The Thursday Night Football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans was by far the most suspenseful and competitive of the season, but that’s not really saying all that much considering the last four matches on NBC’s primetime NFL game were blowouts with the victor triumphing by over 20 points in each contest. This game looked like more of the same as Andrew Luck and the Colts jumped out to a seemingly insurmountable 24-0 lead in the 1st quarter with a field goal by Adam Vinatieri, a touchdown scamper by RB Trent Richardson, another run by RB Ahmad Bradshaw and a touchdown catch by TE Coby Fleener.
But the Texans began chipping away early in the 2nd quarter as QB Ryan Fitzpatrick would connect with underperforming WR Andre Johnson, who was once in the argument for best wide receiver in the NFL, and another by steady RB Arian Foster. Foster would score again in the 2nd quarter and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say coach Chuck Pagano and the Colts’ sideline suffering from a mass outbreak of sphincter-itis as the Texans continually chipped away at their lead and frustrated their offense with constant pressure up front.
DE JJ Watt was the catalyst behind a Houston defense that sacked QB Andrew Luck three times. Watt would record two sacks of his own. He would also contribute seven tackles total, three of which went for a loss, and return a fumble for a touchdown-his third of the season. Watts’ third touchdown is the most by a defensive end since William “Refrigerator” Perry recorded three scores for the Chicago Bears back in 1985.
Despite the successful pressure the Texans were able to administer with their front seven, the secondary was getting torn to shreds by WR T.Y. Hilton. He would catch all nine passes he was targeted with on the road to 223 yards and a touchdown. Houston’s Andre Johnson would try to return the favor as best he could with 99 yards and a touchdown. Arian Foster continued his strong season with 20 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Despite a long night that saw QB Ryan Fitzpatrick sacked five times, the Texans seemed poised to take the lead after Watts’ touchdown brought them within striking distance at 33-28.
But the offense couldn’t capitalize on multiple drives late in the 4th quarter. The consummate game manager, Fitzpatrick was largely steady in the pocket the entire game despite the pressure. The stage was set for a dramatic finish of epic proportions as the Texans forced the Colts to punt with 2:22 left in the game. However, a sack on his own 18 yard line with 2:00 minutes left in the game was the death nail in all hopes of a come from behind victory as Indianapolis recovered and ran out the clock in route to victory. With the loss the Houston Texans are now 3-3 as they prepare for a trip to Pittsburgh to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers next week. Meanwhile, the victorious Indianapolis Colts are now 4-2 but they won’t rest on their laurels as they prepare for the Cincinnati Bengals and their potentially explosive offense in their next match up.