Texans had the NFL’s best run defense, until the Colts dominated them

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The Texans had the best run defense in the NFL during the 2018 season, allowing a league-low 3.4 yards per carry, a league-low three runs of 20 yards or longer and a league-low 19.7 percent first down rate.

And then the Colts came to town.

Indianapolis absolutely dominated up front on Saturday, with the Colts’ offensive line consistently blowing the Texans’ defensive line off the ball, and opening huge holes for running back Marlon Mack. Mack finished with 148 yards on 24 carries, and the Colts as a team had 32 carries for 203 yards before three Andrew Luck kneeldowns left them with an even 200 yards on 35 carries.

That the Colts were able to so thoroughly dominate a good Texans front shows just how impressive the turnaround has been on their offensive line, led by stellar rookie guard Quenton Nelson. It also raises questions about whether the Texans’ defensive linemen are too quick to try to get around blocks instead of fighting through them. Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt are great pass rushers, but the Colts showed how to run on them.

Next the Colts head to Kansas City, where they’ll face a Chiefs run defense that allowed 5.0 yards per carry and gave up a first down on a league-worst 30.4 percent of rushing attempts. The Chiefs had better figure out how to stop that Colts running attack.

28 responses to “Texans had the NFL’s best run defense, until the Colts dominated them

  1. Both the Texans and the Chiefs are regular season warriors who cruble every year in the playoffs.

    Indy over the Chiefs.

  2. Real football with big time running backs is coming back into vogue. Not this deal with 60 dink and dunk pass plays every game, as it’s been most this century. Colts and Cowboys are proof.

  3. Come on, who did the Texans really beat all year???
    the Colts did nothing special. They knew if they could make Watson throw the ball, they would win.
    I keep telling people, that Watson is just a slightly better RGIII, he is a gimmick, one hit wonder.
    in all reality, the Texans should have been the 5th seed, but the league still rewards mediocre teams with higher seeds, simply because they won a pathetic division

  4. The AFC Divisional Finalist banner is being made right now for after the Chiefs whoop the Dolts.

    So hard to take the Colts seriously as a franchise. 🙂

  5. I believe the Colts used the Eagles offensive plan from two weeks ago against the Texans. They also put Clowney on his arse throughout the game which was excellent. J.J. Watt did make two tackles for loss in the first period then ran out of ⛽️ gas. Anyone who watches pro football knows an Andy Reid coached team is not advancing in the playoffs. Mahomes had a great year but you can see his act waning. Good to see Frank Reich having success with Colts.

  6. If Colts do win and then have to go to NE it becomes a mare for them because Brady will happily slice and dice that zone defense and Pats will confuse Luck. When Colts went to Foxboro in Oct, the still-struggling 2-2 Pats won it easily 38-24 in a scoreline that flatters the Colts as the Pats dominated early and essentially controlled the game.

  7. GoodellMustGo says:
    January 6, 2019 at 9:22 am

    So hard to take the Colts seriously as a franchise.

    I don’t know, there is a lot to like about this Colts team.

    Grigson is long gone and Ballard has obviously done a great job of patching up the roster. Reich has done a great job of coaching that roster. If the Colts could just get rid of the Irsay ownership, they would really be in great shape.

  8. I didn’t watch this game so I can’t break the Colts running game down scientifically as the great Tony Bruno would say. I do know that when Andrew Luck was at Stanford the Cardinal would dominate teams with their running attack due to in larger part Andrew Luck’s ability to get them in the right running play with his pre-snap reads.

  9. It doesn’t help if your offense is garbage and your defense has to be on the field all the time. Well, at least Watson got to celebrate a couple times when he ran for first downs.

  10. – Teach Clowney to play with discipline

    – Teach the D-line to wait for the ball to be snapped

    – Teach Watson how to throw a football

  11. The chiefs better figure out a way to stop the colts rushing attack. You know how long us Colts fans have been waiting to hear someone say that about our run game? I love this team.

    Pat fans also need to realize, that last game we played against them, we were missing quite a few of our stars due to injury and we hadn’t caught fire yet. This isn’t the same team as then.

  12. torgow says:
    January 6, 2019 at 11:21 am
    – Teach Clowney to play with discipline
    – Teach the D-line to wait for the ball to be snapped
    – Teach Watson how to throw a football
    All good points. Your first two points require a coach who can teach. Your third point requires a real OC and QB Coach. Texans have neither!

  13. Colts looked very good early. Seemed to change as the game went on. Don’t know if Romeo made an adjustment or the colts wanted to milk the clock. Last three quarters went 7-0, Texans. Neither team looked impressive in second half.

  14. What’s disturbing is the Colts did not score the last 2 quarters. How to explain that? Watson was not accurate in his throws and Mahomes is exceptional in his accuracy. Mahomes will be scoring and let’s hope Luck will too. The better team team will win, that’s for sure. Just enjoy the remaining games, folks. The Cowboy’s and Seahawks’ defense were fierce. Just fun to watch.

  15. Remember when the Colts had the worst run defense in the league and had to play the Chiefs in the playoffs, who had Larry Johnson tearing it up every week? But the Colts got Bob Sanders back and their run defense suddenly turned around?

    Maybe this year’s Chiefs have an even better safety they’ve been waiting for the playoffs to fully unleash. Oh hey Eric Berry, didn’t see you there.

  16. Why do people keep hating on the Texans schedule? You realize the Colts played the same teams right?

  17. Colts and Texans were neck and neck this season. Neither team had difficult schedules and both teams started out awful..0-3 and 1-5.

    The Colts beat the Texans once and the Texans beat the Colts once…both games were decided by a few points.

    The Texan’s offense didn’t show up at home for the playoffs and their defense got a late start. The Colts were completely shut out in the second half, but the Texan’s offense couldn’t capitalize. It really is that simple.

    The Colts line protected well…and Hilton got his catches. Not a mystery.

    Watson’s passes were way off, guess the bloody finger on his throwing hand was a pretty good indicator as to why.

    Billy O’ haters are gonna hate and constantly blame him for poor performance by the players every time they lose and Colt’s fans are gonna gloat after a win. Both to be expected…

    The Texans are a good cornerback, an offensive coordinator to help Billy and two good tackles away from being real tough contenders for the next several years. This is not difficult to fix in one offseason.

    The AFC South is steadily getting back to being one of the toughest divisions in the league again. Especially if the Jags do something about their QB situation.

    Texans walked away from the season 11-5 after starting off 0-3. They walked away with the AFC South Division title and a playoff berth. It could’ve been a lot worse. All things considering…they remain 4 out of 5 winning seasons and 3 AFC South titles under Billy O. The only real fluke was last season, when they were historically and completely disseminated by injuries on both sides of the ball.

    They know what they need address in the offseason. Hopefully, they do it right this time instead of trying to fix the o-line on the cheap.

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