Top Stats to Know: Colts over Texans

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J.J. Watt set his sights on Andrew Luck, but the Colts QB had his eyes on on T.Y. Hilton all night.It was billed as a battle of Andrew Luck and J.J. Watt, and while the AFC South’s young superstars shined, they were far from alone in producing some eye-popping statistics in the most tightly contested Thursday night game of the season.

It’s better to be Luck-y

Andrew Luck threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to running back Ahmad Bradshaw and tight end Coby Fleener. Luck has thrown more touchdown passes this season (13) to tight ends and running backs, than any other quarterback in the league.

Andrew Luck by Target, Thu. vs HOU

Luck clicked on deep throws to T.Y. Hilton, going five-for-five on passes of 15 yards or more to No. 13, while connecting on just one-of-five such throws to others. Luck’s nine targets to Hilton averaged 20.8 yards downfield while his 35 targets to others averaged 5.6 yards from the line of scrimmage.

J.J. What?

After previously scoring on a reception and an interception, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt scored his third touchdown of the season, this time on a fumble recovery. Not only does he have more touchdowns this season than fantasy top picks LeSean McCoy and Matt Forte combined, he became the first player since Billy Stacy of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1961, and fifth player in NFL history, to score on a reception, interception and fumble recovery during the same season.

Watt also batted down three Andrew Luck passes. Entering Thursday’s game Watt had batted down just two passes all season. The three bat-down tied his career-high, and give him 31 since he entered the NFL in 2011. That’s seven more than any other player over that span.

T.Y. very much

T.Y. Hilton had a first quarter for the ages. His 223 yards were the second-most by a Colt, just one behind Raymond Berry’s 224 at Washington on November 10, 1957.

Hilton’s 147 first-quarter yards were the most in the opening stanza of a game since Buffalo’s Lee Evans had 205 receiving yards in Week 11 of 2006. Coincidentally, that game was also against the Texans.

Hilton ended the first half with 156 receiving yards to join Marvin Harrison (154 against San Diego) as the only Colts since the start of the Peyton Manning era with 150 receiving yards in the first half of a game.

This was Hilton’s 11th career 100-yard receiving game, moving him into sole possession of sixth-place on the Colts’ franchise list, behind the Who’s Who of Colts greats: Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Raymond Berry, Johnny Orr and Lenny Moore.

Foster owns the red zone

Since becoming the Texans primary ball carrier in 2010, nobody has scored as many rushing touchdowns from inside the opponents’ 20-yard line as Arian Foster who glided in for two more Red Zone scores against the Colts. His 41 red-zone rushing touchdowns are two more than another noted short-field powerhouse, Marshawn Lynch, who entering Sunday’s game with the Cowboys, ranks second on the list.

Foster’s two scores give him eight career touchdowns against the Colts, his most against any opponent. Since the NFL-AFL merger, only Maurice Jones-Drew (14), Antowain Smith (10), O.J. Simpson (10), John Riggins (9) and Thurman Thomas (9) have reached the end zone more often against the horseshoe-helmeted defense.