On Short Week For Texans, Colts Present Challenges Similar To Ravens

The Texans face another bruising running game in the Colts

Brandon Scott
November 18, 2019 - 12:27 pm

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- Bill O’Brien is not expecting to see the exact same Colts team which beat the Texans about a month ago in Indianapolis. 

The Colts are doing some things differently, even within those several weeks. 

For one, safety Malik Hooker is back from a torn meniscus, which allows the Colts to play five defensive backs instead of four.

O'Brien is expecting similar elements to what tripped up the Texans against the Ravens on Sunday.

"(Hooker) is a great player. They have a lot of confidence in him because he has great range, instincts, size, ball skills. He's got it all," O'Brien said. "Last year, they played a lot of zone. This year, they're playing more (man-to-man defense). They've got a lot of good, disruptive players. Darius Leonard is a great player. Malik Hooker, the guys up front, (defensive end) Jabaal Sheard. 

"They've got a lot of good players on the defense. They really do a good job of playing disciplined football and being where they're supposed to be. So we've got to play disciplined and we've got to execute and see if we can out-execute them. That'll be the key to the game. That'll be the challenge."

The Colts beat the Texans through the passing game in week 7, with Jacoby Brissett throwing for 326 yards and four touchdowns. They got it done on the ground Sunday, running for 264 yards in a 33-13 win against the Jaguars, with two 100-yard rushers.

Houston just lost in resounding fashion to the best rushing offense in the NFL. 

Related: O'Brien on Loss to Baltimore: 'It was terrible'

On a short week, the Texans face another bruising running game in the Colts.

Head coach Frank Reich said Monday his team wants to run the ball, set up the play-action pass game with chunk plays downfield. 

“It starts up front with them, one of the best offensive lines in the league,” O’Brien said Monday. “They do a great job. They have a good scheme, good backs. The way their offense is run, it’s run through the quarterback (Brissett). He gets them into the right plays. 

“So they’re running the ball very well. To run it against Jacksonville, that’s a tough defense to run it against and they did a good job. So it’ll be a big challenge for us.”

There’s also some carryover from the dominant defensive performance shown by the Ravens on Sunday, to what the Texans will see against the Colts on Thursday. 

Their ability to play man-to-man defense effectively makes them a challenge for the Texans passing game, similar to the Ravens. 

After Sunday’s game, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talked about them mixing coverages against the Texans and being able to cover “extended plays.” They pressured Deshaun Watson and kept him inside of the pocket.

Indianapolis will try to do this as well. The Colts sacked Watson three times, hit him six times and intercepted him twice Oct. 20. 

Reich said what stood out to him about what the Ravens did Sunday was the pressure they put on Watson and the ability to stop the run. 

Watson was sacked seven times and hit 10 times. Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson had very limited success running the ball. Watson only had 12 yards on the ground.

“We’re going to see similar things,” O’Brien said. “Indianapolis plays a very disciplined defense, a very physical style of defense. They’re very well-coached by (defensive coordinator) Matt Eberflus. He does a great job. I’m not saying the schemes are the same, but there’s some carryover. So as coaches and players, we have to come together on a good game plan and we’ve got to do a great job of executing that game plan in a disciplined manner."

“We have to do a better job, which we’re up to that challenge.”

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