NFL playoffs 2019: Three takeaways from Colts' dominating win over the Texans

NFL playoffs 2019: Three takeaways from Colts' dominating win over the Texans

The Colts dominated the Texans in the first game of wild-card weekend Saturday as they took down Houston 21-7 to move on to the AFC divisional round.

Andrew Luck was brilliant as he finished 19-of-32 passing for 222 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

The Texans dug themselves a hole and could never climb out as they got down 21-0 at the half.

Here are three takeaways from the Colts’ dominating win over the Texans on Saturday.

The AFC should be horrified of the Colts

No one will want to play the Colts after this game. The defense is way better than people think and the offense can beat you in multiple ways. Indianapolis can convert short third downs with pick plays to tight ends and it can beat you over the top with T.Y. Hilton.

But what’s even scarier is Quenton Nelson has completely changed the temperament of the offensive line. Luck now has time to throw and the Colts can run the ball, and almost all of that can be traced back to when Nelson found his way early in the season. Unfortunately for Jadeveon Clowney, he learned that the hard way.

The Patriots better be ready to play next week or Indianapolis will put them in a very familiar playoff situation if they’re not careful.

Houston’s flaw was in its preparation

The Colts were the more prepared team in this game, both schematically and mentally. The Texans weren’t prepared to come out and make plays when they needed to. This was infinitely clear in the first half when they allowed the Colts to go 6 for 6 on third downs and failed to convert on two of their own fourth downs — Houston converted 67 percent of fourth downs during the regular season.

The Texans also had a sequence on offense when DeAndre Hopkins had to tell a young receiver where to go, and on another play another rookie wide receiver covered up the tight end negating a good gain with an illegal formation.

Plays like this can be prevented. Houston had six penalties for 47 yards in the first half, while Indianapolis had one for five. Two of those penalties came on third and medium when the Texans jumped offsides.

The Colts were ready for this one. It’s hard to say the Texans were.

Not a good trend

The Texans got down 21-0 in the first half of this game. That’s not good. What’s worse though is this: a big deficit in the first half of a home playoff game is rare, but apparently it’s not so rare for the Bill O’Brien led Texans.

Because the last wild-card team to trail by 21 points at home was O’Brien’s Texans in 2015 against the Chiefs. Houston lost that game 30-0.

There’s more bad news coming where that came from.

The Texans are just the second team in the last 10 years to enter a playoff game as a home favorite and be held scoreless in the first half.