The Houston Texans came from behind to stun the Indianapolis Colts tonight with a 26-23 overtime victory, retaining first place in the AFC South and dropping the Colts to last place.
The two teams went to overtime after the Texans mounted a game-tying drive to tie it up with 54 seconds left in the game. It was a three-play, 53 yard drive that took under a minute to finish, as Houston tied things up. The Colts had previously held big leads in the game, as they held a 13-3 lead in the first half and a 23-9 lead in the fourth quarter. So it was a huge blown lead for Indianapolis, and the fact that they gave up that kind of drive to Brock Osweiler without much resistance in that situation was pretty embarrassing. The Colts gave up a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter to the Texans, gave up a game-tying drive to a Brock Osweiler-led offense in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, and then gave up a field goal drive in overtime. That’s pretty damning. Early in the fourth quarter it looked like the Colts were headed for the division lead. Now, they’re in dead last.
For much of the first three-plus quarters, it was the best overall that the Colts have looked this year. Their offense was solid, their defense was good enough against the pass (though it was against Osweiler), and their specialists were once again phenomenal. But the Colts simply weren’t good enough to put away the Texans. Lamar Miller ran all over Indy’s defense, gaining 149 yards and a touchdown on the ground (averaging 6.2 yards per carry) and catching three passes for 29 yards and a score, racking up 178 total yards and two total touchdowns. Brock Osweiler really struggled, but at the end of regulation he led the Texans to the score they desperately needed.
Offensively, it also wasn’t perfect for the Colts, but it was solid - though arguably their worst passing output of the season and arguably the worst game for Andrew Luck this year. Luck threw for a touchdown and rushed for a score as well, and Frank Gore topped 100 yards rushing for the first time as a Colt and notched the first such game by a Colts back since 2012. Adam Vinatieri converted all three of his field goal attempts to bring his streak to 41 in a row, second all-time and one away from tying Mike Vanderjagt for the longest streak. But obviously, it wasn’t enough for the Colts.
The Colts are now in last place of the AFC South, as they fall to 2-4 on the season. The Jacksonville Jaguars are 2-3, but because they have fewer losses (thanks to their bye week) they’re ahead of the Colts, though they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker anyway. The Texans improve to 4-2 on the year and remain in first place, increasing the lead over Indianapolis and making it even more difficult for the Colts to try to climb out of the hole. We saw tonight how bad the AFC South is, but we also saw that the Colts are just as bad - and probably worse - than the rest of the division. And when the Colts blow a 14 point fourth quarter lead on the road to the Texans in a huge game like this, it’s hard not to wonder if this loss will have a crushing effect on the Colts’ 2016 season - and on Chuck Pagano’s future as the team’s head coach.