- The Texans came into this game without their star rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson who suffered a torn ACL earlier in the week during practice. Bill O’Brien gave the start to Tom Savage who began the year as the team’s starter. The Texans also traded offensive lineman Duane Brown earlier in the week (although he had been absent for the first seven weeks of the season). It was no surprise to see their offense struggle as it did last year. A midweek injury really hurts a team’s preparation for the game as a coach you have to scrap your plans for what you had with a mobile QB like Watson. It is a mid-week adjustment and it throws that week’s “install” and preparation off. It’s an entirely different game plan for Savage than it is for Watson.
- The Colts defense took advantage of a depleted Texans roster. It got to Savage often and held the Texans to 94 yards in the running game and seven offensive points. The Colts strong pass rush and their frequent dropping of players into coverage slowed down Texans wide receivers such as Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins that had previously had great production with Watson at QB. Cornerback Pierre Desir, in place of Vontae Davis (DNP- Chuck Pagano’s decision) stepped in and played admirably against Hopkins. Defensive tackle Jabaal Sheard went from being moderately used to having a dominant game against a Texans offensive line that struggled to keep Savage clean.
- The Colts offense got their playmaker, T.Y. Hilton, going after weeks of being minimized in the game plan. Tight End Jack Doyle again was QB Jacoby Brissett’s favorite target. The Colts offensive line however struggled as the Texans frequently beat the Colts tackles, Breno Giaciomoni and Julien Davenport. The offensive line could not get a push for Marlon Mack and the Colts running game suffered as they gained only 80 rushing yards on 26 carries.
- The Texans despite having played a less than stellar game on offense had an opportunity to win the game. With about 40 seconds left in regulation, Savage completed a pass over the middle of the field to Hopkins that left the Texans with a fresh set of downs at the Colts seven yard line. However, it took 18 seconds between the end of that play and the first down snap at the seven yard line. The Texans had already used two of their timeouts in the third quarter, including one on defense when they had a hard time getting their personnel on the field. They could have used those timeouts at the end of the game. This was poor clock management on the part of Bill O’Brien and the Texans for it might have very well cost them the game.