This was an ugly game for DeMeco Ryans, his coaches and his players. The Texans were favored by one and lost by 11 to an Indianapolis team they didn’t lose to in 2022.
The running game was terrible. The defense was a disaster, allowing touchdown drives of 75, 15, 76 and 75 yards in the first half when they trailed 28-10.
With the exception of C.J. Stroud and the passing game, there was very little positive to come out of this game.
After being listed as questionable with a sore shoulder, rookie C.J. Stroud was exceptional playing behind an offensive line missing four starters.
He was 30-of-47 (63.8 percent) for 384 yards and two touchdowns. He had another touchdown pass called back because of a penalty.
Stroud wasn’t intercepted. He averaged 8.2 yards per attempt, and his rating was 103.5. He also was sacked six times for 47 yards in losses, one that resulted in a fumble that set up a 15-yard touchdown drive.
For the second game in a row, the running game was non-existent, but don’t blame it on Dameon Pierce and Devin Singletary.
When there’s no daylight, there’s no room to run, right? The Texans ran 26 times for 52 yards, a miniscule 2-yard average per carry.
Pierce carried 15 times for 31 yards (2.1) and Singletary 4 for 14 (3.5). It’s not going to improve until the linemen do a better job of run blocking.
Nico Collins has continued what he began in training camp with a second consecutive impressive performance. He caught seven passes for 146 yards (20.9 average) and a touchdown.
That’s 13 for 226 (17.4) in two games. C.J. Stroud seems to have found a go-to receiver who keeps getting better.
Tank Dell had seven receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. He had another one called back.
Robert Woods finished with six for 74. The success of the passing game was the highlight.
Dalton Schultz had four catches for 34 yards and Brevin Jordan two for 27.
Schultz was signed to excel on short and intermediate routes as well as in the red zone. In two games, he hasn’t been able to do it.
The only starter who started in this game was right guard Shaq Mason. And it showed.
The Texans couldn’t run block or pass protect very well. They surrendered six sacks, five by defensive linemen. Josh Jones, who moved from left guard to left tackle in place of the injured Laremy Tunsil, had two penalties, one that cost them a touchdown. He had two against the Ravens, too.
Going back to training camp, the Texans are on their second left tackle, fourth left guard, third center and third right tackle.
Right tackle Tytus Howard and center Juice Scruggs should return from injured reserve after two more games.
No lineman registered a sack or a tackle for loss.
Only one hit on the quarterback was recorded, and that was by end Will Anderson Jr. The linemen got steamrolled in the running game.
The Colts had 126 yards rushing and averaged 5.5 yards a carry. They also ran for three touchdowns. The linemen played a role in each of them.
Like the linemen, they didn’t have a sack or a tackle for loss.
They had no hits on the quarterback. They didn’t tackle particularly well, and they got knocked backward too many times in the run game.
Not an impressive performance at all.
No interceptions. Forced to make too many tackles. Only one pass defensed by Steven Nelson in the first quarter.
They had physical and mental mistakes. They also played without injured starting safeties Jalen Pitre and Jimmie Ward.
Punter Ty Zentner is no Cam Johnston. He had a 42.3-yard gross punting average and a 35.7 net.
Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked field goals of 29 and 36 yards and missed from 51. Tank Dell had a 13-yard punt return.
Let’s be honest: When you have an injury-depleted offensive line like the Texans have, it’s going to affect play calls and execution.
It’s not surprising the running game and pass protection have been so dreadful. It is surprising the defense looked so bad, including against the run.
The Texans got outplayed and outcoached in their home opener. They’ve got to do better.
John McClain can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on SportsRadio 610 and Monday, Thursday and Sunday on Texans Radio, also on SportsRadio 610. He writes five columns a week and does three Houtopia Football Podcasts for SportsRadio610.com.