The first quarter started off with the Colts trailing by 10 points. The Texans capitalized on Ryan’s fumble, and after a sack by Kwity Paye, they go on to score a touchdown. The Texans’ drive also featured a 15-yard penalty on the Colts’ Yannick Ngakoue for roughing the passer. Indianapolis will start the second half from its own 20-yard line.
Indy will get to play against the Texans for the first time this season. After a rough start last year, the Colts have a chance to get back on track this season. The Texans are a mediocre team and have had poor recent opening-season results. The Colts will be without All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard. However, they will have NFL leading rusher Jonathan Taylor to carry them.
Despite the Texans’ dominance in the first half, Indianapolis pulled off a thrilling comeback in the fourth quarter to tie the game. The Texans were ahead 20-3 after three quarters, but Matt Ryan led three touchdown drives to pull the Colts within one score. He then threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman with 1:54 left to tie the game. Despite the game’s improbable ending, the Colts were unable to score on the two extra possessions.
While the Texans’ pass defense was awful last season, the Colts have improved their secondary. They acquired veteran cornerback Gus Bradley and traded for DE Yannick Ngakoue to give themselves a depth-filled defensive roster. Despite the depth of their defensive roster, the Colts will have a difficult time stopping the Houston Texans’ offense. Nevertheless, Indianapolis hopes to strike early and keep the Texans offense off the scoreboard.
Matt Ryan had a strong game. He completed 32-of-50 passes for 332 yards and a touchdown. Safety Nick Cross added four tackles and became the second-youngest player in team history. Rodrigi Blankenship nailed two-of-two extra-points for the Texans.
The Texans’ offense will be bolstered by rookie running back Dameon Pierce. He was a standout during preseason camp and is expected to improve the Texans’ run game, which ranked last in the league last year. The Texans also added Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, Rasheem Green, Derek Stingley Jr., and Jalen Pitre.
Both teams are in the AFC South. The Houston Texans, meanwhile, were previously in the AFC East. However, they were restructured shortly afterward, creating the AFC South. This division includes the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Indianapolis. Those changes meant that the Colts were left without their traditional AFC East rivalry, which is with the New England Patriots.
While there are plenty of intriguing aspects of this matchup, there is one that stands out from the rest: Houston’s big back, Jonathan Taylor, is a dangerous threat. He rushed for over two hundred yards last year and had eight touchdowns. Houston’s defense ranked fourth in rushing yards per game last season, so Taylor’s dominance could be a factor in this game.