5 takeaways from Colts’ 31-20 win over the Texans

5 takeaways from Colts’ 31-20 win over the Texans

The Indianapolis Colts (1-1) got off to a hot start in Week 2 after starting the game with a 14-0 with 9:13 left in the first quarter after a pair of Anthony Richardson rushing touchdowns.

Despite losing Richardson in the first half due to a concussion, the offense didn’t miss a beat with Gardner Minshew taking over. On his first drive of the game, Minshew led Indy on a 76-yard touchdown drive to extend the lead to 21-7.

The Colts would go on to not give up that two-score lead for the remainder of the game despite the effort from C.J. Stroud and the Texans offense. The defense was able to do their part by bottling up Dameon Pierce and getting pressure on Stroud throughout the afternoon. There was a lot to like in the first win in the Shane Steichen era.

Here are my five biggest takeaways from the game:

QBs have a day

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

This was the beginning of an outstanding game for Anthony Richardson prior to him suffering a concussion. He started the game by leading a 75-yard opening drive that ended in a touchdown. AR utilized his arm and legs to get into the red zone and capped it off with an 18-yard touchdown run.

Following a defensive turnover, Richardson had a 15-yard touchdown run. But unfortunately, it is speculated that it was in this play that he suffered his concussion.

Richardson would play two more drives before leaving the game. It was reported that he brought it up to the medical staff. AR finished 6-of-10 passing for 56 yards and had three rushes for 35 yards and two touchdowns.

This led to Gardner Minshew taking over with 12:45 left in the second quarter. Minshew did a great job stepping in for Richardson. He led back-to-back touchdown drives to finish the first half. The final one started with 4:25 left in the half and the score came with 10 seconds left.

It put the Colts up 28-10 entering halftime. Minshew ended his day going 19-of-23 for 171 yards and a touchdown. Now all eyes will be on who will be the quarterback against the Baltimore Ravens.

Regardless of who it is, from today’s games, it looks like the offense is in good hands with whoever gets the start next week.

Active day for the defensive front

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

The Colts needed to take advantage of the mismatch that they had between their defensive front and the patchworked Texans’ offensive line. Gus Bradley’s unit certainly delivered on it on Sunday.

It was quickly kicked off by Samson Ebukam coming off the edge to hit C.J. Stroud to help force the fumble.

They did a great job throughout the game winning in the trenches and limiting the rushing lanes. The Texans backfield combined for 51 rushing yards on 23 attempts. Dameon Pierce was held to 2.1 YPC on 15 attempts.

The Colts’ defensive front combined for six sacks, nine QB hits, and 10 TFLs. The starting group of DeForest Buckner, Grover Stewart, Kwity Paye, and Samson Ebukam were great all afternoon.

Zack Moss elevates the rushing attack

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Colts left last week’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars knowing they needed more out of the running game, and they got that out of Zack Moss in his season debut. He dominated all the touches from the backfield and it was his physical running style that kept drives alive for the offense.

Moss ran the ball 18 times for 88 yards and his longest run of the game (11) came on his touchdown.

Moss also contributed as a receiver. He caught all four of his targets for 19 yards. He now has two straight games that he has finished with over 100 total yards and both of those came against the Texans.

Today was a good step in the right direction for the Indy ground game.

A concern for the secondary

 Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Despite winning this game by two scores, there was one concern about the Colts defense that was apparent. It was the play by the secondary when the defensive front failed to get any pressure on C.J. Stroud.

There were a number of easy completions for Stroud and broken tackles led to explosive plays for the Texans’ passing attack. Darrell Baker Jr. was an unfortunate player that stood out. He couldn’t keep Nico Collins in check anytime he was covering him.

Collins finished the game with seven receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown. Baker Jr.’s tackle attempt on Tank Dell’s touchdown was disappointing as well.

It wasn’t all on Baker Jr., the entire defense gave up over 380+ passing yards to the Houston offense. Stroud went 30/47 for 384 yards and two touchdowns.

JuJu Brents has been inactive for the first two games and we haven’t seen the preseason standout, Jaylon Jones, working with the starting unit much, but it may be time to start working in the pair of rookies into the rotation going forward for their development.

The secondary will be tested next week against a passing attack that features Zay Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., and Rashod Bateman.

Shane Steichen’s impressive first career win

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

This game was the perfect start for Shane Steichen. Anthony Richardson leads a perfect opening scoring drive, his defense forces a turnover, and his quarterback makes it a two-score game with his second rushing touchdown.

For a moment, there was much to wonder about how this game would go when it was announced that Richardson was being evaluated for his concussion. But, Steichen’s offense didn’t waver at all.

He adjusted his play calling to fit Gardner Minshew’s skillset and the offense continued to move the ball. His unit finished with 353 total yards and had four touchdown drives.

Indianapolis finished the game without committing a turnover and scored 31 points in 56 plays. In comparison, the Texans ran 79 plays and ended the game with 20 points.

One great thing that Steichen did came late in the fourth quarter. Moss came up just short of a first down at midfield. He sent his punt team on the field then quickly had his offense sprint back on. This resulted in DeMeco Ryans burning his first timeout of the second half.

A road win over a divisional rival is a great way for Steichen to get his first career win. It’s just more impressive that he was able to get it done despite losing his quarterback early in the matchup.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire