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Throwback Thursday: An Improbable Colts' Win over the Texans

This Sunday, the Texans come to Indianapolis, a place where they have never won. There have been some close calls in the past, but Indy has always come out ahead. This week's Throwback Thursday looks at the one year it looked like Houston should have won in Indianapolis.

Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts have a chance to wrap up the division with a win over the Houston Texans.

The Texans are also one of three teams in the NFL to have never won in Indianapolis (Green Bay and Minnesota are the other two). In fact, the Texans 0-12 streak in Indianapolis is the longest such streak in the league right now.

That's not say this Sunday's game is a given (it most certainly is not) and that's not to say that the Texans haven't come very close to winning in Indy before.

In 2009, it looked like the game was headed to overtime. That is, until Texans' kicker Kris Brown shanked a 42 yarder to secure victory for the Colts.

It was a Thursday night in 2011, though, where it looked like Houston had their best chance to win in Indy. And this is the game that is the focus of this week's Throwback Thursday.

The Texans were entering the game 10-4, had already clinched a playoff berth, and were still in the running (with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens) for the second seed in the AFC.

The Colts were 1-13, coming off their first win of the season, and were still in the "race" for Andrew Luck.

I was at this game, and remembered thinking that there was no way the Colts could beat the Texans, even if Houston was rolling with T.J. Yates at QB.

And at the start of the game, it looked like I would be right. Quarterback Dan Orlovsky was sacked and fumbled on the first play of the game. A couple plays later, Arian Foster was in the end zone giving the Texans an early 7-0 lead.

From there, it became a game of field goals. Late in the first quarter, the Colts would finally get on the board with a 23 yard Adam Vinatieri field goal. It only took the Texans two minutes for Neil Rackers to answer with a 44 yard field goal of his own.

The only scoring in the second frame was a 32 yard field goal from Vinatieri which would cut the Texans lead to 10-6 heading into halftime. The third quarter was more of the same, as both teams traded field goals again, keeping Houston's lead at four points.

Heading into the fourth quarter, I was still expecting Houston to unleash the passing game a bit more. Yates would end up finishing the game 13-16 for a meager 112 yards.

The Colts defense had been burned by most every quarterback all season, so why not try to throw? Yes, Arian Foster was having a huge day, 6.9 yards per carry, but still.

Anyway, the Texans obviously didn't unleash Yates or the passing game, as a fourth Vinatieri field goal but the Colts within one. However, just past the two-minute warning, Rackers gave the Texans a four point lead yet again.

I remember telling my dad (half sarcastically) that it was "Orlovsky Time." Because, remember, this was the same year that "Tebow Time" was going on out in Denver.

Then it happened. A quick pass to Pierre Garcon, first down. A catch and run from Jacob Tamme, first down. A deep pass to Reggie Wayne, first down in the red zone.

Then things got interesting. After the deep pass to Wayne, Orlovsky clocked the ball. On the next play, he scrambled up the middle or a mere two yards. But wait, flag on the play! Illegal use of hands on Texans rookie J.J. Watt, first down Colts.

The next play, Orlovsky threw an incomplete pass to Austin Collie (who was actually healthy that season I might add). But wait, another flag. This time for roughing the passer, again on Watt. Although while I was happy about it benefiting the Colts, I distinctly remember it being a horrible, horrible call.

Orlovsky proceeded to throw an incomplete pass on first, second, and third down. However, on third down, Houston safety Glover Quin was flagged for pass interference in the end zone. First down from the one-yard-line.

On the first play, the Colts dialed up their signature goal line play in the Peyton Manning era, the fade. And it worked.

Wayne came down with the winning catch, and cheers of "Reggie, Reggie, Reggie" rained down upon him. Many, including myself, believed that this would be the last time we would see Wayne in a Colts uniform in Indianapolis.

Fortunately, Wayne did not join the mass exodus (whether by cuts or free agency) that followed in the off-season.

The 19-16 win also put the Colts in dangerous territory. It equaled their win total with the St. Louis Rams and the Minnesota Vikings, prompting a few fans to "worry" that the Colts would win the finale against Jacksonville and miss out on the first overall pick.

The Vikings would end up winning the ensuing Sunday against the Washington Redskins to, in effect, wrap up the third overall pick. The Rams would lose out, but so would the Colts, giving Indianapolis the top pick, the Rams the second, and the Vikings the third.

The Colts would proceed to let most of the key players from the 2000s era go in the off-season, including Coach Jim Caldwell, and Vice Chairman Bill Polian.

And if you needed a reminder on how the draft went: the Colts took Luck first, the Rams traded the second pick to the Redskins who took Robert Griffin III, and the Vikings traded the third pick to the Cleveland Browns who drafted Trent Richardson (an experiment which didn't last too long in Cleveland).

This Sunday will be the 13th game between the Colts and the Texans in Indianapolis. The Colts will be looking wrap up the AFC South, while the Texans will be looking to keep their playoff hopes alive.