It was their first home game in a month. The Reliant Stadium crowd was like a double espresso to this team that was coming off a painful loss to New England to cap a rare three game road swing.
Led by magnificent games from J.J. Watt, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson, the Texans had a convincing if not dominating 29-17 win over Indianapolis. The victory enabled Houston to clinch a second straight AFC South crown and kept them alive for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Colts did not go down easy as Andrew Luck, despite being sacked five times, played well enough to keep the outcome in doubt into the fourth quarter. He threw a 61 yard touchdown pass that quieted the rowdy crowd moments after Brian Braman rocked the house with a blocked punt recovered and returned for a touchdown.
That TD was part of an extended Colts run that whittled a 17 point lead down to six and set the stage for a crucial fourth quarter closing performance. Houston’s offense went to the ground as they opened gaping holes for Foster. Meanwhile the defense had seen enough and made sure the Colts running game and passing attack would no longer be useful.
Watt was brilliant with three sacks and six tackles for loss. The downside for the defense was blown coverage on Luck’s TD pass to T.Y. Hilton and an 80 yard second half drive that was mostly earned through running plays.
Foster’s running and stellar play from Andre Johnson carried the day on offense. The negative was red zone play (1-5) but Houston controlled the clock and didn’t turn the ball over.
Shayne Graham missed a 50 yard FG as time expired in the first half. But he was five for six in the game and made a clutch 46 yard attempt in the 4th quarter to give Houston a nine point lead and a bit of a cushion.
Gary Kubiak didn’t take too many chances. He knew his defense was playing well and he wasn’t going to start throwing the ball around too much and risk giving Luck extra possessions. He’s not happy about nine penalties and a few blown assignments. But on a short week against a good team, the Texans picked up a 12 point win and another division title. There is a long way to go but the moment is worth savoring and celebrating…for at least 24 hours.
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