NFL Game Summary - Houston at Indianapolis|
(Sunday, December 30th)
Final Score: Indianapolis 28, Houston 16
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Indianapolis had nothing to play for, but
with Chuck Pagano back in charge, the inspired Colts shook up the
complexion of the AFC playoff picture.
Already locked into the fifth seed in the AFC, Andrew Luck threw two touchdown
passes and the Colts remained unbeaten at home against the Houston Texans with
a 28-16 triumph.
"To get a win, I think means the world to him (Pagano)," Luck said.
The 52-year-old Pagano, who was medically cleared by his doctor to return to
his coaching duties last week, made his first sideline appearance since Week 3
following a successful battle with leukemia.
"You have one thing that you find out is that you're a lot stronger than you
think you are," Pagano said of beating the cancer. "Have a positive attitude,
wake up every day, have faith and have a belief that you're going to beat it
and you're going to win."
The fans gave the cancer-beating coach a standing ovation after a video was
shown on the jumbotron shortly before the opening kickoff.
Under interim head coach Bruce Arians' watch, the Colts went 9-3 and secured a
spot in the postseason after their win over the Kansas City Chiefs last
The improbable playoff appearance comes on the heels of a 2-14 campaign. They
will play the Ravens in Baltimore in the wild-card round next Sunday at 1 p.m.
"They refused, they refused to let anyone write their story of what they could
or do not do," Pagano said.
Luck finished with 191 yards through the air on 14-of-28 efficiency for the
Colts (11-5), who moved to 11-0 all-time against Houston in Indy. Luck also
surpassed Peyton Manning's single-season rookie record for completions with
339 on the year.
Vontae Davis intercepted two passes in the win.
Andre Johnson tallied 141 yards receiving on 12 catches for Houston (12-4),
which dropped three of its last four games to close the season and could
have locked up home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a
"Disappointing because we had a great opportunity the last two weeks," Texans
head coach Gary Kubiak said of the loss. "We'll get our chin up and get back
With wins by the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots later Sunday, the
Texans will have to settle with the third seed. They will host the Cincinnati
Bengals in the wild card round Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (et).
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who entered the game two sacks away from
Michael Strahan's single-season mark of 22 1/2 set in 2001, did not register
one in defeat.
Two big plays helped swing the contest in Indianapolis' favor. Deji Karim had
a 101-yard kickoff return for touchdown right after Houston took its first
lead and T.Y. Hilton hauled in a 70-yard score a bit later.
The Texans trailed by eight at the half, but tallied 10 unanswered points to
start the third after Arian Foster ran in for a 13-yard score and Shayne
Graham nailed a 37-yard field goal to give Houston its first lead of the
contest, 16-14, with 5:22 left in the third.
The advantage, however, lasted just 12 seconds.
Karim took the ensuing kickoff at the goal line, found a huge crease in the
middle of the field and scampered free for the 101-yard score.
Following a pair of punts on back-to-back possessions, Schaub led the Texans
back into scoring position. He converted a 3rd-and-12 with a 22-yard strike to
Kevin Walter. On the next third down, however, this a 3rd-and-4, Lawrence Guy
sacked Schaub for an 8-yard loss, and Graham's ensuing 53-yard field goal
missed short and to the right.
And the Colts struck again just three plays later.
On a 3rd-and-23, Luck hit Hilton in stride perfectly as he outran three Texans
on a go route along the left seam for the 70-yard touchdown and a 28-16 Colts
edge early in the fourth.
Schaub overthrew Johnson on the fifth play of Houston's next touch and Davis
intercepted the pass in the end zone.
Indianapolis converted three third downs, moved the chains five times and took
the remaining 9:46 off the game clock to seal the win.
Earlier, the Colts took their opening possession of the game 75 yards in 13
plays, and Coby Fleener's 1-yard TD catch capped the march.
The Texans answered with two Graham field goals on consecutive series, 51 and
37 yards, respectively, which cut the deficit to 7-6 early in the second.
A bit later, Davis picked Schaub off and returned the interception 26 yards to
the Houston 39. Vick Ballard concluded the quick 6-play sequence with a 1-yard
Arians tied an NFL record for most wins after a midseason coaching change. He
tied the marks set by Hamp Pool of the Rams in 1952 and Wally Lemm of Houston
in 1961 ... It's the third time in Johnson's career that he finished with
1,500-plus receiving yards ... Foster registered his NFL-leading 15th rushing
touchdown for the Texans. He carried the ball 16 times for 96 yards.
12/31 01:49:52 ET