The first half started with the defense picking up where it left off against the Bengals, stuffing any attempt to run the football and playing tight coverage in the secondary. One of the keys to the game, getting T.Y. Hilton involved in the offense went to plan as well, as Jacoby Brissett connected for a 45-yard touchdown and put the Colts up 7-0 early.
It wasn’t until inside linebacker Jeremiah George got caught up in traffic on a designed pass to Lamar Miller that the Texans could get anything going. A penalty for a “horse collar-type tackle” added 15 yards to the end of Miller’s big play to set up the Texans in Colts territory. After DeAndre Hopkins was called for an offensive pass interference penalty that backed up Houston in a first and twenty situation, the officials bailed out Tom Savage with a weak roughing the passer penalty on Henry Anderson. Despite the gift of a first down and better field position, Houston had to settle for a field goal try — which they missed (the football Gods smote the officials).
After another offensive drive that featured a long pass to T.Y. Hilton, the Colts got back on the board with a field goal. This pushed the lead to 10-0. While it is certainly good that the offense was able to drive down the field, red zone efficiency is still a problem. Indianapolis cannot afford to get within the 10 yard line and only score field goals.
After Tom Savage hit on a nice 29-yard pass to Will Fuller in the middle of the Colts zone, outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard picked up a strip sack that was recovered by the Texans offensive line. Another hit on Savage resulted in an errant throw that fell incomplete. On third and long, the Colts allowed a short pass in front of them that had no chance to get a first down. This resulted in a punt that went into the end zone for a touch back, giving the Colts a chance to run a two minute drill going into the half.
As per usual, just when the Colts looked to have the game in hand, Jacoby Brissett makes a big mistake. When you’re running a two minute drill with a 10 point lead, you’re hoping to use clock and potentially get a touchdown or a field goal before the half. Standing in the pocket scanning the field for a long time on third and medium distance is simply stupid. Allowing a strip sack returned for a touchdown when your defense hasn’t allowed Houston to get anything going is inexcusable.
This pushed the score to Colts 10 - Brissett 7 at the half. Indianapolis will get the ball to start of the second half.