|Date of game: 12/14/2014
Recap: Indianapolis vs. Houston
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - The Indianapolis Colts captured their second straight AFC South crown with a 17-10 win over the Houston Texans.
Indianapolis' defense held the Texans to 289 total yards and forced a couple of turnovers, including an interception late that ended Houston's last chance to make a comeback.
Andrew Luck was held under 200 yards passing for the second time this season for the Colts (10-4), who only had 278 yards of offense themselves. Luck did connect with Hakeem Nicks and Dwayne Allen on second-quarter touchdown passes, while finishing 18-of-34 for 187 yards and an interception.
"It wasn't pretty, but to be division champs is special, and we're excited about that," said Luck.
Dan Herron led the Colts with 60 yards on the ground. T.Y. Hilton added 50 receiving yards on four catches.
Houston (7-7) lost starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick with a leg injury in the second quarter, forcing rookie Tom Savage into duty. Savage completed 10- of-19 passes for 127 yards and an interception in his NFL debut.
Arian Foster ran for 99 yards on 26 carries for the Texans, while DeAndre Hopkins caught five passes for 77 yards.
Fitzpatrick got hurt on a second-down run early in the second quarter with the game tied at 7-7. On Savage's second play under center, a miscommunication with Foster led to a 5-yard loss, while a mishandled handoff to Foster on Houston's next possession was recovered by Indianapolis, which turned the ball over a play earlier when Reggie Wayne was stripped on a short catch.
Indianapolis was able to take advantage of the miscue, as Luck's 3-yard touchdown pass to Allen capped a 37-yard drive that gave the Colts a 14-7 lead.
"We've got to work on the ball handling at practice more," said Texans coach Bill O'Brien. "We work on it every day, but he'll get better at that."
A 35-yard connection between Savage and Hopkins late in the first half moved the chains before the drive stalled in Colts territory. The Texans took the field to punt from the Indianapolis 40, but instead snapped the ball to running back Alfred Blue. The Colts sniffed out the fake, however, and tackled Blue for a 2-yard loss.
It appeared the Colts were able to take advantage of Houston's aggressiveness before the half came to an end, when Donte Moncrief caught a 48-yard pass in the end zone off a deflection. However, a holding penalty negated the score. J.J. Watt then sacked Luck for the second time in the half as time expired.
Foster scored a 25-yard touchdown on fourth down early in the final quarter, but a holding penalty on the outside negated the score. Houston settled for the field goal, and Randy Bullock nailed a 53-yarder to cut the deficit to 14-10.
Houston moved the ball back into Colts territory on its next drive, but its fourth-down woes continued. Savage's pass to Hopkins fell incomplete, and the Texans gave the ball back to Indianapolis.
Taking over with 7:14 remaining, the Colts embarked on a time-consuming drive that drained over five minutes off the clock. Adam Vinatieri's 29-yard field goal capped the drive to extend the lead to 17-10.
"The last drive was huge," said Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano. "The three points was enough."
Inside the two-minute warning, Houston was facing a 3rd-and-3 still in its own territory. Savage fired the ball to Hopkins down the left sideline, but after the receiver got his hands on the ball, it fell to the turf due to a big hit by Sergio Brown.
On the following play, Savage was picked off by Vontae Davis to end the comeback bid.
Luck threw behind Coby Fleener on the Colts' third drive of the game, and Houston's Kendrick Lewis was in position to take advantage. He intercepted the pass and easily returned it for a 27-yard touchdown, making Luck miss a tackle along the way for Houston's only trip into the end zone.
The Colts were able to tie the game at 7-7 on the first play of the second quarter. Nicks found a huge hole in Houston's zone coverage, received the pass from Luck and lowered his shoulder into Lewis as he crossed the goal line for the 26-yard score.Game Notes
Indianapolis ran its winning streak to four games ... Houston's winning streak
was snapped at two ... The Colts are now 13-0 all-time against Houston in
Indianapolis ... The Texans have forced a takeaway in 15 straight games ...
Foster's streak of seven straight games with a touchdown ended ... Wayne set
the Colts' franchise record with 209 games played ... Indianapolis' streak of
20 games with 20 or more points scored was snapped ... Watt tied Mario
Williams for the Texans' all-time franchise sack lead.