Frank Reich must be in heaven – a REAL NFL QB who doesn’t try to throw the ball with his weak hand from his own end zone!!
In all seriousness, Matt Ryan presents the biggest upgrade to the quarterback situation the Colts have had since Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement on the eve of the 2019 season. After a year with backup types filling in at the last minute, the Colts settled for noodle-armed end-of-career Phillip Rivers in 2020 and then absent-minded Carson Wentz in 2021. While the last two seasons ended in a more than respectable 20-13 record, a quick playoff exit in 2020 and a Week 18 loss to the Jaguars to miss the playoffs in 2022 is an extremely disappointing outcome for a team with the talent, depth, and coaching that this Colts team has.
Last year the Colts made the move to using Jonathan Taylor as a true feature back and offensive centerpiece about halfway through the season as they were around .500 and fighting for their playoff lives after a slow start to the year. That move proved wise, as Taylor established himself as one of the top RBs in the league and nearly carried the team on his back to the playoffs. This year, with the addition of Ryan, word out of Colts camp is that they will become more balanced and throw the ball more while also likely being more versatile and flexible to adjust to what defenses throw at them. Wentz has always been a very good athlete, but his ability to read defenses both before and after the snap has always been in question. Meanwhile, Ryan is one of the smarter QBs in the game and has done this at a high level for many years. This is also by far the best running attack and offensive line Ryan has played with in years, if not his entire career. For all intents and purposes, this is a match made in heaven (and all for the meager price of a 3rd round draft pick from the Colts!). Big picture, if and when teams sell out to stop Taylor, the Colts will now have a QB under center who can make the pre-snap adjustments needed and then execute what needs to be done to make teams pay. With that in mind, the Colts will almost certainly pass at a much higher rate this season than they did last season – although for this particular matchup we may not see it quite yet.
Looking at this specific game, in two meetings last season the Colts won both games by a combined score of 62-3, with Taylor running for a combined 288 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The Texans defense should be improved this season, and they will almost certainly sell out to stop the run in this matchup after last year’s slaughtering, but “containment” would be a victory here for the Texans while “stopping” the Colts running game would be an incredible surprise, even by NFL standards. The Indianapolis offensive line is not quite the juggernaut it has been in past seasons, but it is still a top-10 unit and the Texans have arguably one of the least talented defensive fronts in the league. During the off-season, the Texans used the 3rd and 37th overall picks in the NFL draft on defensive backs – a shrewd move that should provide long-term dividends, but one that will do little to nothing to help the Texans stop the freight train of the Colts running game in this matchup.