CARTER: Takeaways from Colts’ 31-20 win over Texans

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - AUGUST 24: Anthony Richardson #5 of the Indianapolis Colts warms up against the Philadelphia Eagles during the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 24, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Colts defeated the Eagles 27-13. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - AUGUST 24: Anthony Richardson #5 of the Indianapolis Colts warms up against the Philadelphia Eagles during the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 24, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Colts defeated the Eagles 27-13. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Before I go on this long spiel about yesterday’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans, let me shed some light on why I’m writing this. 

I grew up in a family that rooted for the Colts after they packed up and fled Baltimore in the middle of the night in 1984 and moved to a city that was ruled by auto racing and basketball. But after drafting some guy named Peyton Manning and having some success, the Colts are now one of the staples of Indiana’s capital. 

I have seen it all. I’ve watched the Horseshoe go through years with fans wanting never to miss a Sunday. On the flip side, I’ve also sadly witnessed years that some questioned if they should even turn on the game. 

With that being said, I will be doing one of these every Monday following a 2023-24 Colts game. Warning: I’m just some guy who watches the National Football League. If you usually tune into columns by experts and actual columnists, well, don’t expect to find that type of work here. 

Now, after an intro that is probably too long, here are my thoughts about the Colts’ 31-20 victory over the Texans.

Anthony Richardson is the guy… when he’s not injured

When Richardson was drafted, two things ran through my tiny brain. One, the Colts will finally have a quarterback that won’t be a statue and a revolving door. Two, please don’t be injury-prone like former quarterback Andrew Luck. 

Well, the thought about his mobility was right. In his second career start, the 22-year-old scored two rushing touchdowns on Indianapolis’ first two offensive drives. Then, the second thought happened as he suffered a concussion on his second scoring rush. 

Here we go again. I’m probably freaking out over nothing, and if you know me, I happen to do that a lot. The fact of the matter is this. He’s gotten injured in two straight games. First, there were reports about his leg during the loss to Jacksonville. Now it’s a concussion. 

I like Richardson, even though it may sound like the opposite. There are a lot of Colts fans who might be wondering if he’ll be another Luck. And the comparisons are there. Both have amazing talent, but they’ve both shown no signs of sliding and their bones are made of glass. 

Once again, it’s week two. The Colt’s No. 4 draft pick will be back, unlike a quarterback in New York. 

The defensive line is the best part of the team

Last season, the Colts were bad. Very bad. I mean, they looked like a junior varsity team. There was nothing that stood out. So when the defensive line performed well in week one, I thought it was a fluke. 

Yesterday, they did it again. Yes, before readers argue that they were playing the awful Texans, let me get this out there. The Colts went into an away American Football Conference (AFC) South road game and took the dub. That has not happened since 2021. 

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Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. Josh Hallett, photo courtesy

Any road game in the NFL is hard. The big men up front dominated in the hostile environment. Whether it was Deforest Buckner or Kwitty Paye, the defensive line was able to get to Houston rookie quarterback CJ Stroud and force incompletions or record a sack. It was honestly nice to watch a game where I could count on the Colts to collapse the pocket. 

However, this makes me laugh. Someone recently reminded me to look at the current defensive line. Colts general manager Chris Ballard has spent a lot of money on that group, and guess what? They’re performing well. Imagine what would happen if he did that with the defensive backs, wide receivers, and maybe paid Jonathan Taylor. 

But hey, I’m just a fan. 

Some final thoughts

Gardner Minshew does deserve some credit. After coming in for Richardson, the former AFC opponent stepped up for the shoe and went 19-for-23 with 171 passing yards and one touchdown pass. He looked really good, but I worry if he will be able to keep that up if he has to start. So far, there has been no update on Richardson’s injury.

Another thing that stood out to me was the offensive line. Last year, it was a nightmare when quarterback Matt Ryan dropped back (it was probably scarier for him than for us fans). So far, they have not looked awful. They still need to find a more trustworthy person at right guard. I’m not sure if Will Fries is the answer.

Ballard could fix the issues if he spent some money there. 

With the first two games of the 2023 campaign in the books, I think it’s safe to say that this Colts season might go better than expected. 

But what do I know? They could lose the next 15 games. 

Contact Zach Carter with comments at zachary.carter@bsu.edu or on X@ZachCarter85.

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