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Colts snap counts vs. Texans: Week 13

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Numerous injuries left the Colts once again reaching into the depth chart for major contributions. Starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo was replaced by Le’Raven Clark and Chaz Green. Starting linebacker Bobby Okereke was replaced by quasi-starter Anthony Walker and some contributions from Zaire Franklin. Starting safety Khari Willis was replaced by Tavon Wilson.

These changes led to another atypical snap count report but ultimately was enough to get the job done on the road in Houston. The win brings the Colts to 8-4 on the season and into a tie for first place in the AFC South, a tie broken in favor of the Tennessee Titans who have a superior divisional record.


OFFENSE

As we continue to learn more about Philip Rivers’ toe injury, it’s pretty incredible to see him play at a high level. One of the more humorous observations is that Rivers’ lack of mobility pre-injury helps to reduce its impact. Suffice to say that players at most positions are asked to move and make more explosive leg and foot movements that might make playing impossible.

Still, Rivers has shown incredible toughness and continued to help lead the Colts to important wins.

P Rivers QB 66 96%
J Brissett QB 3 4%

Rookie Jonathan Taylor has really started to re-establish his role as the primary ball carrier in the Colts talented backfield. He finished the game with the team lead in carries (13), rushing yards (91), and all-purpose yards (135). He also scored a touchdown on a nice swing-pass from Philip Rivers who was able to identify a mistake in Houston’s defensive adjustments. None of the other ball carriers had much success as game script and blocking led to another relatively disappointing team rushing performance.

J Taylor RB 33 48%
N Hines RB 23 33% 4 14%
J Wilkins RB 13 19% 10 36%

At this point, it would come as a surprise if T.Y. Hilton didn’t have a big game at NRG Stadium in Houston. He broke out of his 100-yard game slump. He led the team in targets (11), receptions (8), receiving yards (110) and added a touchdown. Hilton looked quick and comfortable throughout the game and did almost all of his damage in the first half.

M Pittman WR 58 84%
Z Pascal WR 55 80% 8 29%
T Hilton WR 43 62%
A Dulin WR 8 12% 19 68%
D Harris WR 4 6%
M Johnson WR 1 1%

Another week where the Colts utilized a varied approach at tight end. Mo Alie-Cox continued to get the most work, likely to help block on the edge. Jack Doyle sees a lot of playing time for the same reason. Trey Burton’s blown block on 4th-and-1 in the red zone was partially responsible for the play failing. He also caught only one pass on three targets for 11 yards, and had a pretty bad drop. It wasn’t Burton’s best game.

M Alie-Cox TE 44 64% 4 14%
J Doyle TE 38 55%
T Burton TE 25 36% 5 18%

The Colts offensive line is missing Anthony Castonzo. Asking Le’Raven Clark or Chaz Green to step up as starters against J.J. Watt is begging for trouble. The Texans sacked Philp Rivers three times on Sunday, which is highly uncharacteristic. The group needs to get healthy and find the continuity it has for the last two seasons. Offensive line depth may require some additional attention in the coming offseason — as well as a future starter at left tackle for Castonzo when he decides to retire.

Q Nelson G 69 100% 4 14%
B Smith G 69 100% 4 14%
M Glowinski G 69 100% 4 14%
R Kelly C 69 100%
C Green T 64 93% 4 14%
L Clark T 5 7%


DEFENSE

The return of the Colts starting defensive line was huge in Houston. DeForest Buckner had two sacks and was credited for three quarterback hits. Justin Houston has three sacks, including one that resulted in a safety, which ties him for first in NFL history with four career safeties. Grover Stewart had a quarterback hit and helped to knock away a mishandled snap for the game-sealing fumble recovery.

This unit plays well together and keeping them on the field is huge in helping the Colts win football games.

D Buckner DE 53 83% 7 25%
D Autry DE 43 67% 5 18%
A Muhammad DE 41 64% 2 7%
G Stewart NT 36 56% 9 32%
J Houston DE 35 55%
T Lewis DE 28 44% 5 18%
T Stallworth DT 11 17% 5 18%
K Turay DE 9 14% 2 7%

Anthony Walker Jr. had an active day. He led the team with 10 tackles, defended a pass, and recovered the game sealing fumble late in the fourth quarter while the Texans were threatening. He also was called for defensive holding that led to a first down on what would have otherwise stalled a Texans drive and was called for holding on a punt return that negated an incredible return by Nyheim Hines.

In all, you have to be pretty happy with his total performance. It’d just be nice to see him clean up the mistakes in the future.

A Walker LB 64 100% 11 39%
D Leonard LB 64 100% 5 18%
Z Franklin LB 5 8% 24 86%

Kenny Moore had a monster ball game. He finished second on the team with eight tackles and added three passes defensed and an interception. It’s difficult to understand why Deshaun Watson attacked Moore so much throughout the game given how little that choice yielded positive results.

K Moore CB 64 100% 1 4%
X Rhodes CB 61 95%
T Carrie CB 36 56% 22 79%
R Ya-Sin CB 29 45% 5 18%

Julian Blackmon had another relatively quiet game. He still played every snap and did have a nice hit on a receiver occasionally but no passes defensed and at least partial responsibility for completely blowing coverage on Keke Coutee early in the game. When a receiver is deeper than your free safety, something is wrong.

J Blackmon FS 64 100%
T Wilson SS 61 95% 8 29%


SPECIAL TEAMS

The biggest special team story of the game may be that Nyheim Hines would have had a pretty strong day as a punt returner if not for penalties. Ryan Allen stepped in for Rigoberto Sanchez and gave the Colts reason to feel confident allowing Sanchez time to fully heal. Rodgrigo Blankenship had another perfect day, including a 42-yard field goal with just over a minute to play in the first half.

G Odum FS 24 86%
J Glasgow LB 24 86%
M Adams LB 19 68%
E Speed LB 14 50%
I Rodgers CB 13 46%
R Allen P 9 32%
R Blankenship K 9 32%
L Rhodes LS 9 32%
T Smith CB 6 21%
D Pinter G 4 14%