First downs came extremely easy to the Houston Texans to start this game. Before this game, the Indianapolis Colts owned the No. 1 scoring defense in the league, but Houston moved the ball at will both through the air and on the ground. Steve Slaton and Chris Brown combined for 81 rushing yards in the first half, never breaking a run longer than nine yards, but showing excellent consistency.
The offensive line was dominant in opening holes. In turn, the Texans nearly doubled Indianapolis’ first-half time of possession. With Colts pass rusher Dwight Freeney out of the lineup, Matt Schaub had an awful lot of time to survey the scene and deliver his throws from the pocket. Schaub’s first incomplete pass was one that Andre Johnson should have caught in the end zone that would have put Houston up 21-0.
From there, Houston began to settle for field goals rather than touchdowns, which everyone knows who reads this blog knows is a recipe for disaster against Peyton Manning.
It was a tale of two halves. As the second half went on and the pressure mounted on Houston’s offense to keep up with Manning, the Texans crumbled. The Colts’ hurry-up offense in the fourth quarter really began to dictate the flow.
The momentum changed, and it was evident in the Texans’ body language and certainly with their performance. That is the pressure that playing against Manning brings to every opponent. Houston committed too many penalties, but their inability to finish remains a massive problem.
Manning has thrown multiple interceptions in three straight games and was on the ground more in this game than usual, but in the end -- as usual --he stepped up his performance and of his teammates when it mattered most.