Don’t let Peyton Manning’s stat line misguide you, the Houston Texans dominated the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
With thirteen minutes left in the fourth quarter, Houston was throttling last year’s AFC Champs 27-10. At that point, Manning had only 209 yards. Down 10, the Colts were forced to go to the air, not resorting to the run once. We have seen Manning lead a comeback in this situation many times before, some against Houston in fact, but this was different.
For years, Houston has been a team with high scoring capabilities. Inconsistencies have often plagued them, particularly because they needed to pass the ball to generate offense. When the passes were not there in the fourth quarter of season’s past, Houston was usually forced to kick the ball after not taking much time off the clock due to a relatively ineffective run game.
If you haven’t heard much about Arian Foster(quietly accumulated 257 yards on 54 carries in the final six weeks last year) and shied away from him even as he dropped like a bomb in some fantasy leagues, you certainly know who he is now. All hail Texan Fans, you officially have a frightening running threat.
What if I told you that before Sunday, Matt Schaub never threw for less completions(9),attempted less passes(17), or threw for less yards(107) in his entire career(besides games he exited due to injury)? What if I then told you that Andre Johnson had his least yards receiving since December 2008? Could you fathom any possibility whatsoever that the Texans had won the game?
Well, they did, and it was in dominant fashion.
Foster carried the ball 33 times for 233 yards, averaging a ridiculous seven yards per carry. His longest run was only 42 yards, making his yards per carry look even more impressive. His three touchdowns against the Colts left him one shy of the total TD’s any Texan running back accumulated all last season.
Foster is fast, shifty, and has no qualms about pounding the ball to pick up some extra yardage. He is quick enough to break a big run at any time, but strong enough to shed any tackle.
It’s not that Houston had trouble passing the ball Sunday, they just had no reason to try. Incredibly, just over 71% of the Texans plays were on the ground. They took advantage of a Colts D that is infamous for their inability to stop the run.
Houston now has something that they have been wanting for years, balance. The array of options that the Texans have in the passing game will continue to keep defenses honest against Foster, and vise-versa. It is unlikely that we will see a lopsided attack like we did Sunday again, but Foster will still receive a substantial workload as the year goes on. He is a surefire star in the making.
By the way, if it wasn’t already clear that the 2006 Texans first-round pick of Mario Williams(over New Orleans’ Reggie Bush) was the right decision for Houston, it is now. Williams was a menace to Manning on Sunday and could easily post 10+ sacks for the third time in five years this season.
The Texans are clearly a force to be reckoned with. It may too early to declare them bound for their playoff bid in franchise history, but it sure is difficult to think any differently.
About the Author
Written by Zachary Stanley
By the end of the fall I will have obtained a Bachelor's degree from Ithaca College. I have been blogging for quite some time and am greatly enjoying my various responsibilities in this field. I am currently a Feature Celtics Columnist and a Featured Sports Contributor for two different sites. I am also a couple weeks from opening up my new blog site, CelticsNotes.com.