The Houston Texans bested the Indianapolis Colts 20-17 on Thursday night to take control of the AFC South. Conservative play-calling dominated the game, and ultimately cost Indianapolis a win. Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton and Texans receiver Will Fuller returned to the field from injuries, but only one had success.
The Colts deployed a run-heavy approach which allowed them to dominate time of possession. Without Marlon Mack on the field, Jonathan Williams had a huge night, while the performances from Jacoby Brissett and Hilton were lackluster.
The Colts drop to 6-5 and the Texans move to 7-4 on the season.
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Fuller has been out since injuring his hamstring the last time these two teams met in Week 7. He came back with a vengeance and caught seven of 11 targets for 140 yards. He is a reliable option for quarterback Deshaun Watson and is averaging 83 receiving yards in the seven full games he has played this year.
Hopkins also had a big game, catching six of eight targets for 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His first score of the evening came on a wide-open play with 1:53 remaining in the first half. On the second, he beat out Pierre Desir to start the fourth quarter and hauled in a 30-yard touchdown. This is his best game since Week 1 where he also caught two touchdowns, and while he will compete with Fuller for targets, his speed and play-making ability keep him in undisputed WR1 territory, even with the Patriots on deck in Week 13.
Williams was a popular Week 12 waiver wire add after Marlon Mack fractured his hand in Week 11 against the Jaguars. He had 26 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown, along with three catches for 17 yards on Thursday. He scored on a 13-yard rush with 5:36 left in the third quarter to put the Colts up 17-10. This is Williams’ second straight 100-yard game, and the second game in a row in which the Texans run defense was torched. Nyheim Hines was also involved with eleven touches for 61 yards. Williams has RB2 value with Mack sidelined.
It was a disappointing evening for Wilkins’ owners after the running back was declared active for this game. He laid a goose egg with zero touches in comparison to Williams’ 29. He missed Week 11 with an ankle injury, but had at least been involved in prior games. It will be the Jonathan Williams show until Mack returns.
Hilton missed three straight games with a calf injury and was on a “pitch count” for Week 12, according to head coach Frank Reich. Hilton caught three of six targets for 18 yards and trailed both tight ends, Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle, in receiving. Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers were non-factors and had a combined two targets.
Hilton failed to make two crucial second-half down catches. One was a pass on third-and-4 with 1:26 left in the third quarter at the Indianapolis 34-yard with the Colts up 17-13 . The second was on third-and-4 again, with 10:23 remaining in the fourth quarter near midfield, trailing 20-17.
Brissett looked sluggish and possibly still not 100% after injuring his MCL in Week 9 against the Steelers. Up against a leaky Texans’ secondary, Brissett completed 16 of 25 passes for 129 yards. He also had four carries for 20 yards and a rushing touchdown. Their conservative play-calling could hurt the Colts’ pass-catchers value for fantasy down the line. Brissett is a low-end QB2 moving forward.