Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Takeaways

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Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) catches a 49-yard pass against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans nearly made last night’s game against the Indianapolis Colts one to remember with a glorious comeback, but a number of fumbles prevented the huge days from J.J. Watt, Arian Foster, and Whitney Mercilus turning into a Texans W. That said, it was still a fun game to watch, as it is rife with takeaways after being the first TNF game to live up to its expectations; the rest of them have mainly been rivalry blowouts.

1. This is what Whitney Mercilus is capable of

J.J. Watt lived up to his nickname “J.J. Swatt” by batting down three passes in addition to wreaking havoc on the Colts offensive line (he also threw in a fumble recovery for six for good measure), and Whitney Mercilus also lived up to the “Merciless” moniker. He showed no mercy against Colts star left tackle Anthony Castonzo, and last night’s performance was the kind of display we’d like to see more of from the young edge rusher. Mercilus has been a frustratingly inconsistent source of pressure ever since joining the Texans, but he has generally shown flashes of the supreme talent he displayed in college at Illinois. Last night, Mercilus put in one of the best performances of his career, with a QB hit and two tackles for loss on the stat sheet. If he can keep this up, then the Texans could be in huge business once Jadeveon Clowney makes his return (that will likely come in Week 7).

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2. T.Y. Hilton just doing T.Y. Hilton things

Watt had a monster performance last night, but Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has garnered most of the headlines today after dominating a subpar Texans secondary to the tune of 223 passing yards and a touchdown on nine receptions. He caught all of the nine passes Andrew Luck threw to him, and it was a vintage performance from one of the league’s most explosive playmakers. There is no doubt that Hilton is the best weapon on the Colts, and that’s become especially important with the subject of “Takeaway #3” not consistently getting the job done.

3. We’re still waiting for Hakeem Nicks

Hakeem Nicks still thinks he’s a great receiver in this league, but he hasn’t played well since hauling in over 1,100 receiving yards in the New York Giants Super Bowl-winning season of 2011. The guy completely mailed it in last season in a contract year, since the injury-prone UNC product was worried about suffering an injury before heading onto the free agent market. What transpired was worse, as he entered the market with a terrible season under his belt and major red flags regarding his motivation. Nicks looked like a steal on a one-year deal, but the Colts haven’t received anything out of him. He caught five passes and a touchdown in Week 1, but Nicks has a paltry 8.3 yards per reception average on the season. He received plenty of opportunities to shine last night with seven targets, but he turned them into just two receptions for 18 yards; that’s pitiful indeed.