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What We Learned: Colts vs. Texans Week 1

What did we learn from the Indianapolis Colts’ tie with the Houston Texans in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season?

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

0-0-1. That’s the record for the Indianapolis Colts after their Week 1 tie against the Houston Texans on Sunday.

It started as a game to forget for the Colts. Sloppy, self-inflicting turnovers, offensive line struggles, and missed defensive assignments were some of the reasons Indianapolis found themselves trailing 20-3 through much of the game.

Here’s what stood out most from the Colts’ Week 1 performance:

  • Colts’ self-inflicting mistakes lead to an early deficit:

The Colts couldn’t get out of their own way, committing far too many self-inflicted errors on both sides of the ball, which ultimately contributed to the team’s 20-3 deficit through three quarters.

Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan, despite playing fairly well (352 passing yards and a touchdown), had some exchange issues with center Ryan Kelly and fumbled a few different snaps. Those mistakes, along with two touchdown drops from wideouts Alec Pierce and Ashton Dulin, and missed assignments from the defense, simply cannot happen.

The Colts eventually figured things out and cleaned up their sloppy play later in the game. When facing better opponents over the next few weeks, Indianapolis needs to avoid making the same mistakes they did Sunday.

  • Jonathan Taylor picks up where he left off in 2021:

It was business as usual for running back Jonathan Taylor on Sunday. He gashed Houston’s defense for 161 rushing yards and a touchdown, helping the Colts climb back into the game in the fourth quarter.

Although there were some offensive line struggles early on, Taylor still managed to find ways to pick up yardage on the ground, averaging 5.2 yards per carry, and the Texans, especially in the fourth quarter, had a hard time stopping the All-Pro running back.

When the Colts’ passing attack had some miscues, they put the ball in the hands of Taylor, their best offensive playmaker, and he came up clutch in critical situations.

  • Kwity Paye shows flashes of stardom:

Second-year defensive end Kwity Paye helped spark a Colts’ pass rush that had struggled to get home for a majority of Sunday’s game. Paye recorded six total tackles and a career-best two sacks in overtime.

We know how strong of a run defender Paye is, but he showed flashes of stardom against Houston. Paye’s 2022 campaign is off to a tremendous start, and his development is going to play a crucial role in the success of the Colts’ pass rush this season.

  • Matt Ryan to Michael Pittman Jr. connection is off to a fast start:

Wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. had a very impressive game and was Matt Ryan’s go-to target for much of Sunday’s game.

Pittman Jr. hauled in nine receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown and helped the Colts’ offense convert multiple third-downs.

While Pittman Jr.’s performance stood out, it’s also fair to say that the the third-year wideout can’t be asked to carry the load at his position. The Colts will need their other playmakers to step up this season if they wish to have a more balanced passing attack.