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Market Monday: Stock Up and Stock Down for Colts vs. Texans

The Colts turned in their most complete game of the year, powered by performances from their star players as they improve to 2-4. (Video via Indianapolis Colts YouTube)

What a difference six days and a much lesser opponent can make.

The Indianapolis Colts came out firing on Sunday as they dominated the Houston Texans 31-3. It was easily the best all-around performance by the Colts this season and a welcomed sight after the collapse in Baltimore.

The Colts overmatched the Texans in every facet of the game and looked in control from start to finish. Most of the credit can be given to the Colts’ star players, who came out and had a major impact.

Let’s look at the members of the Colts who helped and hurt their stock after the impressive victory.

STOCK UP

Dec 20, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) runs the ball against Houston Texans cornerback Lonnie Johnson (32) in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium.

WR T.Y. Hilton

It’s no surprise “The Ghost” made his season debut against the Texans, a team he has consistently torched over his 10-year career.

It was thought that Hilton would have a good season paired with a quarterback like Carson Wentz, whose skill set matches Hilton’s strengths. If their first game together is any indication, this is going to be a fun connection to watch.

Hilton had four catches for 80 yards in his return, including a 52-yard completion. The deep threat is still present for the 31-year-old receiver, and his presence on the field helped open things up for the Colts’ offense. A solid performance by one of the best wide receivers in franchise history.

Oct 17, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown during the second half against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts win 31-3.

RB Jonathan Taylor

When the Colts headed into halftime up 10-3, Taylor only had three touches up to that point. That changed in the second half to the chagrin of the Texans.

Taylor finished with 14 carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor’s 83-yard run in the third quarter is the longest rush in Colts history.

“That’s what playmakers do,” head coach Frank Reich said about Taylor after the game. “We all know that’s what Jonathan is capable of. Obviously, the o-line got that play started and then receivers got to make plays down field. We talk about that a lot, we work hard at it. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to have a guy who can take it to the house and he’s one of those guys.”

This is Taylor’s third straight game with over 100 yards either rushing or receiving. It’s not a stretch to say the second-year back has established himself as the Colts’ top playmaker.

LB Darius Leonard

Leonard was visibly upset after the loss to the Baltimore Ravens. He felt like the defense was solely responsible for giving away the game. He made sure this week was a different story.

Leonard had seven tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble on the day. While his tackling numbers were not what he normally produces, the two turnovers were huge for the Colts and set the tone for the defense.

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The All-Pro linebacker is still not 100%, evident by his labored interception return. However, he has two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries through six games. The playmaking that Leonard has shown this year has been one of the few highlights of the Colts’ defense in 2021.

Oct 17, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich on the sideline in the second half against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium.

HC Frank Reich

Through the first six games, the play calling by Reich has been called into question numerous times. That wasn’t the case on Sunday.

Reich called a masterful game, mixing in aggressive deep shots with plays designed to move the chains. While the Colts went pass-heavy in the first half and took shots down the field, the second half turned into the Jonathan Taylor show with Reich relying on his star back.

Reich had full control over the game and got his players in a position to succeed. This allowed the offense to move the ball and put up their most points of the season, an encouraging sign moving forward.

STOCK DOWN

LT Eric Fisher

Fisher has yet to have a solid game as a member of the Colts.

The veteran left tackle had issues with speed rushers once again, allowing numerous pressures on Wentz throughout the game. He was also called for a couple of false start penalties that hindered drives and put the offense behind the chains.

At this point, we should be seeing progress from Fisher, and it simply isn’t there. Fisher is five games into his Colts tenure, and the same mistakes and flawed execution are present. With the solid play of Chris Reed at left guard in Quenton Nelson’s absence, the question of whether Nelson should play at left tackle for Fisher when he returns is a fair one.

CB Xavier Rhodes

After a bounce-back 2020 campaign, 2021 has been a major struggle for Rhodes.

His struggles continued on Sunday, as Texans quarterback Davis Mills continually had success throwing Rhodes’ way. Numerous third downs were converted by Texans wide receivers when covered by Rhodes.

The Colts gambled this offseason, choosing to re-sign Rhodes to a one-year deal instead of looking for outside help at cornerback. Unless Rhodes can raise his level of play, this looks like a failure by the Colts’ front office.

Have thoughts on the Stock Up and Stock Down report following the Colts' victory over the Texans? Drop a line in the comments section below letting us know how you feel!


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