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Colts Suffer Tough O-Line Loss, Texans Johnson,Tate in Top Form

The injury bug continued in Week 3 of preseason play with the Indianapolis Colts (2-1) suffering a tough blow to their O-line.

Anthony Castonzo

Anthony Castonzo

On Sunday, Colts coach Chuck Pagano announced that starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo has a mild MCL sprain that he incurred in Saturday’s opening series against the Cleveland Browns (2-1). Entering his third season, Castonzo has started in 27 games; he has been listed as day-to-day.

Just last week, guard Mike McGlynn also went down with a knee injury during practice. This now leaves the team with 40 percent of its offensive line injured as they try to incorporate two rookies into the group.

Pagano said of the line via ESPN.com, “I thought they’ve done a nice job. Those guys are starting to jell and starting to click and they’re coming together every day and they’re getting better every day and they’re working at it. … You’ve got a little bit of leakage here and there, some pressure.”

Last season, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had been sacked 41 times and on Saturday he could be seen scrambling but for the game went 16 of 25, 164 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and 20 rushing yards. Joe Reitz pinch hit for Castonzo on Saturday and he’ll continue in the role for Thursday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1).

Along with the injured offensive linemen, Colts wide receiver Nathan Palmer suffered a knee injury on Saturday and will undergo an MRI.

For the Colts, they finished 2012’s season with an 11-5 record and a round one playoff loss. This season they have a regular season win total at 8 1/2 (even o/-130 u) and -175 no to make the playoffs.

Texans WR Johnson, RB Tate in Top Form

For the Houston Texans (2-1), they continue playing without running back Arian Foster but fortunately veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson has shown up in preseason play and looks more than ready for the regular season.

In Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints (3-0), Johnson amassed seven receptions for 131 yards receiving in the first half.

Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson

A man of few words, Johnson said of his play via ESPN.com, “You definitely try to send a message that you’re ready to go. I think by going out and showing guys that you’re ready to go, that makes them step their game up. That’s what I try to do. I’m not a big rah-rah guy. I just try to lead by example. When I’m out on the field, whether it’s 10 plays or 70 plays I’m going to give everything I got. So that’s what I did.”

For Johnson, he’s unlikely surprised by his play after last season’s career-high 1,598 yards. In 2013, he sits at 18/1 for the most receiving yards for the season.

In addition to Johnson making a preseason splash so has Texans running back Ben Tate. Against the Saints, Tate had 11 carries for 74 yards (a long run of 39 yards) and one touchdown during the first half.

He said of the game via the Houston Chronicle, “We had a big emphasis on the running game. Even though we didn’t play much (in the first two games), we felt we hadn’t run the ball well enough. We definitely had to step it up. I was amped up and ready to go. I was out there to prove a point, and I felt like I got my point across. I’m right where I want to be.”

For Tate, he’ll likely hit free agency in 2014 and showing he can play in Foster’s absence couldn’t come at a better time. In his last two seasons as a backup, he amassed 1,221 yards combined and this season, he could be the team’s starting running back for the Sept. 9 opener against the San Diego Chargers.

The Texans will enter the regular season with 10 1/2 wins (+120 o/-150 u) and -450 yes to make the playoffs.

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