What We Saw: Week 2

Catch up on everything you missed from Week 2

Colts @ Texans

Final Score: Colts 31, Texans 20

Senior Writer: Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)


New Head Coach Shane Steichen earned his first win for the Indianapolis Colts despite the loss of young franchise quarterback Anthony Richardson, who was removed from the game to evaluate a concussion and did not return. Richardson had already given the Colts a 14-0 lead with two rushing scores in an electric start that showed exactly why the Colts believe they have the next great quarterback in the NFL. Backup Gardner Minshew did what he does best and completed 82.6% of his passes the rest of the way to guide the Colts to a convincing win over C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans.

Stroud was also impressive – the first round selection threw for 384 yards and two passing touchdowns in a spirited performance as he worked behind a truly awful offensive line that could not give their young signal-caller time to work. Stroud was sacked six times, including an early strip sack fumble by Samson Ebukam to put the Texans in a big hole.


Five Up

  • Anthony Richardson – any doubts about the impact Richardson would have after limited action in his college career has been swiftly swept away. He looked every bit the dual threat superstar with quick passes for easy completions and the main threat at the goal line.
  • C.J. Stroud – for fantasy purposes, Stroud looked the real deal in the pocket despite heavy pressure. Likely to play from behind regularly this season, Houston’s new franchise quarterback connected with six different receivers for 384 yards and no interceptions.
  • Zack Moss – the former Bills running back handled ALL the work out of the backfield – 22 touches in total and turned that into 20.70 fantasy points in Yahoo! Moss will carry the rock for the next two games at the least but it is no sure thing that Jonathan Taylor returns to this team.
  • Nico Collins – WR1 fantasy value ahead for this talented all-purpose receiver who wins one-on-one and enjoys himself while doing it.
  • Tank Dell – speedy rookie receiver who gives maximum effort on all plays and has a devastating change of pace and direction.


Three Down

  • Dameon Pierce – just 69 yards on 26 carries over two games for last year’s standout rookie back. A depleted offensive line and a deeper focus in the passing game could mean this becomes a bad fantasy habit.
  • Alec Pierce – the promise shown last year by Pierce has completely evaporated after he was again an afterthought in the Colts passing game with just two targets. With Josh Downs being preferred, Pierce looks to be irrelevant in fantasy.
  • Dalton Schultz – the former Cowboys tight end is not in Dallas anymore. Schultz scored 13 TDs in the last two seasons but his role in Houston doesn’t look to figure in a red zone threat so far.


Indianapolis Colts




Anthony Richardson: 6/10, 56 Yards | 3 Carries, 32 Yards, 2 TD

The most effective of cameos from first round rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, who led an impressive move-the-sticks 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to start the game and then ran in from 15 yards out after the Texans fumbled to put his team 14-0 ahead at with nine minutes remaining in the first quarter. As he was tackled into the end zone, Richardson’s head was thrown back with force and bounced off the ground hard. He came out for another series but did not look comfortable at all. After that he went into the dreaded blue tent before disappearing to the locker room not to return. He will be in the concussion protocol and hope to be cleared for next week’s game.


  • Richardson peppered his receivers in the short-passing game over the middle with plenty of success in the opening drive
  • Both touchdown runs were designed runs for Richardson, the second a beautiful fake hand off and reverse run



Gardner Minshew: 19/23, 171 Yards, TD | 2 Carries, 3 Yards

This performance is the reason why Minshew is paid to be one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league. Minshew took what the Texans defense offered him, trusted his play calling and put the ball where his receivers could make plays. It was that simple. He stuck to his main receivers – Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs – for the most part but he can thank tight end Kylen Granson for his lone touchdown pass. Granson did a great job at hauling in the pass before spinning and extending for the touchdown to give the Colts a commanding 18-point lead at the break.

It is worth noting that the Colts struggled mightily in the second half, punting on three of their four drives.


Running Back


Zack Moss: 18 Carries, 88 Yards, TD | 4 Targets, 4 Receptions, 19 Yards

As the feature back, Moss enjoyed a heavy workload as he was the only running back to see a carry for the Colts. He also involved in exactly half (nine) of the Colts offensive play calls in the second half that wasn’t a punt or a field goal. Moss 4.9 yards-per-carry and some of that was thanks to running into a brick wall to run down the clock late.

It is not to be forgotten that Moss ended 2022 very well, leading the Colts backfield with 343 yards in four contests in which he averaged 17 carries per game. If he shows the same willingness to drive into contact and fight for extra yards, he’ll continue to see the volume. Moss is a downhill runner and showed good vision to drive through the lane and finish for a score.


Not known for his pass-catching ability, the four targets on short passes from Minshew were a nice bonus. He can accelerate quickly for yards after the catch.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Michael Pittman Jr.: 12 Targets, 8 Receptions, 56 Yards, Fumble (Recovered)

It could have been a disastrous start for Pittman and the Colts if his fumble out of bounds on the very first catch and run of the game had made its way into the arms of Texans safety MJ Edwards. It was very close to being a lost fumble on the sideline. However, as the focus in this passing game Pittman was the primary option for both Richardson and Minshew early and often. He led the team in targets, catches and yards for the second week running. Pittman’s biggest contribution came on the final Colts drive of the first half – he caught two balls for over 10 yards and one was a key third down at midfield setting up a game-clinching score. The only disappointing element was that he didn’t see any targets in the red-zone despite the Colts being down there four times.


Will Mallory: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 49 Yards

How’s this for your first catch in the NFL? Mallory was a fifth round pick for the Colts and despite a crowded tight end room full of mediocre options, Mallory broke off a huge gain down the right sideline prior to Moss running the ball in for a score. He could be one to watch down the track as he also garnered a difficult contested catch on third down late in the first half prior to the Colts scoring their fourth touchdown of the half.


Josh Downs: 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 37 Yards

The rookie is clearly the number two option behind Pittman and that is what transpired in this game. Downs saw the second most targets on the team and primarily worked out of the slot, showing the burst and separation that was promised on his college tape. Downs didn’t get chance to show his electric speed over long distance and it was hard to find space with the Texans working more up near the line of scrimmage to stop the run threat. Still, the target share is a huge upside.


Alec Pierce: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 28 Yards

Kylen Granson: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 16 Yards, TD

Granson saw a healthy four targets to go along with six last week to seemingly emerge as the Colts’ receiving threat from the tight end position. Granson worked hard for his touchdown by coming back from a less-than-perfect thrown ball before spinning and fighting to break the plane, which he did for his first score of the season. That’s how you earn trust and targets. He’s on the bubble for a tight end fantasy relevant role.


Mo Alie-Cox: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 15 Yards

Isaiah McKenzie: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 7 Yards


Houston Texans




C.J. Stroud: 30/47, 384 Yards, 2 TDs, 6 Sacks | 3 Carries, 1 Yard, 2 Fumbles (1 Lost)

There was a lot to like about this battling performance from Stroud, who looked every bit the franchise quarterback on his second half showing alone with the teams many other inefficiencies contributing more to this loss. Stroud’s quarterback play was a big positive after the break although a number of sacks in key situations did take points off the board for his team. Stroud grew in confidence despite being under intense pressure from his porous offensive line. His ball placement improved as he went about his business.


The first half was rough with Stroud hesitating too much and not being smart with the football in key moments. There was also a couple of moments when Stroud had the option to run to pick up key yards or move the sticks but he never looked like wanting to. That is something he’ll need to work on. Still, he showed excellent accuracy over the middle of the field and his mobility, poise and execution from the pocket is highly encouraging. He has strong weapons on the outside and a slot receiver in Dell who can provide a safety blanket for throws he finds comfortable. He had two methodical drives in the fourth quarter that moved his team into scoring range before mistakes and miscues fizzled them out. Stroud worked the field nicely, however, and showed he can be effective at all throwing levels.


  • Stood in the pocket and took some hits but remained composed and unfazed
  • Was missing four starting offensive linemen and came under heavy pressure
  • Took a bad sack late in the fourth quarter to negate any real opportunity for a meaningful comeback
  • Complained after the game of shoulder pain – watch the news through the week

Missed Opportunities

  • Despite a first down on the Colts 2-yard line, Stroud had a touchdown to Tank Dell nullified by a holding penalty then took a sack to settle for a field goal
  • Took another sack on second down in the red-zone prior to the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter before the Texans missed a 51-yard field


Running Back


Dameon Pierce: 15 Carries, 31 Yards | 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 4 Yards

Another disappointing day at the office for Pierce, whose explosive start to his NFL career looks even further in the rearview after waning down the stretch last season and looking all but pedestrian to open the 2023 season. The good news is he is still very much the starter as he out-worked Devin Singletary to the tune of 17 touches to just 5. But, with an offensive line that struggled to offer much in run blocking Pierce averaged just 2.1 yards-per-carry on the ground and failed to break off a run of more than 10 yards. There was nothing on the inside or outside of the zone for Pierce – if it wasn’t the line collapsing, it was EJ Speed breaking through the holes to stuff runners. He gave way to Singletary for a couple of series in the second half but when the result was the same, Pierce was installed back in.


Devin Singletary: 4 Carries, 14 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 10 Yards

Dare Ogunbowale: 1 Carry, 5 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 6 Yards

Andrew Beck: 2 Carries, 2 Yards


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Nico Collins: 9 Targets, 7 Receptions, 146 Yards, TD

There was no doubt that Collins was the standout offensive player on the field in this contest. The third year receiver gave the talented Kenny Moore a tough afternoon, using his tremendous speed and skilled route running to find space and kick on after the catch.  It was Collins’ first 100+ yard game as a professional and he also devoured the Colts linebackers in coverage, working from outside to in on many occasions to create separation and find space after the catch.


It would have been even better if a big gain in the second quarter, in which he burned his man and was brought down inside the Colts 5-yard line, wasn’t called back due to an offensive lineman not being set on the line of scrimmage. Frustrating! Still, it is encouraging that Collins now has 20 targets, 13 catches and 226 yards to go with his solo touchdown to start the year. Stroud’s pass was arguably intended for Tank Dell but Collins worked away from his man well and made something happen for his team.



Robert Woods: 9 Targets, 6 Receptions, 74 Yards

Veteran Woods looks like the perfect role model for this young receiving group as his motivation, assured hands and willingness to go all out of this quarterback is second to none. Woods leads by example and did everything in this – lining up on the outside, working over the middle, hauling in deep balls, and even handled a punt return. Woods is working as the WR2 and saw plenty of snaps due to the Texans playing from behind from the first quarter. Woods is playing as the WR2 in this offense but Stroud preference over the middle makes Dell the better fantasy option, as shown in the second half.

He did step out of bounds trying to avoid a tackle before streaking away for what looked like a lonh touchdown before the officials confirmed he had gone out of bounds.


Tank Dell: 10 Targets, 7 Receptions, 72 Yards, TD

The major beneficiary of Noah Brown‘s trip to the injured reserve, rookie Tank Dell showed out during his first full start for the Texans. He led the team in targets, was joint leader in catches and made a brilliant move to lose his man and score from 23 yards out in the fourth quarter to give his team hope of an unlikely comeback. It was a nice moment for Stroud and Dell, who had an earlier touchdown connection nullified by yet another offensive line hold on the previous drive.

Dell worked out of the slot primarily but notably excelled when lining up on the outside of formations. His versatility and pace will earn him more opportunities if he executes like this.



Dalton Schultz: 7 Targets, 4 Receptions, 34 Yards

Schultz wasn’t really targeted effectively until the final couple of drives of the game by which time the Colts were happy to give up the ball underneath where the big tight end was operating. He had only one catch up to that point.


Brevin Jordan: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 27 Yards

John Metchie III: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 17 Yards

Xavier Hutchinson: 1 Target

One response to “What We Saw: Week 2”

  1. jrjanowi says:

    Great Packers/Falcons write-up by Mr. Prendergast–detailed and entertaining

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