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Final Score: Colts 33, Texans 28

The Colts beat the Texans tonight, 33-28, to improve to 4-2 on the year.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

That one was closer than it should have been, but the Colts held on for a 33-28 win over the division rival Texans.  The Colts jumped out to a 24-0 first quarter lead but the Texans crawled their way back into the game.  Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton led the way for the Colts, though, as they notched their fourth straight win to improve to 4-2 and take sole possession of first place in the AFC South.  It was also the tenth straight win against AFC South teams for the Colts.

Let's look at the initial game notes:

  • T.Y. Hilton is incredible.  Simply incredible.  Tonight he caught 9 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown.  He dominated.
  • Andrew Luck also had a good game, completing 25 of 44 passes for 370 yards, 3 touchdowns, and a pick.
  • What a fantastic start by the Colts.  Force a three and out, kick a field goal, kick an onside kick, deep bomb to T.Y. Hilton, Trent Richardson touchdown, force a three and out, Ahmad Bradshaw touchdown reception, force a three and out, Coby Fleener touchdown reception.  24-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.  It was the first time the Colts scored 24 or more points in the opening quarter since 1958, when the Colts were led by some guy named Johnny Unitas.  Heck of a start by the Colts.
  • I'm going to do it you guys. I'm going to do it.  Let's talk about momentum.  And a couple of special teams plays really turned the momentum.  The Colts gained it on the Pat McAfee onside kick, and then later the Texans gained it on an incredibly stupid penalty by Zach Kerr that led to new life for the Texans, on their way to their first score.  Kerr lined up over the long snapper on a field goal try, which is a pretty fundamental no-no.  It gave the Texans a first down, and they went on to score a touchdown.  And then several more.
  • Jonotthan Harrison had a very good football game in the rookie's second career NFL start.  While last week was rough, this week he played very well.  That's why I said he should continue to start: if you think he has potential to be the long-term guy there (which I do), then why not keep playing him and see if he can improve.  Obviously, he looked much better tonight and I don't think there should be a question about starting him again next week.  All of that said…
  • That snap.  You know, the one that was fumbled and then returned by J.J. Watt for a touchdown.  Was it on Harrison or on Luck?  It was hard to tell.  It looked like Luck called for the snap but Harrison didn't snap it, so then Luck looked to the play clock while Harrison snapped it.  Who was it on?  The thing about having a very humble quarterback is that we'll never know, because Luck will take responsibility (and I like him for that, too).  But since there was a miscommunication, and because Harrison has a track record of bad snaps, I'm going to give Luck the benefit of the doubt and go with my gut, which is that it was Harrison's fault.
  • I thought that Joe Reitz, making his first start of the season (at left guard), also looked good, and he handled J.J. Watt quite nicely on a number of plays.
  • Sergio Brown, after a phenomenal game last week, came back down to earth.  He didn't have a very good football game.
  • Entering the game, we knew that the Texans were led by J.J. Watt, Arian Foster, and Andre Johnson.  Guess who were easily the three stars of the game for the Texans?  J.J. Watt, Arian Foster, and Andre Johnson.  There are some plays that the Colts absolutely should have made, but then there are others (like a couple of Johnson's catches) that are just hard to defend.  Fine.  Good players will make good plays.  But the Colts needed to do a better job against those three players.
  • These NFL refs are atrocious this year.  They missed several no-calls tonight and had several other bad calls.  They gifted one to the Colts on a pass interference call on Houston, then gave it right back to the Texans by overturning a call that was in no way conclusive.  The refs ruled it a catch by Reggie Wayne, then the Texans challenged.  I'll admit, it was incredibly close - but there was zero way you could prove that the ball touched the ground or that Wayne didn't have his hand under it.  Zero.  That's one that's inconclusive regardless of what is called - but the refs reversed the call.  Again, just no continuity between games or even between plays with what these refs call.  It went both ways tonight.  The refs this year have been awful.  And the NFL needs to do something about it.
  • Oh, and Mike Carey is an idiot.  FOX going to Mike Pereira in the booth was an incredible, revolutionary move.  But CBS's attempt to match it?  Just completely pathetic.  Mike Carey has no idea what he's doing.
  • Adam Vinatieri became the first player in NFL history to score 900+ points for two different franchises.  He also moved into fourth place all-time in career points scored.
  • The Colts really, really missed Darius Butler tonight.  Josh Gordy did not look great.
  • Ricky Jean Francois played well tonight.  He's had a very good season and has been much improved from a year ago.  He's helped the Colts hardly notice the absence of Arthur Jones, and he deserves credit.
  • Pat McAfee is awesome.  He converted his third onside kick of the year (the rest of the NFL combined has zero) and he recovered his own kick in this game.  He also had several crucial punts - as expected.
  • The Colts recorded five sacks, none bigger than Bjoern Werner's game-ending sack/fumble.
  • That was much closer than it should have been, but a big win for the Colts.