News & Analysis

IND-HOU grades: Clowney, Mercilus creating pressure in Watt's absence

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Houston Texans during game action against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Houston Texans 26, Indianapolis Colts 23

Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Texans’ 26-23 overtime win against the Colts:

Houston Texans

Quarterback grade: Brock Osweiler, 44.0

Osweiler saves the best for last

It’s easy to get caught up with the way a game ended, while forgetting what happened for most of the night. For a majority of this game, Brock Osweiler was simply awful. Through three quarters of the game, his adjusted completion percentage sat at just 60.0 percent, which would have tied him with Carson Wentz for the worst figure of Week 6. Thanks to a brilliant fourth quarter and overtime, though, he finished the outing with an adjusted completion percentage of 73.0 percent, good for 17th among QBs this week. After Osweiler missed his first throw in the fourth quarter, he proceeded to complete 14 of his final 16 passes, and one of those incompletions was a drop.

Brock Osweiler under pressure

Top offensive grades:

HB Lamar Miller 83.8

TE C.J. Fiedorowicz 81.6

T Chris Clark 77.7

G Xavier Su'a-Filo 73.3

G Oday Aboushi 72.2

Lamar Miller carries the load

Lamar Miller was simply brilliant throughout this one. When it came to running the football, Miller was able to find success virtually everywhere he tried. When running the ball in between the tackles, he averaged 5.5 yards per carry; when running the outside of the tackles, he averaged 7.4 yards. He also made three catches for 29 yards and a touchdown in the receiving game. The Colts' defense simply had no answers for Miller.

Top defensive grades:

OLB Whitney Mercilus, 85.6

OLB Jadeveon Clowney, 83.2

S Corey Moore, 82.8

CB A.J. Bouye, 82.4

CB Kevin Johnson, 79.8

Texans generate pass-rush without Watt

Houston’s two standout performers in the front-seven were OLBs Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney. Both had a field day rushing the passer, with seven total QB pressures each as Andrew Luck felt the heat on nearly half (20 of 41) of his dropbacks. In the secondary, Kevin Johnson allowed six catches and had a pass defense; five of those six completions went for 7 yards or fewer, with a 31-yard reception to T.Y. Hilton being the one red mark on his night. A.J. Bouye was the top-graded defender in coverage, having allowed just two catches for 20 yards on 44 coverage snaps.

Indianapolis Colts

Quarterback grade: Andrew Luck, 71.4

Luck unable to lead Colts to overtime score

Andrew Luck had an ugly interception, but made a few nice plays—particularly when scrambling—in what turned out to be a fairly average performance overall. Luck completed two of four deep passes targeted 20+ yards downfield, but one of the incompletions was the interception. He was often under pressure and he completed just 6-of-16 pass attempts when the Texans blitzed. When it came down to needing to put together a scoring drive, either on their final drive of regulation or in overtime, Luck and company couldn’t sustain a series long enough to even get into field-goal range.

Andrew Luck under pressure

Top offensive grades:

C Ryan Kelly, 83.6

G Denzelle Good, 79.0

HB Frank Gore, 74.8

WR Chester Rogers, 71.6

QB Andrew Luck, 71.4

Gore tops 100 yards rushing

It took 22 rushing attempts and overtime, but the Colts were able to get Frank Gore over the 100-yard mark for his best rushing game of the season. Gore averaged 4.8 yards per carry, and 57 rushing yards came after contact. Center Ryan Kelly and RT Joe Haeg both had their highest-graded run blocking-games of the season. While Kelly didn't allow a single pressure in pass protection, Haeg allowed a hit, four hurries, and had a sack nullified by penalty. LT Anthony Castonzo fared even worse in pass protection, giving up seven hurries after allowing 10 in his first five games combined.

Top defensive grades:

CB Darius Butler 73.3

CB Rashaan Melvin 72.3

CB Vontae Davis 71.0

DE Hassan Ridgeway 70.7

S T.J. Green 68.3

Lackluster performance can’t make a stop to secure win

There really aren’t many positive things to say when it comes to Indianapolis’ defense. The Colts greatly benefitted from a wildly inaccurate Brock Osweiler through most of this game, and then they simply fell apart in the fourth quarter and overtime. As a unit, they were able to generate pressure on Osweiler on just seven of his 40 dropbacks, with Erik Walden and Kendall Langford tying for a team lead with just two pressures apiece. Vontae Davis had a nice game in coverage, allowing four catches on eight targets but for just 31 total yards; he had an interception to go with a pass defense, holding Osweiler to a 20.3 passer rating when throwing in his direction. Unfortunately for Indianapolis, though, the rest of the Colts' secondary wasn’t as stout, especially Clayton Geathers, who allowed eight catches on nine targets for 92 yards and a touchdown (while also missing a pair of tackles), Osweiler had a 146.3 QB rating when targeting the receiver covered by Geathers.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Texans HB Lamar Miller

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.


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