Texans to face red-hot Colts QB Andrew Luck

HOUSTON -- Heading into a crucial divisional matchup, the Houston Texans are catching Colts quarterback Andrew Luck at his best.

In his return after missing a game with a concussion, Luck finished 22-of-28 for 278 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions on Monday night against the Jets. Texans head coach Bill O'Brien praised Luck, saying, "I've always enjoyed watching him. Haven't always enjoyed coaching against him, but he's a great player.”

"Andrew's big, he can run, he's very accurate, he's very tough," O'Brien said. "He never thinks the play's over, so he's very difficult to sack. I mean, I just was watching a game where he basically made the play on his own in the red zone, scrambled around and fired a strike for a touchdown.

"Just a great player. Great player, very competitive guy."

Including Luck, here are six players to watch, courtesy of ESPN Colts reporter Mike Wells.


QB Andrew Luck: He showed zero signs of rustiness from missing a game due to a concussion when was basically playing 7-on-7 against the Jets on Monday. Luck was 22-of-28 for 278 yards for four touchdowns. The key was that Luck was only sacked once in the game. He'll be able to pick apart any defense in the NFL when he has time in the pocket. His 147.6 passer rating was a career high. The Colts will continue to ride Luck's ride arm down the stretch as they try to separate themselves from Houston and Tennessee in the division.

TE Dwayne Allen: He had a career game against the Jets when he had four catches for 72 yards. Three of those catches -- the first three in fact -- were touchdowns. He became the first Colts tight end to have three touchdown receptions in a game since Dallas Clark did it during the 2009 season. The key for Allen is to start a consistency streak. The Colts didn't give him a four-year contract that totaled nearly $30 million in the offseason to play well every other game.

WR T.Y. Hilton: There's a theme here. Hilton completes the trio that is playing well through the air. He picked up his fourth 100-yard receiving game when he had nine catches (on 10 targets) for 146 yards. Hilton has passed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the fourth straight season against the Jets. Here's a key stat about Hilton. The Colts are 6-0 this season when he has at least 80 yards receiving. The Texans held Hilton to three receptions for 49 yards in the first meeting.


S Mike Adams: The veteran finally recorded his first interception of the season against the Jets. It's surprising that it took him this long considering he had five interceptions in each of the past two seasons. The Colts rely on Adams to anchor the defensive backs because they're either starting second-year player Clayton Geathers or rookie T.J. Green back there at safety with Adams.

LB Edwin Jackson: The pressure will be on the second-year player to anchor the middle linebackers after veteran D’Qwell Jackson was suspended for four games for using performance-enhancing substances. Edwin Jackson just moved into the starting lineup Oct. 30 against Kansas City after Nate Irving, Sio Moore and Josh McNary failed to hold down the job in the middle. Edwin Jackson has 36 tackles and two sacks this season.

LB Trent Cole: He returned to the lineup after missing eight games while being on injured reserve with a back injury. Cole only had two tackles but he did got in and disrupted Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's timing on throw early in the game. The Colts need Cole to help fellow linebacker Erik Walden out in getting to the quarterback, especially with the set timetable on when Robert Mathis will be back from his bicep injury.