PASSING OFFENSE: A-minus
The Colts came out in a no-huddle fast-break offense to start the Houston game. That lasted for most of the first half as Indianapolis had 50 total plays over the first two quarters. QB Peyton Manning hit on 34-of-50 passes for 318 yards and one touchdown. Manning had 40 first-half passing attempts. He also had one interception and was sacked twice. WR Reggie Wayne attempted his first-ever NFL pass on a trick play, but the throw was intercepted. TE Dallas Clark tied the franchise record with 14 receptions for 119 yards. Wayne had eight catches.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus
It's still not where the Colts coaching staff would like it to be, but the running game continues to display flashes of what it could be. Indianapolis had 72 yards in 18 carries, led by RB Joseph Addai's 63 yards in 14 rushing attempts. Addai had a bruising two-yard touchdown run, where he broke a tackle in the backfield before barreling into the end zone. He also had a 13-yard run late in the fourth quarter to get the Colts out of bad field position. Indianapolis played without rookie RB Donald Brown, who missed the game with a shoulder injury.
PASS DEFENSE: B
Houston QB Matt Schaub completed 32-of-42 passes for 311 yards and a touchdown. He also had two passes intercepted (by CB Jerraud Powers and LB Clint Session) and was sacked twice. WR Andre Johnson caught 10 passes for 103 yards. The Colts defense manufactured six quarterback pressures as DE Dwight Freeney had 1.5 sacks and DE Robert Mathis had .5 of a sack. Indianapolis also broke up five passes.
RUSH DEFENSE: A-minus
The Colts limited Houston to 81 yards on the ground in 26 rushing attempts. RB Ryan Moats had 38 yards in 16 carries. QB Matt Schaub scrambled for 21 yards on three attempts. RB Steve Slaton added 17 yards in six carries and a touchdown. Indianapolis' rush defense has done a pretty good job over the first eight weeks of the season, allowing 4.3 yards per carry.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A
Perhaps the biggest upgrade made by the Colts during the offseason was the addition of special teams coach Ray Rychelski. Indianapolis has struggled in recent years in kick and punt coverage, but that has become a plus so far this year. The Texans averaged 22.6 yards on five kickoff returns, including a long of 26 yards, and did not have any punt return yardage (three fair catches). Rookie P Pat McAfee had three kicks and averaged 32.7 yards, both overall and net averages. PK Matt Stover hit on two field goal attempts from 22 and 37 yards out. Rookie LB Cody Glenn partially blocked a field goal attempt by Houston's Kris Brown (although it didn't count because the Colts had called a time out before the kick attempt).
Jim Caldwell is 8-0 as a rookie NFL head coach. He is pulling all the right strings and making all the right decisions so far. Caldwell has been forced to battle an injury-plagued lineup, especially on defense. He's even tried a few more trick plays (two) in eight games than his predecessor (Tony Dungy) may have attempted in his entire Colts head coaching career. Caldwell did a good job on the replay review on a fumble by Texans RB Ryan Moats, working the clock and the officials. The only blemish was the reverse-pass attempt by WR Reggie Wayne that was intercepted. Other than that, Caldwell has lived up to the shadow of Dungy.