By Shawn Lealos
In 2012, the Houston Texans had one of the NFL’s best teams in the regular season while the Indianapolis Colts had one of the most improved. In 2013, the Texans are struggling and fans are pointing fingers while the Colts have become one of the NFL’s best teams, especially after their big win over the Denver Broncos.
The Texans have lost five games in a row and the player that fans are pointing the finger at the most is quarterback Matt Schaub. He injured his ankle two games ago, causing some to cheer the injury, which receiver Andre Johnson labeled as “classless.” Case Keenum replaced him the next week and finished the game by throwing for 271 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions in the one-point loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
It was good enough to make Houston choose to start Keenum this week, despite Schaub returning from injury. Schaub will serve as the backup in this game.
Keenun has to hope that the running game is there for him if he wants to impress for the second game in a row. That was looking scary early in the week, as both of the Texans star running backs – Arian Foster and Ben Tate – are injured. However, both men returned to practice on Thursday. Foster is likely to play, although it is not guaranteed, but Tate might need another week of rest with four broken ribs. One of these men should play, although they will be limited in what they can do.
Houston also lost a key weapon on defense with Brian Cushing right before their bye week. Cushing tore his LCL and underwent surgery to repair it. He is finished for the season and Houston had to sign two new linebackers Tavares Gooden and Jeff Tarpinian last week to replace him.
Houston isn’t the only team to take a major hit before the bye week, as the Indianapolis Colts lost their top wide receiver Reggie Wayne to a torn ACL in the team’s big win over the Denver Broncos. Wayne is now on the IR, but will hopefully be able to return at the start of the 2014 NFL season.
Wayne now joins tight end Dwayne Allen and running backs Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw on the season-ending IR list, depleting the Colts offense even more.
With Wayne out, T.Y. Hilton becomes Andrew Luck’s top receiver with Darrius Heyward-Bey moving up to replace Wayne in the lineup. Heyward-Bey was limited in practice this week with a hamstring injury, but the Colts will need him to play thanks to the loss of their star receiver.
Outside of the players on IR, the Colts are relatively healthy heading into Week 9, with cornerback Greg Toler likely out, but linebacker Bjoern Werner returning to provide depth to the team.
- ILB Darryl Sharpton Foot/Toe
- LG Wade Smith Knee
- RB Arian Foster Hamstring
- RB Ben Tate Ribs
- RG Brandon Brooks Toe
- LT Duane Brown Toe
- WR Keshawn Martin Shoulder
- CB Brice McCain Knee
- NT Earl Mitchell Knee
- RT Derek Newton Knee/Elbow
- S Eddie Pleasant Toe
- WR DeVier Posey Calf
- QB Matt Schaub Ankle
- CB Josh Gordy Groin
- S Delano Howell Neck
- CB Greg Toler Groin
- LB Cam Johnson Knee
- C Samson Satele Knee
- LB Bjoern Werner Foot
For more Houston Texans news and updates, visit Houston Texans Central.
Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com.