HOUSTON — Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has two residence run-hitting huge receivers in Will Fuller and Kenny Stills, so star DeAndre Hopkins’ position has been somewhat completely different this season. Nevertheless it was a throwback night time within the Houston Texans’ 20-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday.

Getting into the sport, Hopkins was averaging 9.9 yards per reception this season, effectively beneath his 14.1 common over his first six NFL seasons. However towards the Colts, Hopkins had two enormous performs that put the Texans into first place within the AFC South.

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Earlier within the week, Hopkins known as this a “must-win” recreation for Houston, given the Colts’ place within the standings. The groups had the identical 6-Four document coming into the sport, however Indianapolis held the tiebreaker as a result of the Colts beat the Texans in Week 7. With Thursday’s victory, the Texans have a 74% probability to win the division, per ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index; that quantity would have fallen to 20% with a loss.

Hopkins completed with six catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns; he had two landing catches in his earlier 9 video games coming into Thursday. He and Watson have mixed for 24 touchdowns since Watson’s rookie season of 2017, which trails solely Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown (26) for probably the most in that span.

Hopkins has caught a landing in his previous 5 video games towards the Colts. He did not have any in his first eight profession video games towards Indianapolis.

DeAndre Hopkins caught two landing passes because the Texans beat the Colts to take again first place within the AFC South. David J. Phillip/AP Photograph

Purchase a breakout efficiency: Fuller had seven catches for 140 yards, and it wasn’t even his greatest recreation of the season — he had three touchdowns and 217 receiving yards towards the Falcons — however it was his first recreation again since he injured his hamstring in Week 7 in Indianapolis, and his return was an enormous issue. It was probably the most receiving yards by any participant towards the Colts this season. If Fuller can keep wholesome — one thing he has struggled with throughout his NFL profession — he’ll proceed to play an vital half on this offense, notably deep down the sector.

QB breakdown: Watson accomplished 19 of 30 passes for 298 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He earned most of these yards downfield Thursday, finishing all 4 of his passes on throws of 30-plus yards. Each of his landing passes got here on these performs. In keeping with ESPN Stats & Info analysis, that’s probably the most deep-ball makes an attempt with out an incompletion in a recreation since 2006, when the information grew to become accessible.

Eye-popping NextGen Stat: In keeping with NFL Subsequent Gen Stats information, there was 5.2 yards of separation on Hopkins’ second-quarter landing catch, which is probably the most separation for a Texans huge receiver on a landing reception this season. The move had an air distance of 49.5 yards. That was the second-longest scoring move to a wide-open receiver (five-plus yards of separation) within the NFL this season behind a Tom Brady landing move (50.9 yards) to Phillip Dorsett.

Troubling pattern: A recreation after the Texans allowed 256 speeding yards at Baltimore, they gave up 175 yards on 39 carries to the Colts. Indianapolis had two speeding touchdowns Thursday, its first recreation towards Houston with a number of speeding touchdowns since Week 16 of the 2007 season, based on ESPN Stats & Info analysis. On the Colts’ first landing drive, they ran on all seven performs for 42 yards. On their second landing drive, Indianapolis ran on 10 of the 11 performs for 59 yards. The Colts did this with out beginning working again Marlon Mack, who suffered a damaged hand in Week 11.