INDIANAPOLIS – For a second straight week, the Colts are in a good health situation heading into their final practice of the week.
The Colts (9-4) are back at home this Sunday, looking for a season sweep over the Texans (4-9).
Here are some takeaways from the Colts on Thursday:
- After missing Wednesday’s first practice of the week, LT-Anthony Castonzo (knee) returned to work on Thursday, as a full participant. Frank Reich said on Wednesday that Castonzo made it through the Raiders game fine. “Obviously, (Castonzo) had the setback (on the first series), but then came in and just talking to him (Wednesday), I feel like we are on the right progress,” the head coach said.
- Continued good news on the CB-Xavier Rhodes (knee) and LB-Darius Leonard (back) injury fronts. After both were full participants in Wednesday’s practice, they were again full on Thursday.
- Punter Rigoberto Sanchez (illness) practiced again on Thursday as the Colts have said there’s a chance he returns to game action this weekend. For more on the Sanchez situation, head here.
- T.Y. Hilton owns the Texans. We know this. Just a reminder, in 18 games against the Texans, Hilton has 98 catches, 1,732 receiving yards (96.2 yards per game) and 12 receiving touchdowns. He’s averaging an absurd 17.7 yards per catch against the Texans.
- The home/road splits for Hilton’s games against the Texans are a tad different though. Here’s the numbers for Hilton in 8 home games versus the Texans: 41 catches for 586 yards, 3 TDs. And then Hilton in 10 road games: 57 catches for 1,146 yards, 10 TDs.
- The Colts have come such a long way from ranking 32nd in the NFL in sacks allowed per pass attempt in 2017. They skyrocketed to 1st in that category in 2018, 10th in 2019 and are currently 4th in allowing sacks on 3.25 percent of pass attempts. The 2.8 sack percentage for Rivers is the best in his 15-year starting career. Frank Reich is adamant that this stat is a credit to the pass protection of the offensive line, but also a major compliment for how Rivers is so cognizant of where pressure is coming from and knowing when/where to get rid of it. “They’ve done an amazing job,” Reich said about the O-line. “It’s really a unique dynamic. A lot of people, and I understand this because it makes logical sense, you have a guy who is 39 years old who can’t move out of the pocket, so you are going to have to protect better. But not everybody who isn’t a scrambler has this gift. But Philip has the gift, like a Dan Marino did, like a Peyton Manning did, of, ‘Hey, I can’t get out of the pocket, but man, I can beat you with my mind. I’m going to get the ball out quick. I can accelerate through my progressions faster than anybody else. I know I’m limited in the pocket, so I know I have to compensate for that in other ways and knowing how to get rid of the ball quick and understanding the protection rules and what we’re doing.’ Philip is a master at that. He really is. No one does it better. All that being said, you still have to protect, so our guys have done a great job with that as well.”
- In the Frank Reich era, they’ve swept an AFC South opponent just 1 time (out of a possible 8, because they won’t sweep the Jaguars in 2020). That was the Titans in 2018. Now, obviously, sweeping any divisional opponent is difficult. But recent AFC South success for the Colts has been nowhere like it was a half dozen years ago when they won 16 straight divisional games.
- The Colts will practice one more time on Friday afternoon, with a Saturday morning walk-through ahead of Sunday’s 1:00 PM home kick against the Texans.
Thursday Injury Report
-DNP: TE-Mo Alie-Cox (knee), TE-Jack Doyle (rest)
Bowen Analysis: Alie-Cox has missed the first two days of practice this week.
-Limited: DT-DeForest Buckner (ankle)
Bowen Analysis: After not being on the injury report Wednesday, Buckner showed up on Thursday. It is unusual to see Buckner missing any practice action.
-Full: LB-Darius Leonard (back), CB-Xavier Rhodes (knee), P-Rigoberto Sanchez (illness) DE-Kemoko Turay (ankle), QB-Philip Rivers (toe), Anthony Castonzo (knee), DL-Denico Autry (rest), TE-Trey Burton (rest), DE-Justin Houston (rest)
Bowen Analysis: Again, continued great news with so many names on this list.
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