which comes this Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, stakes would a spot in the postseason on the line.

It’s quite the credit to first-year head coaches Shane Steichen and Demeco Ryans, who deserve to be very high on any coach of the year ballot, for leading such unexpected turnarounds.

Back in Week Two, the Colts beat the Texans 31-20 in Houston.

Let’s look back on that game, and what could apply to Sunday’s massive game:

  • In arguably their finest 60-minute performance of the season, the Colts jumped on the Texans early, dominated a crippled Houston offensive line, and then staved off a late-comeback effort from C.J. Stroud. It was a 31-20 victory. The Texans went 1-of-4 in the red zone.


  • Anthony Richardson started in Week Two, and was terrific early in the game. In helping the Colts to an early 14-0 lead, Richardson scored two rushing touchdowns, playing into the second quarter (18 offensive snaps) before exiting due to a concussion. Gardner Minshew was outstanding in relief of Richardson, leading two touchdown drives right away in the second quarter. Minshew went 19-of-23 against the Texans.


  • Despite Ryan Kelly leaving at halftime due to a concussion, the Colts pass protection was tremendous, with 0 sacks allowed and just 1 QB hit.


  • Easily the biggest reason why the Colts dominated the Texans from the start in Week Two had to do with all the attrition across the Texans offensive line. Houston had to change 4 of its 5 starting OL spots and the Colts feasted on that with 6 sacks of C.J. Stroud, 9 hits and 16 hurries. The Texans starting these 5 up front in Week 2: LT-Josh Jones, LG-Kenyon Green, C-Jarrett Patterson, RG-Shaq Mason, RT-George Fant.


  • With Jonathan Taylor not playing in Week Two, Zack Moss was on the field for every offensive snap but one, in the week following the disastrous running back game from Deon Jackson. Moss had 88 rushing yards on 18 carries.


  • A couple of other guys who did play in Week Two, but will not play Sunday includes: Colts: QB-Anthony Richardson, LB-Shaquille Leonard, CB-Dallis Flowers, S-Julian Blackmon, Texans: WR-Tank Dell, LG-Kendrick Green. Guys who didn’t play in Week Two, but will should play on Saturday include: Colts RB-Jonathan Taylor, CB-JuJu Brents, Texans: S-Jalen Pitre. Unlike the Colts, the Texans did not have a healthy Week 17. LT-Laremy Tunsil, WR-Noah Brown and WR-Robert Woods all exited with respective injuries. That would be the equivalent of the Colts heading into Saturday with the availabilities of LT-Bernhard Raimann, WR-Alec Pierce and WR-Josh Downs in question. Shane Steichen has some optimism Kenny Moore (back) should be ready to go by Saturday. Moore tried to play on Sunday against the Raiders but he was deemed inactive after a pre-game workout on the field.


  • This will be the 3rd Shane Steichen vs. Demeco Ryans matchup in the last 12 months. Steichen’s play-calling has led to Eagles scoring 31 points back in January against Ryans and the 49ers in the NFC Title, and then 31 points back in Week Two, with the two head coaches/play callers squaring off again. Does Steichen have Ryans’ number or is the sample size/variance in personnel too small/different?


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