Nico Collins' performance one of few bright spots in Texans' loss to Colts in home-opener


(SportsRadio 610) - There was not a lot for Texans fans to feel good about after Sunday's home-opening loss to the Colts.

Rarely were the Texans competitive in this game, as the Colts took just five minutes to build an early 14-0 lead over the home team.

What did seem to go well was C.J. Stroud's connection with Nico Collins, the third-year wide receiver who had the best game of his career Sunday.

Collins finished with seven catches for a career-high 146 yards and a touchdown. It is the first 100-yard game of his career, which had been plagued by injuries in the first two seasons.

With a clean bill of health in year three, Collins is thriving so far. He has back-to-back games with catches for more than 20 yards, but also is a reliable intermediate weapon for Stroud.

"We've all been grinding in the offseason, all of the skill positions," Collins said on the Texans postgame show. "Offseason, OTAs, just for Sundays. I feel like the chemistry is going to keep building. And I feel like on my part, just working in the offseason on the small things to become a better overall receiver and not just being outside. I try to work on my game in the slot, just moving my hips right, my feet right. Just doing those small things throughout the offseason and continuing to work on that throughout the week, this whole season, and keep growing."

With the Texans trailing 14-0 in the first quarter, Stroud capped a 13-play, 68-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Collins.

The score doesn't happen without 3rd and 4, when Stroud connected with Collins on a slant for a 28-yard catch-and-run.

"It was exciting to see the game that Nico [Collins] had – one of the best games in his career," Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans said after the game. "Very encouraged with Nico. He's doing the work, and it’s showing on the field. He and C.J. [Stroud] are building a really good connection, and we're excited to see that continue to grow."

Stroud said after the game that Collins, a former Michigan receiver, was one of the first new teammates to reach out after the Texans drafted the former Ohio State quarterback No. 2 overall this past April.

"I already knew what he could do," Stroud said. "I watched a couple of games last year, and he was always open. And, if he wasn't, he was going to make a tough catch. With the type of receiver, just give him a shot, give him a chance, and he'll make the play. It's really fun working with a guy like that. He works really, really hard. He works on his body really, really hard.

"He's a big guy, and he's getting out of cuts really fast. I know it's hard on his limbs and everything. He's constantly in the training room. He's constantly asking me questions about the offense, and he's constantly just trying to get better. And I appreciate a guy like that. These were little glimpses of what is to come, and I think it's just more and more success, from not only me and him, but really this whole offense. I think that we'll just keep growing."

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