Indianapolis Colts 2002 Record: (1-1) 09.22.02 | 12pm
September 19, 2002
Back to the Drawing Board
by Jimmy Mohr
The Texans entertain the Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at Reliant Stadium this Sunday in their first divisional game of the season. Last Sunday, the Texans looked like an expansion team while the San Diego Chargers throttled them, 24-3. The Texans’ pitiful offense could only muster 118 net yards for an average gain of 2 yards, and managed only seven first downs the entire game. Even more disturbing was the complete lack of discipline the team displayed by committing twelve penalties for 73 yards.
The only bright spot was the respectable play of the defense. They forced the Chargers to punt ten times and held them to a 29% third down efficiency rating. Individually, Jamie Sharper led the team with seven solo tackles, establishing himself as the leading tackler on the team. Sharper and the rest of the defense will come in handy against Peyton Manning & Co. The Colts offense is averaging 369.5 yards per game and the ground game averages better than four yards per carry.
The Colts offense is a three pronged attack consisting of Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison. James is averaging better than 100 yards per game on the ground and Manning and Harrison form a lethal tandem through the air. The problem for the Colts offense has been the red zone and turnovers. Last week, they were inside the 20 five times and scored only 13 points and Manning threw three interceptions.
As talented as the Colts offense is, it has been unable to compensate for a porous defense that ranked 28th overall last season. In an attempt to improve the defense, Head Coach Jim Mora was fired and Tony Dungy was brought in after leading Tampa Bay’s defense to a top five ranking last year. After two games this season, the pass defense has improved, but the front line is being manhandled. This should bode well for the Texans, James Allen and Jonathan Wells should have big games. If they can’t run against the Colts, it will be a long season for David Carr.
When the Texans have the ball…
Is there an offensive lineman in the house? David Carr hasn’t eaten a meal since Sunday with all the grass he swallowed in San Diego. This week, expect the Texans to continue to stress the running game. As bad as it was last week, James Allen did average 3.9 yards per carry, considerably better than Corey Dillon’s 10 rushing yards against the Chargers in week one. The Colts have showed little resistance to the ground game against Miami and Jacksonville, and Houston would like to add its name to the list. OC Chris Palmer has said that he wants to hand the ball to Allen and/or Wells at least 25-30 times per game.
When the Colts have the ball…
Peyton Manning will throw the ball at least 30 times this week and Marvin Harrison will be his primary target. The Texans will have to double team Harrison if they want to limit his impact on the game. Edgerrin James will be just as involved; expect him to rush the ball around 25 times and also serve a target for Manning in the air. James and Harrison account for over half of the completed passes from Manning, both will require personal attention from the Texans defense.
1. Limit penalties & sacks Penalties and sacks accounted for a loss of 131 yards last week. Not to mention the positive yards lost after a play was called back on a penalty. The Texans are not a strong enough team to overcome senseless penalties and countless sacks. It is only a matter of time before Carr ends up missing games due to an injury if he continues to finish plays staring up at the sun. It is time for the Texans offensive line to step up against a mediocre Colts defense and give Carr time to throw the football.
2. Offensive production Of the Texans 16 possessions against the Chargers, 13 of them gained fewer than eight yards. Nine times they produced zero or minus yardage. Granted, the offensive line is decimated by injuries, but this is ridiculous. Either the Cowboys game was a fluke or the Chargers are a team of destiny. Fortunately, the Colts defense offers an opportunity for the Texans offense to gain some confidence back. If the Texans fail to successfully run the ball on Sunday, there is little hope of winning games until Ryan Young, Ryan Schau and Tony Boselli return to the starting lineup.
The Texans’ secondary has proven to be a definite strength on the field. Both QB’s the Texans have encountered failed to pass for more than 200 yards. Peyton Manning will be more of a test, but he is prone to the interception. Manning loves to throw to Marvin Harrison, whether he is double teamed or not. The opportunities to make plays and win the turnover battle will be there; it is up to Aaron Glenn and Marcus Coleman to make Manning pay.
Jamie Sharper vs. Edgerrin James
The Texans’ leading tackler faces off against one of the premier backs in the game. James’ effectiveness is the key to the Colts success. If Sharper and his amigos can limit his total yards, they have won a big battle.
Peyton Manning vs. Vic Fangio
Manning can certainly be flustered (he threw 3 interceptions last week) and Fangio should know which buttons to push, having been the Colts’ defensive coordinator the past three years. Fangio also has at his disposal two CBs (Glenn and Coleman) who have faced Manning twice a year the past four seasons.
The fans vs. The boo birds
If these were the Oilers, the fans in attendance on Sunday would boo them out of Reliant. For now, the fans will cut their "expansion" team some slack, but if the offense suffers like it did against the Chargers, look for the paper sacks to make an appearance.
HoustonProFootball.com’s hard working… working staff weigh in with their predictions for this week’s game.
Bob: Manning burns Coleman and company several times. Carr rebounds with a decent day but too little, too late. Colts 34, Texans 20
Dave: Their defense has enough to bail out their fraud QB. Cowboys 19, Texans 10
Jimmy: The Texans bring down the house when they finally score a TD… on defense. Colts 30, Texans 16
Keith: The Colts expose a secondary that is inconsistent in coverage and below average in tackling. Colts 34, Texans 20
Ric: On my birthday, Texans shock Corky and the underwhelming Colts. Texans 17, Colts 13
Warren: The Texans make somewhat of a game of it at home. Colts 27, Texans 17
2002 Regular Season Records Bob 1-1; Dave 1-1; Jimmy 2-0; Keith 2-0;
Ric 1-1; Warren 1-1
TEXANS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/IN Carr 47 16 232 2/3 TEAM 47 16 232 2/3 RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Allen 32 107 3.3 0 TEAM 60 167 2.8 0 REC NO YDS AVG TD Bradford 5 123 24.6 1 TEAM 16 232 214.5 2 COLTS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/INT Manning 76 45 500 4/3 TEAM 76 45 500 4/3 RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD James 56 237 4.2 0 TEAM 59 247 4.2 0 REC NO YDS AVG TD Harrison 15 178 11.9 2 TEAM 45 500 11.1 4 PRESEASON 8.05 GIANTS 17-34 8.10 @ Saints 13-10 8.17 @Chiefs 9-19 8.24 DOLPHINS 3-24 8.30 BUCCANEERS 13-17 REGULAR SEASON 9.08 COWBOYS 19-10 9.15 @ Chargers 3-24 9.22
3-23 9.29 @ Eagles 17-35 10.06 OPEN 10.13 BILLS 24-31 10.20 @ Browns 17-34 10.27 @ Jaguars 21-19 11.03 BENGALS 3-38 11.10 @ Titans 10-17 11.17 JAGUARS 21-24 11.24 GIANTS 16-14 12.01 @ Colts 3-19 12.08 @ Steelers 24-6 12.15 RAVENS 19-23 12.22 @ Redskins 10-26 12.29 TITANS 3-13 OVERALL 4-12 click on a team to read the GameDay Preview; click on the score to read the GameDay Review