The Houston Texans played better, executed and were coached better in their 16-10 come from behind win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon. The road win over the Colts was a Houston first following 13 consecutive losses at Indianapolis. With the win, Houston took control of a weak AFC South and put themselves in line for a third division title in five seasons.
Trailing 10-0 early, it appeared that the Texans were in for another long day especially after back-up quarterback T.J. Yates tore his ACL. Enter not just much maligned Brandon Weeden but the Houston defense to save the game. Over the course of the game, the Texans held Indianapolis to just 50 yards on the ground and to less than 200 yards of total offense plus effecting two key turnovers. Maybe more importantly was the defense’s ability to stop the Colts on third down limiting them to a 31% efficiency rating after allowing 43% and 50% in their previous two games to the Patriots and Bills.
“Give our defense a lot of credit,” said Texans head coach Bill O’Brien following the win. “These guys really played hard, did a good job of, maybe gave up some yards here and there but overall they got off the field on third down and really give our defense a lot of credit because they kept us in the game in the first half.”
It was the defense with under three minutes to play that saved the game for Houston. Defensive back Kareem Jackson scopped up a forced fumble by Jonathan Joseph that stopped a potential game tying field goal attempt by Indianapolis and led ti a Nick Novak 32 yard field goal that sealed the win.
Meanwhile a Brandon Weeden led offense was actually moving the football and putting points on the board. Weeden 11 of 18 in his first action since signing with the Texans nearly a month ago to the day threw a touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Jaelon Strong to give Houston a lead it would never relinquish with in taking control of the AFC South.
It didn’t hurt that running back Alfred Blue one week after virtually never seeing the field against New England rushed for 107 yards on 27 carries. The former LSU back had only 14 yards total on his previous four carries entering Sunday’s match-up. O’Brien described the second year back’s effort as running with a purpose. Maybe more importantly it was the offense’s ability to convert on third and fourth down that kept the Colts from winning. Just a week after converting a miserable 3 of 16 against the Patriots, the Texans showed off a 41% efficiency rating against the Indianapolis.
The Texans improve to 7-7 in 2015 and control their playoff destiny with two games remaining.