There was a realistic chance entering this season that the rebuilding Indianapolis Colts weren’t going to be favored in a single #NFL game. They opened as 2-point underdogs for Week 2 Sunday at fellow rebuilding Houston, but Indy is now -1 with quarterback Anthony Richardson practicing in full Wednesday. It will feature the first all-rookie QB starting matchup of the season in Richardson, the No. 4 overall pick, against the Texans’ CJ Stroud, the No. 2 selection.
Sunday will mark only the second game in NFL history featuring two starting quarterbacks both under the age of 22. Each quarterback is currently 21. The only other such matchup was when Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston met Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota in Week 1 of the 2015 season (Titans won in a rout). Winston was the No. 1 overall pick in that year’s draft and Mariota No. 2. Sunday also marks the seventh game since 1950 featuring two rookie starting QBs that were each selected in the top five of the NFL Draft.
No doubt that Richardson looked the best of the three rookie QBs who started Week 1 even though all three lost. Indy pushed a good Jaguars team in a 31-21 defeat behind Richardson throwing for 223 yards and a TD and rushing for 40 yards and a score. He became the youngest player in the Super Bowl era to record both a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown in the same game.
The former Florida star suffered a minor knee issue and came out of the game for the final three offensive plays, but both the quarterback and coach Shane Steichen downplayed the injury after the game and clearly it was nothing.
Still without star running back Jonathan Taylor on the PUP list, the #ForTheShoe will get a boost in the backfield with the season debut of Zack Moss. He missed the opener with an arm injury but also practiced in full Wednesday. He’ll be needed because rookie running back Evan Hull landed on injured reserve after getting hurt in the opener. Indy totaled just 65 yards on 26 carries against Jacksonville and most of that yardage from Richardson.
Stroud completed 28 passes in the Week 1 loss in Baltimore, tied for the fourth-most ever by a quarterback in his NFL debut, and tied for the fifth-most completions among all quarterbacks last week. With 27 completions Sunday, Stroud can move into the top five for most completions ever by a player in his first two career games. The record is 60 by Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow. Stroud also had the most dropbacks (52) without an interception in his first career start since that stat was first tracked in 2006.
Since the start of last season, #WeAreTexans are 3-2-1 against AFC South teams and 0-12 against all others. Indianapolis enters on an eight-game skid overall, its longest losing streak since 2011.