“I’m not happy right now of course, but there are definitely some things we can take from this,” Stroud said. “We did a lot of good things both offensively and defensively. Once we get that together on both sides and play as a team, watch out because this team is ready to win."
Houston took one step forward and two steps back on Sunday.
The Texans (0-2) came into the week after a strong defensive performance against Baltimore but with an offense that struggled. They hoped to build on the defense and fix some offensive problems going itno a winnable game against the Colts in Houston’s home opener.
Instead though, it was a reverse of what happened last week. The Texans offense took a step forward, but the team’s defense struggled mightily, as the Texans faced an early deficit and were unable to turn things around in a 31-20 loss.
“I thought the guys on the offensive side of the ball got better today and showed improvements” said Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans. “But our defense wasn’t good enough. We have to be better up front, we didn’t stop the run and we didn’t tackle well. If you want to win games in this league you have to be better at that.”
The Colts got out to a hot start in the game, scoring on their first possession, which spanned seven plays and 75 yards, which Anthony Richardson capped off with an 18-yard run. Then the Texans gave the ball right back on a fumble inside their own 20-yard line. Indianapolis took advantage as Richardson ran in another score from 15 yards out on the next play.
Houston came back with a strong drive of its own after that. CJ Stroud led an effecent drive that went 68-yards on 13 plays, which Stroud capped off with his first NFL touchdown, an eight-yard pass to Nico Collins as the Texans found their footing in the game.
Houston’s defense held the Colts scoreless their next two drives, but couldn’t keep things up all the way to halftime, the Colts strung together another long drive early in the second quarter which Zach Moss ended with an 11-yard touchdown, putting the Texans down 14. Houston came back with a field goal drive to trim things but the Colts answered right back with a long touchdown drive right before halftime.
“We just have to keep getting better,” Ryans said. “We have to get better throughout the game and better throughout the week of practice. There were too many self inflicted wounds that hurt us today, whether it’s on defense or offense. You have to control what you can control and not help the other team.”
The Colts added a field goal midway through the third quarter and the Texans responded with a 36-yard field goal and then a touchown pass from Stroud to Tank Dell, the first touchdown of Dell’s career, but couldn’t muster anything else to get closer.
Two bright spots for the team was Stroud and Collins. Stroud looked very solid despite playing with an offensive line missing four starters. He finished the game with 384 yards passing, completing 30 of 47 attempts with two touchdowns while looking in control of the offense. Collins meanwhile had seven receptions for 146 yards as the two players chemistry seemed to blossom. Tank Dell and Robert Woods both added over 70 yards receiving as the Texans pass game showed improvements.
“We got better and took steps forward as an offense,” Stroud said. “From getting in and out of the huddle to executing plays you could see that improvement. But we have to keep taking steps and getting better. Our operation has to be clean, we have to get guys lined up right and we have to do better in the red zone. We’re putting in that work to make it happen and we’re going to try our best to continue to do that.”
The Texans will play Jacksonville on the road next before heading back to NRG to play the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I’m not happy right now of course, but there are definitely some things we can take from this,” Stroud said. “We did a lot of good things both offensively and defensively. Once we get that together on both sides and play as a team, watch out because this team is ready to win. We just have to keep getting better and putting it together in all three phases. I’m excited to get to work on it.”
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