INDIANAPOLIS — On second thought, the backs-by-committee was a solo act.
A week after getting very little from their running backs in the opening loss to Jacksonville, the Indianapolis Colts put the football in the hands of Zack Moss.
He ran with it.
“It was great to get Zack back out there running hard,’’ Shane Steichen said Sunday after the Colts’ 31-20 win over the Texans in Houston. “He was physical and saw the holes well.
“He made some tight, tough runs inside to get us a few extra yards. But it was really good to have him back.’’
Moss missed the opener while still recovering from a broken right forearm. The Colts never got much from their backs as Deon Jackson, Evan Hull and Jake Funk combined for 25 yards on 16 attempts.
Against the Texans, Moss hammered away 18 times for 88 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown.
“It was great, man,’’ backup quarterback Gardner Minshew II said. “Kind of struggled running the ball a little last week. I think the offensive line took that a little personal.
“They had a great game. Zero sacks, ran the ball well. And then Zack just going in and running it as hard as he does really helps.’’
Maybe it’s a Houston thing.
Moss has appeared in 40 games with four starts in four seasons. He’s had his top two games in his last two appearances. Both starts. Both against the Texans.
*114 yards on 18 carries in week 18 last season.
*88 on 18 Sunday.
Moss’ productivity will be critical for the foreseeable future. Featured back Jonathan Taylor remains on the reserve-physically unable to perform list (PUP) and has missed two of the required four games. The first game he’s eligible return is Oct. 8 against the Tennessee Titans.
“Couldn’t be more happy,’’ owner Jim Irsay told reporters after the game. “Moss back out there running the football so physical … whenever you do that much damage on the ground, you’re tough to contend with.’’
The Colts outrushed Houston 126-52 as Anthony Richardson added 35 yards and two TDs on three carries before leaving the game midway through the second quarter with a concussion.
Anthony Richardson wasn’t the only player forced from the game with a concussion.
Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly suffered head trauma and was ruled out for the second half. Wesley French took over for Kelly.
Each player must clear the NFL’s concussion protocol before returning.
Every player deals with concussions differently. Tight end Drew Ogletree suffered a concussion in the opener against Jacksonville, but was cleared in time for the Houston game. He was inactive against the Texans.
This and that
A week after converting just 2-of-12 times on third down and 1-of-5 on fourth down, the Colts were 6-of-12 in third-down situations.
The defense got to C.J. Stroud for six sacks and three additional hits, and had the rookie on the run much of the day. Sharing the sackload: E.J. Speed, DeForest Buckner, Kwity Paye, Samson Ekubam, Taven Bryan and Jake Martin.
After generating a career-high 18 tackles against Jacksonville, Zaire Franklin followed up with 13 against Houston. Safety Julian Blackmon added 10.
Franklin’s 31 tackles in the first two games are the most by a Colt to start a season. Shaquille Leonard had 28 in 2018.
Eight different receivers caught passes from Richardson and Minshew, led by Michael Pittman Jr.’s eight for 56 on 12 targets.
Kylen Granson posted his first career TD (4 yards) and rookie tight end Will Mallory had his first NFL catch (43 yards).
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.