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Andrew Luck on fire as Colts knock off Texans

On the strength of their most first-quarter points (24) since 1958, the Indianapolis Colts held on for a 33-28 victory over the Houston Texans to gain sole control of first place in the AFC South on Thursday night. Our takeaways:

  1. Andrew Luck continues to put on an absolute clinic in pocket movement. Entering the night, Houston was the only NFL team not to allow a point in the first quarter. Luck escaped pressure to roll up 204 first-quarter passing yards compared to negative nine for the Texans. The Colts are now leading the league with 31.5 points per game. Now on pace for 5,300 passing yards and 45 touchdowns, Luck is in the MVP discussion along with Philip Rivers and the monster directly below.
  1. If not for the Texans' 14-game losing streak last season, we would be discussing the probability of a third consecutive Defensive Player of the Year award for J.J. Watt. As much as any one defender can, Watt almost single-handedly shut down the Colts offense in the second half. Six weeks in, he's already the first player since 1961 with a receiving touchdown, fumble return touchdown and pick-six in the same season. Box scores don't come any more stuffed for defensive stars, as Watt generated seven tackles, a pair of sacks, four quarterback hits, three pass deflections and a fumble return for a touchdown all the while dominating in run defense. Every week we repeat the same line: We have never seen a defensive player consistently take over a game to the extent Watt has.
  1. The Texans' secondary can't handle T.Y. Hilton's speed. He had a regular-season career high of 156 yards by halftime. Over his past three games versus Houston, he has racked up 24 receptions for 422 yards and four touchdowns. Hilton caught all nine of his targets Thursday night, falling one yard shy of the single-game franchise record for yards (224) set by Hall of Famer Ray Berry -- and matched by Hilton in last year's playoff victory over the Chiefs.
  1. Arian Foster missed a game with a hamstring injury and is still second only to DeMarco Murray in rushing. Outside of Weeks 3 and 4 -- when he was nursing the injury -- Foster has run as well as he ever has. The Texans hopped on his back when they came off the mat to roar back from a 24-0 deficit in the second quarter.
  1. The Colts defense has allowed a total of three third-down conversions of the past three games. We expected the pass rush to disappear when Robert Mathis was lost for the season with a torn Achilles. Instead, they are now tied for the league lead in sacks after notching a handful on Ryan Fitzpatrick. Bjoern Werner sealed the victory with a late-game strip sack after nailing Joe Flacco twice last week. We feel better about the Colts defense than we did entering the season.
  1. With another touchdown catch Thursday night, Ahmad Bradshaw is now on pace to finish the season with 13. The record for receiving touchdowns by a running back is 11, set by Packers legend (and one of the most colorful charactersin NFL history) Johnny Blood.
  1. Hard-hittingTexans safety D.J. Swearinger in a nutshell: He scared tight end Dwayne Allen into hesitating for a split second on a would-be reception. Minutes later, he bit hard on an underneath route, leaving T.Y. Hilton open deep for a 49-yard bomb. He was also a failure in coverage on Hilton's 33-yard touchdown.
  1. Playing through a painful ankle injury, Andre Johnson came down with a pair of difficult back-shoulder catches. He passed 13,000 receiving yards, becoming the second-fastest to accomplish the feat -- behind only Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
  1. Hakeem Nicks isn't exactly proving it on his one-year contract. He still struggles to separate from coverage. We might see third-round draft pick Donte Moncrief beginning to phase Nicks out of the rotation.
  1. The Colts are the only team to recover an onsides kick this year, and they have three of them. It appeared that Pat McAfee had the green light to audible when he saw open prairie land in front of the kickoff tee.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps the Colts' win over the Texans and previews every other Week 6 game. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL Now.

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