HOUSTON -- T.Y. Hilton seemed unstoppable against the Houston Texans in October. He had one of the best games any receiver has had against the Texans and it wasn't an outlier. Hilton has touchdown catches of 61, 70 and 59 yards against Houston. He has 611 yards and six touchdowns in his five games against Houston.
So how do they stop him?
Careful planning and increased physicality.
"You have to be physical with him," Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. "You have to make him earn it. obviously he's going to make his catches, but you have to make it a long day for him. You can't give him anything easy, nothing cheap. You can't give him the big explosive plays, the 50 and 60-yard catches."
They've seen that work for other teams on film against Hilton. He averages 99 yards per game this season, less than half what he gained in Houston this October. He's been kept under 100 yards seven times this season and under 70 yards four times.
"When guys challenge him, it's harder for him to get into his route and get downfield and get the vertical looks, to where [Colts quarterback] Andrew Luck will see him get jammed up pretty well and his read will go to someone else," Texans safety Kendrick Lewis said. "[The Texans will be] giving him different looks, but at times when we have the opportunity to press him and put our hands on him, [the Texans will] try to use that to slow him down."
Right now, Hilton ranks third in the NFL with 1,295 receiving yards. In the past he has had Joseph shadowing him, but it takes teamwork for players to keep an eye on him as he moves around quite a bit.
"It’s hard to locate him," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "It’s kind of like, relative to how we move [J.J.] Watt around where it’s hard to slide the protection to Watt or direct the run at him or away from him because you don’t know where he is. Relative to Hilton on offense, OK, how do you cover this guy when he’s over here at flanker, he’s in the slot, he’s at split end. Pep [Hamilton] does a really good job with him."