INDIANAPOLIS — For the second time in three weeks, the Indianapolis Colts got brought to the wire by the Houston Texans, with a fumble on the final play being the deciding factor.
The Colts beat the Texans on Sunday 27-20.
“A great team win, really proud of the guys,” said head coach Frank Reich. “We know these division games are always going to be tough. We have a lot of respect for this team and they have great players, so it was a tough contest.”
It could have been a game that had gone to overtime had it not been a forced fumble by the Colts defense when Texans receiver Keke Coutee caught the ball inside the Colts’ 10-yard line.
“For one, if you know me, you know I punch every time I tackle,” said Darius Leonard, who forced the fumble. “Just being in that situation, actually me and Khari (Willis) were trying to make a check first of all before the snap. Luckily, we made that check to put me in that position.”
The ball rolled into the endzone where it would be the Colts who recovered it forcing a touchback and thus the end of the ball game.
The Colts took control early with Jonathan Taylor running for a touchdown and Philip Rivers throwing another in the first quarter.
The Texans would not be deterred, however, as they would score 10 unanswered points to take at 14-10 deficit into the locker room.
Both teams would exchange field goals, one of which was a 53-yarder from rookie kicker Rodrigo Blankenship. Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson picked apart the Colts defense to score a game-tying touchdown, bringing the score to 20-20, with seven minutes remaining in the game.
“We haven’t been in that position. Tie ball game, we get the ball back and here we go,” said Rivers. “There is five and half minutes left to go win it or to take the lead, so it was good. It felt good though. It felt like we were calm.”
Rivers then engineered a nine-play, 73-yard, clock-killing drive the resulted in a touchdown pass to Zach Pascal.
The Texans’ subsequent drive took the ball the length of the field with 1:54 left to go, but the forced fumble from Coutee would put the game on ice.
Rivers finished with 228 yards passing along with two touchdowns. Taylor carried the ball 16 times for 83-yards and a touchdown.
The Colts move to 10-4 with the win and are still tied atop the AFC South with the Tennessee Titans as they beat the Detroit Lions in tandem. The Titans hold the tiebreaker for the division title with just two weeks remaining.
Indy heads to Pittsburgh next where they have a date with the Steelers at Heinz Field next Sunday.
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