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3 takeaways from the Colts 21-7 Wild Card victory over the Texans

Wild Card Round - Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans were all set for their rubber match in the Wild Card round of the playoffs after alternating 3-point wins in each other’s house during the regular season.

This matchup was widely considered to be a bout between two very evenly matched teams, and it made sense that being an AFC South matchup for these two to put an interesting game together.

The Colts came in winning 9 of their last 10 games, but the Texans were at home, and that typically matters in the playoffs. In the end the Colts were able to stymie the Texans’ running backs, limit DeAndre Hopkins’ impact on the game, and continued to protect Andrew Luck as well.

The Colts will move on to the Divisional Round against the Kansas City Cheifs next weekend.

Here are a few takeaways from the Colts 21-7 Wild Card victory over the Texans.

Colts shut down Texans’ running backs, but couldn’t stop Watson from chewing up yardage with his legs

The Colts have been one of the better run defenses in the league throughout the season. This wasn’t anything that anyone expected from the Colts, especially considering the Colts’ past troubles in this area.

The Colts did not allow a 100-yard rusher this season, and tonight was no different. The Colts held the Texans’ running backs to 29 yards on the ground on just 8 carries (3.6 yards per carry), but quarterback Deshaun Watson was able to do his damage while escaping pressure from the Colts pass rush.

Watson ate up 76 rushing yards on his 8 carries, and while he was a real challenge for the Colts to get on the ground, it was also the best bet in terms of not allowing the other playmakers to take control of the game.

The Colts’ pass coverage was really good throughout the night, Watson struggled with his accuracy, the Colts’ defense dominated the Texans on third downs, and the Colts were able to do their part on the ground offensively as well.

Colts run game impresses against NFL’s top run defense

In their first two meetings the Colts had only amassed 91 total yards on the ground. The Texans have been the league’s best run defense in terms of yards per carry (3.4) during the regular season, so the Colts had their work cut out for them to establish the ground game.

Tonight, getting the running game going was not an issue. Marlon Mack broke out some really nice runs on the Colts second possession showing off his vision and speed. Mack also added a few more towards the end of the game, and Andrew Luck added some yardage by escaping pressure throughout the night as well.

Mack ripped off runs of 25, 26 and 29 yards tonight and pushed through the grind largely getting minimal, but tough, yardage (3.2 yards per carry) throughout the remainder of his carries. His ability to carry that with him throughout the remainder of the postseason will be key to the Colts viability as a threat.

Dontrelle Inman continues to impress

The Colts have had some major contributions from multiple players this season, but given his limited amount of games this season, I don’t know that you can underestimate how important Dontrelle Inman has been to the Colts offense.

This year with the Colts, Inman has earned his career-best catch percentage (71.8%) and his second-most touchdowns of his career in only 9 games with the Colts this season. Inman has become a late-down favorite for Luck and has earned every bit of the confidence he and Frank Reich have in him.

Inman came up big again tonight with his 4 catches, 53 receiving yards and wonderful route that produced a touchdown. With Ryan Grant producing nearly nothing, the lack of experience with some of the Colts younger receivers, Inman has become a real jewel for the Colts.

Additional takeaways:

  • The Colts hold Texans under 350 total yards
  • Colts convert 3 of 4 opportunities in the red zone
  • Colts hold Texans to 5-of-18 on third, and fourth down chances