Gardner Minshew passed for 171 yards and a touchdown in relief of injured rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson as the Indianapolis Colts claimed a 31-20 victory over the host Houston Texans on Sunday.
After Richardson departed with a concussion early in the second quarter, Minshew led scoring drives of 76 and 75 yards to help the Colts secure a 28-10 halftime lead.
Minshew went 11 of 13 for 114 yards in the second quarter, including a 4-yard touchdown pass to Kylen Granson with 15 seconds left in the first half. When Minshew paced a nine-play, 56-yard drive in the third quarter that resulted in Matt Gay's 42-yard field goal, the Colts (1-1) extended their lead to 31-10.
Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud mustered a spirited response, leading a pair of scoring drives that enabled Houston (0-2) to close to within 11 points late in the fourth quarter.
But the Texans were forced to settle for Ka'imi Fairbairn's 36-yard field goal early in the fourth and another Fairbairn attempt that sailed wide left after Kwity Payne and Jake Martin sacked Stroud.
Stroud competed 30 of 47 passes for 384 yards, including scoring passes to Nico Collins and Tank Dell, but he was sacked six times after five in the season-opening loss at the Baltimore Ravens.
Richardson was 6-of-10 passing for 56 yards and rushed three times for 35 yards and two touchdowns before his early exit.
Richardson enjoyed a rousing start. He engineered a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive on the Colts' opening possession, capped by his 18-yard touchdown run that yielded a 7-0 lead with 10:44 left in the first quarter. Richardson completed passes for 12 yards to Michael Pittman Jr., 11 yards to Granson and 15 yards to Mo Alie-Cox on the march. When the Colts started their next possession in the red zone courtesy of a Houston turnover, Richardson struck again.
Samson Ebukam recorded a sack of Stroud on third down and Paye recovered the fumble forced by Dayo Odeyingbo at the Houston 15. Richardson converted on the ensuing snap with a 15-yard touchdown run, but he slammed the back of his helmet on the turf on the play. Richardson was evaluated for a concussion on the sideline before departing for the locker room.
Upon further evaluation, Richardson was determined out for the remainder of the contest.
—Field Level Media