The Colts took a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter and a 28-10 lead by halftime. Houston managed to pull within 11 points by game's end after a field goal from Texans kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn and a touchdown reception from receiver Tank Dell. Colts quarterbacks Anthony Richardson and Gardner Minshew combined for 227 passing yards. Richardson added two rushing touchdowns and 35 rushing yards on three carries.
“What I say to our guys after this is, ‘We can't wait till the second half,'” Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans said, via Texans Wire Managing Editor Mark Lane. “Like I did see improvement from game one to game two from our offense, but our defense took a step back. And we can't have the back and forth. We have to be consistent, and that's the one thing. Be consistent and don't have self-inflicted wounds that you're too far behind and have to catch up.”
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Stroud ended the game with 384 passing yards and two passing touchdowns. He threw his first NFL touchdown to wide receiver Nico Collins, firing a quick strike to the third-year wide receiver to put Houston within striking distance of Indianapolis in the first quarter. He followed up a Texans rookie debut that saw him record 242 passing yards and 28 completions.
Stroud has 58 completions in his first two games, putting him only behind Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow for the second-most in NFL history, according to Texans Insider and Lead Writer Deepi Sidhu. He must continue his impressive passing performances when the Texans face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 24.
Collins led Houston with 146 receiving yards on seven receptions. He continuously corralled passes from Stroud in stride as the game went on, breaking and dodging tackles on his way to the first 100-yard game of his three-year career, according to The Associated Press Sports Writer Kristie Rieken.
“I watched a couple of games last year, and he was always open,” Stroud said, via Rieken. “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.”
Dell added 72 receiving yards and one touchdown on seven receptions. The first-year wide receiver worked well with short-yard passes from Stroud, highlighting his night with a 23-yard touchdown catch after he broke a tackle and raced towards the endzone in the fourth quarter.
“Tank will continue to grow,” Ryans said, via Texans TV Host Drew Dougherty. “He has the right mindset. He plays football the right way. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. I'm excited to continue to see Tank progress.”
The Texans defense finished the home game with 57 tackles, one pass deflection and one quarterback hit. Texans safety M.J. Stewart led the squad with 10 tackles, including six solo.
The Colts ended the game with a total of 126 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns, including two from Richardson. Indianapolis running back Zach Moss rushed for an 11-yard touchdown on a second-and-three in the red zone, putting the Colts up by two touchdowns with 9:43 remaining in the second quarter.
“Defensively today, we weren't good enough,” Ryans said, via Sidhu. “If we want to be a good defense, it all starts up front — stopping the run. We did not stop the run. We did not tackle well. Fundamental football wasn't good enough.
“If you want to win games in this league, we've got to play better. Third-down situational football, red zone, again, wasn't good enough. We gave them four ops in the red zone, and they scored on all four ops. For us, we have to eliminate teams scoring in the red zone. We have to own it and make them kick field goals. We didn't do that today.”