INDIANAPOLIS – The first win of the Colts 2023 season isn’t the biggest storyline leaving Week Two.
That’s the health of Anthony Richardson, who left Sunday’s win in Houston in the first half.
Here is what we learned from the Colts beating the Texans 28-10:
1. Anthony Richardson Suffers ConcussionSource:Getty
Anthony Richardson Suffers Concussion: Sunday was a win for the Colts, but (again) that’s not the most important item of the afternoon. It was Anthony Richardson missing 3 quarters of action due to a concussion. The reality of the Colts 2023 season is the first item of business after every game is about the play of Richardson. So, in this case, it’s a major bummer Richardson missed more than half of the game, especially after the rookie quarterback had put together another nice start. Head here for more concussion protocol detail on Richardson and what this week could be like for him. As a player, Richardson has been pretty impressive in his brief NFL era. But the other side of it his playing style has led to a trio of different injuries (knee, ankle, concussion) in just 5 quarters of NFL life, with all 3 injuries occurring on runs outside of the pocket. Even a 255-pound quarterback isn’t invincible. This whole situation—Richardson’s unique playing style leading to more hits, and potentially more injuries—is always going to be a part of his NFL career/success. And the Colts are already feeling it less 2 games into his NFL career.
2. Defensive Line FeastsSource:Getty
Defensive Line Feasts: Why was I so confident about the Colts winning this one? It was the Colts defensive line in a position to absolutely feast on a beyond banged up Texans offensive line. It’s rare in Week Two of an NFL season to see an offensive line have to change 4 of their 5 starting spots. But that was the case for the Texans on Sunday. And the Colts inserted their dominance in this matchup early on, setting the tone for the rest of the game. It was a third-down sack by Samson Ebukam on the game’s opening drive, with Dayo Odeyingbo punching the ball out of C.J. Stroud’s hands at the same time and then Kwity Paye jumping on the fumble. And on the next play, Anthony Richardson ran into the end zone for a 14-0 lead, which felt insurmountable at the time. This defensive line effort was needed with the secondary, especially cornerback D.J. Baker, having a few more shaky moments in applying sticky coverage on Sunday. For a second straight week, the Colts defensive line did its job in taking and on-paper advantage and making sure it controlled the line of scrimmage. The Colts defensed finished Sunday with 16 hurries, 9 hits and 6 sacks. Good work by Gus Bradley and the first line of defense for the Colts.
3. Gardner Minshew Does His JobSource:Getty
Gardner Minshew Does His Job: That’s how a backup quarterback is supposed to handle thrust into duty action. Gardner Minshew was very solid on Sunday, going an efficient 19-of-23 for 171 yards and a touchdown, leading multiple scoring drives. Seeing Minshew play like this isn’t a shock, he has this stuff on his NFL resume. Still, he deserves a lot of credit for his performance on Sunday, running a playbook that’s much different than the one Anthony Richardson runs. For many, a Colts win where Gardner Minshew plays 3 of the 4 quarters is about as worse case of a scenario for what so much of this 2023 season is about—Richardson’s development + still having a high draft pick to add a major piece to the future of this team. But, obviously, Minshew doesn’t care about this, and he shouldn’t. Minshew also had to work the entire second half on Sunday with Wesley French at center, in his first ever NFL offensive action, as Ryan Kelly left at halftime due to a concussion. The Colts were much, much better on third down on Sunday, thanks to being more efficient on the early downs. And let’s not forget to mention a couple of nice rookie outings by Josh Downs (4 catches for 37 yards) and Will Mallory (2 catches for 49 yards). Plus, a Colts offensive line that allowed just 1 QB hit and 0 sacks on Sunday.
4. Much Thanks To Zack MossSource:Getty
Much Thanks To Zack Moss: What a difference a week makes for the Colts running backs. Zack Moss gave the Colts a much-needed boost in running back production, finishing Sunday with 88 rushing yards on 18 carries (4.9 yards per carry). Moss’ running style is one-cut, downhill and those big ole tree trunks for legs often leads to the first tackler oftentimes not bringing him down. And to be fair, the Colts offensive line did a much better job at the point of attack with their run game blocking than they did in the opener. Of course, this performance from Moss comes 48 hours after Jonathan Taylor gave us the first public update on his ankle rehab. Taylor posted a 5-second clip to his Instagram on Friday of him running an angle pass route inside the Colts indoor facility. Taylor’s stay on the physically unable to perform list must last two more weeks. So, as we wait for some clarity there, Moss at least gave the Colts something notable at running back, after such a disastrous effort there in Week 1.
5. About Time In The AFC SouthSource:Getty
About Time In The AFC South: Well, at least that embarrassing recent run in the AFC South has stopped for the Colts, and an 8-game losing streak for Indy has also ended. As expected, the Texans aren’t very good, are very injured, and the Colts went on the road and really controlled this one throughout, despite a couple of shaky moments in the 4th quarter. Entering Sunday, the Colts had won just 1 of their last 8 AFC South game. That’s inexcusable. The Colts need to start re-inserting themselves in this lowly division. And Sunday is a step in the right direction with that. If this Colts season is going to be anything from a win/loss standpoint, this was one they needed to have. It’s probably the easiest road game on the schedule this year, particularly when you have Houston without 4 offensive linemen and down both starting safeties. I had the Colts winning this one by two scores. They followed through on that with their first multi-score win since beating the Patriots in Week 15 of the 2021 season. Yes, the Texans looked like a team having won just one home game in the last 2 seasons. But the Colts also did something they haven’t done in a while—winning a divisional game.
6. QUICK HITTERSSource:Getty
–Injury Report: The following Colts were inactive on Sunday: TE-Drew Ogletree (concussion) CB-JuJu Brents, DE-Isaiah Land, OT-Ryan Hayes, OL-Arlington Hambright, DL-Adetomiwa Adebawore. The following players got injured and did not return: QB-Anthony Richardson (concussion), C-Ryan Kelly (concussion).
–Key Stat: Anthony Richardson finished Sunday 6-of-10 for 56 yards, and had 2 rushing touchdowns on his 3 carries for 35 yards.
–What’s Next: The Colts (1-1) will stay on the road in Week Three, traveling to take on the Ravens (2-0) next Sunday at 1:00.