The Indianapolis Colts receiver donned a clown mask last year during a playoff matchup after a back-and-forth with Texans corner Johnathan Joseph, then proceeded to go for 85 yards on five receptions in the blowout postseason win. The numbers were the lowest for Hilton in three games against the Texans last year. Week 4: 4 catches, 115 yards; Week 14: 9 catches; 199 yards.
For his career, in 15 games against the Texans, including the playoffs, Hilton has 81 catches for 1,530 yards and nine touchdowns. He's averaging 5.4 catches for 102 yards per tilt against Houston.
Houston DBs are focusing on changing that trend versus Hilton in Sunday's pivotal AFC South bout.
"Just limit the big plays, obviously," Joseph, who is hoping to return from a hamstring injury, said Thursday, via the Houston Chronicle. "You can't let him get over the top, get behind the coverage, can't let him get the catch-and-run plays. Anything you can do to limit the big plays, you have to challenge him from that standpoint."
Hilton insists he doesn't do anything different against the Texans. He just takes advantage of opportunities, and against Houston he seems to get a lot.
"I just go out there and do my job, and I take what they give me," Hilton said this week. "And I just guess they give me a lot. If (the Texans don't double-team me), it's going to be a long day for them."
We haven't seen the same Hilton this season with Jacoby Brissett under center. Part of that is due to dealing with a quad injury this year.
Hilton has yet to breach the 100-yard mark in four games played this season, his high-water mark coming with an 8-catch, 87-yard, 2-TD performance in Week 1. Perhaps more surprisingly, Hilton's longest catch this season is 26 yards.
The Colts offense with Hilton dealing with the quad issue has been compressed for much of the season. Perhaps it's part of Brissett taking over. Perhaps it's defenses keying on Hilton, not fearing any of Indy's other targets. Perhaps it's the success of the run game. Perhaps it's a witch's brew of everything.
Houston is hoping that Hilton's breakout game doesn't come Sunday.
"That's going to be one of the focuses for the week," Texans safety Justin Reid said. "He's a talented guy. He's had a lot of success against us in the past, so we're going to change some things up to give him some different looks and play him a little bit differently than we did in the past in order to really take him out of the game plan to limit his exposure."