HOUSTON, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 11: Jerry Hughes #55 of the Houston Texans celebrates with teammates after intercepting a pass during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
The veteran defensive end made a huge impact in his first game in a Texans uniform.
At 34 years old, it was thought Jerry Hughes best years were behind him. The veteran defensive end, now in his 13th NFL season, has averaged nearly 6 sacks and over 8 tackles for loss (TFL) over his career but was coming off a season of just 2 sacks and 1 TFL.
Hughes has spent the last 9 years in Buffalo, but his time there ended when the Bills signed Von Miller this offseason. It took a while for him to find a new team, but in May Hughes signed a 2 year, $10M deal with the Texans, with $4.5M guaranteed.
His durability and leadership were certainly qualities the Texans sought from Hughes, but he also played very well in the preseason and carried it over with a monster first game.
Hughes started his Texans career with a momentum changing, one handed interception of Matt Ryan in the second quarter. On a 2nd & 7 from the Texans 22, Hughes stuck his hand up and reeled in a Ryan pass intended for Jonathan Taylor, and returned it to the Houston 42, setting up a short field the Texans would capitalize on for a touchdown to take the lead at 10-3.
On the ensuing Colts drive, on a 2nd & 6 from the Texans 30, Hughes came up with a big sack of Matt Ryan, jarring the ball loose. While the Colts recovered the ball, they lost 7 yards on the play, essentially pushing them out of field goal range. A false start on Indianapolis RT Braden Smith, who was blocking Hughes, pushed the Colts back further and stalled the drive.
Hughes came up with another big sack in overtime, as the Colts were marching down the field. On 3rd & 5 at the Texans 19, Hughes sacked Matt Ryan for a 5 yard loss. The sack pushed the line of scrimmage back to the Texans 24, and Colts K Rodrigo Blankenship would miss the ensuing 42 FG attempt preserving the tie score.
Hughes would finish the game with 3 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 quarterback hits, 1 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass defended, and an interception. Not a bad first day’s work.