October 24, 2003
Colts Ready to Wear Texan-Sized Feed Bag
by Ric Sweeney
After suffering a disappointing loss to the Jets, the Texans attempt to regroup this Sunday against Peyton Manning and the 5-1 Colts. Not exactly what the doctor ordered, unless, of course, that doctor was Kervorkian. Last year, the Colts outscored Houston 42-6 in their two meetings.
This time around, the teams lock horns ranked 2nd (Indianapolis) and 3rd (Houston) in the AFC in total offense. And the Texans actually hold an edge in rushing yards per game, thanks in large part to Domanick Davis’ 129 yards last week against the Jets. And Davis will be facing an Indianapolis run defense only slightly better than New York’s. The Colts, of course, led by Manning, get to take a crack at a struggling Texan defense that has been particularly bad against the pass.
Houston has given up 366 yards a game and have watched several wide receivers post their biggest numbers of the year… not exactly encouraging news with perhaps the NFL’s best receiver, Marvin Harrison, on the Colts’ roster. And Manning and Harrison expect to, at long last, be reunited with the third member of their deadly trio, Edgerrin James, who’s missed the past three games after fracturing two bones in his lower back.
Making matters worse, the Colts are coming off a bye week, meaning they’ve had extra time to prepare for their meeting with Houston, while the Texans are still reeling from a last minute loss to the Jets. If only this were a playoff game… But there is good news. CB Aaron Glenn, who has been missed the past two games, is expected to play – or, at least, he wants to play – and DL Gary Walker, who has been slowed this year by various injuries, is also expected to play.
When the Texans have the ball…
Expect the Texans to feature Domanick Davis once again. Indy’s rush defense is average, at best, yielding 131 yards a game. Dom Capers will no doubt try to control the clock in an effort to keep Manning and Co. off the field; plus, the Colts’ defense has proven to be opportunistic this year. They’ve forced eight fumbles (recovering five) and intercepted seven passes through six games. The Texans will need to be careful with the rock.
When the Colts have the ball…
Manning is given carte blanche to call any play he wants once his team breaks the huddle, and it’s all based on the defense he sees across the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately for Houston, the defense he’ll be looking at Sunday is struggling, especially through the air. Expect Manning to attack a potentially gimpy, certainly rusty, Glenn and new safety Marlon McCree. And in Harrison and Reggie Wayne, Manning has the firepower to do so.
Aaron Glenn vs. Marvin Harrison
It’s hard to imagine that there’s a better wide receiver in football than Harrison. He leads the AFC in receiving yards with 587 and seems to catch anything thrown within five yards of his person. Glenn is a premiere corner, but he’s trying to come back from a groin injury, perhaps a week too soon. The Texans’ pass defense has struggled in his absence.
Houston’s pass rush vs. Peyton Manning
Manning has been sacked fewer times than any QB in the AFC. He’s smart, cunning, and difficult to read. He also has one of the best play action fakes in the game. But he can get rattled, especially if it’s late December or early January. And when rattled, as we saw last year, Manning has a tendency to turn the ball over. The Texans have eight sacks on the year, third fewest in the entire NFL. Getting Glenn back and Walker healthy could possibly help in this area.
Texans vs. Texans Last week, the Texans dominated New York offensively, piling up more yards, holding the ball for longer and avoiding turnovers. But penalties killed too many drives and after scoring 14 points on their first two drives, the Texans went the rest of the game scoreless. Against the Colts, they can’t slow themselves down.
1. Control the Clock
The easiest, most effective way of stopping the Colts’ offense is to keep them off the field. And with Domanick Davis, the Texans have a chance to do that this year. He’ll need another big game and QB David Carr will need to step up and pitch in when needed, especially on third down, in order to sustain drives and kill the clock, which becomes especially important with Houston’s pass defense struggling like it has of late.
2. Third Down
Houston is ranked 29th in 3rd down conversions, despite the fact they’ve drastically cut down on sacks allowed. Penalties are the biggest culprit, forcing David Carr into long yardage situations. Last week against the Jets, the Texans had to punt several times inside New York territory because of their inability to convert third downs. If they want to control the clock and keep Manning, et al, off the field, they are going to have to convert third downs. As a unit, the Colts are near the middle, defensively, on third downs.
3. Shake off the Jets
The Texans haven’t had too many games they should have won in their history; Sunday’s last minute loss to the Jets was arguably their first. How will they respond? Against a team as explosive as Indianapolis, they can’t afford to come out flat and then try and play catch up. They have to put New York behind them and focus. The first possession will be a key – a three-and-out stop or a long scoring drive would both go a long way.
Bob says: It’s a stampede. If Aaron Glenn isn’t playing, this will get ugly. Colts 38, Texans 16 Dave says: Indy’s simply better in every facet of the game right now. Colts 28, Texans 17 Jimmy says: Corky has a big game. Colts 38, Texans 24 Keith says: Texans caught looking ahead to "Battle Red Day". That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it. Colts 31, Texans 17 Ric says: The best offensive trio, for now, is still Manning, James and Harrison. Colts 38, Texans 20 Warren says: The Colts have too many weapons for the Texan D. Colts 34, Texans 21 2003 Regular Season Records
Bob 5-1; Dave 4-2; Jimmy 3-3; Keith 4-2;
Ric 3-3; Warren 4-2 Week 7 Preview Indianapolis Colts
2003 Record: (5-1)
10.26.03 | 3:15pm
Indianapolis, IN Texan Leaders David Carr
114/195, 1421 yds., 5/8 Domanick Davis
62/300, 4.8 YPC, 0TD Andre Johnson
31/466, 15.0 YPC, 2 TD Titan Leaders Peyton Manning
139/203, 1,593 yds, 12/5 Edgerrin James
72/263, 3.7 YPC, 1 TD
41/587, 14.3 YPC, 6 TD
2003 Schedule Date Opponent Result 08.09 Denver 12-20 08.15 at Dallas 6-34 08.23 San Diego 17-19 08.28 at Tampa Bay 3-34 Regular Season 09.07 at Miami 21-20 09.14 at New Orleans 10-31 09.21 Kansas City 14-42 09.28 Jacksonville 24-20 10.05 Bye — 10.12 at Tennessee 17-38 10.19 New York Jets 14-19 10.26 at Indianapolis 21-30 11.02 Carolina 14-10 11.09 at Cincinnati 27-34 11.16 at Buffalo 12-10 11.23 New England 20-23 11.30 Atlanta 17-13 12.07 at Jacksonville 0-27 12.14 at Tampa Bay 3-16 12.21 Tennessee 24-27 12.28 Indianapolis 17-20 Overall Record 5-11