Nov 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Cecil Shorts (18) hands off to running back Jonathan Grimes (41) against the New York Jets during game at NRG Stadium. Houston won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
Control the clock
With Hoyer at the helm controlling the clock would probably mean short passes and the occasional run to keep the defense off balance. Instead with backup quarterback T.J. Yates back in charge, the team will need to establish a running game early.
Against the New York Jets, with Yates starting, Houston tried to get the run going but they weren’t incredibly successful. They did manage to out-gain the Jets on the ground 123-70, but with a 3.3 average, they made life harder on themselves than it needed to be.
During this game, two things were successful that O’Brien and company need to go to against Indy. The first being the use of the wildcat formation with wide receiver Cecil Shorts III taking the snaps. Shorts ran the ball four times from this formation for 26 yards and even threw a 21-yard touchdown pass.
Going back to this formation adds a wrinkle that the Colts have to worry about and can lead to some big plays.
Another thing that worked well in that game, as well as their most recent game against New England was running with Jonathan Grimes.
Grimes ran six times for 37 yards against the Jets and had 53 yards off just seven carries. On the season Grimes is averaging 5.1 yards per rush, but only has 45 carries for 230 yards. Instead of riding the hot hand, Houston has been force feeding the lackluster duo of Alfred Blue and Chris Polk.
In 2015 Blue has 444 yards off 127 carries, good for an average of 3.5 yards per rush. Polk has 286 yards of 81 carries, good for 3.5 yards per tote.
In this game, the Texans need to match strength versus weakness. The Colts are a terrible run defense, 25th worst in the league with an average of 121.4 yards surrendered per contest. Houston needs to attack that with a combination of Shorts in the wildcat and Grimes out of the backfield.
Next: Take some shots deep