The Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans lock horns for the first time in 2012 at Reliant Stadium in Houston. For the Colts, this is the first of what they hope is two showdowns with the Texans for the AFC South title. With a win today, the Colts set up another ultimate showdown two weeks from now at Lucas Oil Stadium. A loss gives the Texans the division title.
The Colts are going to have to play short-handed today as Tom Zbikowski, Samson Satele, Winston Justice and Kavell Conner all stayed home in Indianapolis. We'll have all the commentary here and on Twitter @Colts_101.
1:02 The Texans get their hands on the ball first after Pat McAfee predictably booms a touchback.
1:04 Right away, off play action, Matt Schaub finds Andre Johnson who had beaten Vontae Davis. Texans in the red zone.
1:06 The Colts' defense holds on third down. Shayne Graham boots on home from 29 yards, giving the Texans an early 3-0 lead. Considering the early haymaker though, that's a win for the defense.
1:09 A holding penalty on the kickoff pins the Colts deep to start. Vick Ballard with a good, hard run on first down though.
1:11 Glover Quin bats away Luck's third down pass intended for Reggie Wayne. A three and out on the first drive. Not what the doctor ordered.
1:15 Schaub finds Owen Daniels on another play action pass and picks up the first down into Colts territory. Vontae Davis was shaken up on the play.
1:15 Owen Daniels picks up another first down, this time with a nice catch that moves the chains.
1:21 James Casey, the other tight end, picks up another first down. After a penalty, the Texans are on the edge of the red zone.
1:22 Andre Johnson with another phenomenal catch to pick up the first down.
1:24 Andre Johnson beats Cassius Vaughn on a slant route and the Texans complete a 14 play drive and take a 10-0 lead. Absolutely not the optimal start for the Colts.
1:30 A much needed first down as the Texans commit consecutive penalties.
1:31 After a sack, Luck finds Donnie Avery over the middle to make it a third and short. A Houston personal foul keeps the drive alive and takes the Colts into Houston territory for the first time.
1:33 Vick Ballard picks up nine on first down and then carries for five more and a first down.
1:34 JJ Watt chases down Luck for a 15 yard loss. Two sacks already.
1:35 Luck had TY Hilton on 3rd and 25. Wouldn't have been a first down, but would have gotten them into field goal range. The first quarter comes to a close with the Texans up 10-0.
1:39 McAfee's punt fair caught inside the 20. At least the Colts will have favorable field position to work with.
1:41 Robert Mathis not fooled on a play action and sacks Schaub back at the four yard line.
1:44 The Colts defense holds and Donnie Jones shanks a punt badly, giving the Colts the ball at the Texans 37.
1:47 A wide receiver screen to TY Hilton picks up 17 yards down to the Houston 19. Mewelde Moore gets a six yard gain on first down from there.
1:49 Holding on the Texans' secondary as they tried to contain Reggie Wayne. First and goal Colts.
1:50 A slant to Donnie Avery gets the ball down to the two.
1:52 Mewelde Moore coughs up the football inside the one. Houston recovers.
1:57 The defense holds again and forces a punt. Houston gets called for holding after a nice return from TY Hilton. The yardage is added to the end of the kick, giving the Colts great field position once again.
2:00 Vick Ballard takes a delayed handoff 19 yards and the Colts are in business again at the Texans' 15.
2:01 Ballard picks up nine on first down behind Anthony Castonzo.
2:02 JJ Watt absolutely blows up Jeff Linkenbach, dropping Ballard for a five yard loss. The Colts face a third and goal now. Reggie Wayne makes a tremendous grab in the back of the end zone. Offsetting penalties negate the touchdown, however.
2:06 Adam Vinatieri's field goal makes it a 10-3 Texans lead, but the Colts have been inside the five yard line twice and come away with only three points.
2:10 Moises Fouku called for a personal foul against Matt Schaub, giving the Texans a first down on a third down and keeps the drive alive. Schaub finds Devier Posey over the middle for a huge gain made worse when Joe Lefeged gets a personal foul for playing football.
2:14 Shayne Graham boots a field goal to put the Texans up 13-3. The Colts aren't helping themselves and certainly aren't getting any breaks from the guys in stripes, but they're still in the game.
2:18 Luck finds Dwayne Allen for a first down as the Colts look to get more points before the half. JJ Watt gets another sack, his second and the Texans' third of the first half.
2:20 The Colts face a third and 16 as the two-minute warning hits.
2:22 Luck stares down Reggie Wayne and is almost picked off. Then Ryan Braman comes free and blocks Pat McAfee's punt for a Houston touchdown. Huge turn of events puts the Texans up 20-3.
2:27 With 1:39 and three timeouts, it's almost imperative that the Colts get some points on the board before the half. Donnie Avery obliges to start with a 12 yard gain out to the 38.
2:28. Then TY Hilton gets wide open behind the Texans' secondary for a score. The extra point makes it 20-10. Never count this team out.
2:31 The Texans pick up a first down in their own hurry-up and then spend their first time out with 44 seconds left in the half.
2:32 The Colts doing a nice job tackling on the underneath routes and the Texans have to quickly spend another time out.
2:33 As soon as I say that, the Colts let Andre Johnson get the ball down the middle. That give Shayne Graham an opportunity for a 49 yard field goal attempt. He misses it and the first half draws to a close with Colts down 20-10.
All things considered, it's not that bad. The Colts will get the ball first in the second half and points would make it a one score game. As far as our game keys, the Colts are losing time of possession, but not by much. The Texans early start accounted for most of that. It's the turnovers that have hurt. The fumble by Moore cost the Colts at least three points and the blocked punt gave Houston a score.
They'll need another trademark perfect second half to win this one.
2:49 Deji Karim starts things off positively with a great kickoff return out to the 39 yard line.
2:52 Luck had Hilton over the middle across midfield, but threw just behind him. Pat McAfee with a good angled kick. The Texans will start on their own 14. The defense needs another stop to keep the pressure on Houston.
2:55 Arian Foster gets loose for 31 yards and then Schaub hits Andre Johnson on a fade route. Just like that, the Texans flip the field and have the Colts on their heels.
2:57 Pat Angerer got tackled in the middle of the field in front of God and everybody and no call. The Texans are in the red zone.
3:01 A Dwight Freeney sack puts the Texans in a third and goal from the 15. Shayne Graham's field goal is a moral victory, but extends the Texans' lead to 23-10.
3:07 Vick Ballard running well behind Joe Reitz. Another big run. Not so much running behind McGlynn.
3:08 Ballard with a patient run this time picks up the first down and gets the ball into Houston territory.
3:10 Ballard spins out of a tackle at the line of scrimmage and then picks up 12 down to the 36 yard line.
3:11 Illegal contact against the Texans gives the Colts a first down when they looked to be in trouble.
3:13 Vick Ballard continues to dominate on the ground, gaining 22 down to the nine. Then Andrew Luck finds Dwayne Allen settled down in the zone at the goal line. That's a key drive that brings this one to within one score at 23-17.
3:16 Keyshawn Martin unwisely brings out Pat McAfee's kickoff and the Texans will start from their own 15.
3:18 Owen Daniels had been quiet since the first quarter but picks up 16 and a first down.
3:20 Great play by Cory Redding sniffing out a Foster run setting up a third and 15. Schaub threads the needle to Andre Johnson, however, and picks up the first down as the third quarter comes to a close with Houston leading 23-17.
3:23 Antoine Bethea sacks Schaub on a safety blitz, getting the Texans behind the chains.
3:24 The defense holds on third and 11 and will get the ball back. Houston starting to sweat.
3:26 Hilton with a nice return, but Mewelde Moore called for a block in the back. Colts start deep in their own territory.
3:29 The Texans stuff Vick Ballard on consecutive plays. Luck misses Hilton on third down, forcing a Pat McAfee punt from the back of his own end zone.
3:30 McAfee booms a 63 yarder, but Martin returns it up to the 46. Bruce Arians called for unsportsmanlike conduct which will let Houston start in Colts' territory.
3:34 The Texans start on the Colts' 39. A pass to Devier Posey and an Arian Foster run nets a first down.
3:36 Arian Foster broke free for an apparent touchdown, but it's called back on a hold.
3:38 Moises Fouku makes a huge stop on a screen to Arian Foster. Shayne Graham connects from 46, however, giving the Texans a 26-17 lead.
3:42 A Luck scramble and a Ballard run creates a third and one must have. Dwayne Allen carries for the first down. Colts still huddling with seven minutes left.
3:43 The pocket collapses around Andrew Luck and he's sacked on first down, putting the Colts behind the chains.
3:44 Luck connects with Dwayne Allen on a beautiful throw and catch that picks up the first down.
3:46 The officiating crew makes a really bad call for intentional grounding when Luck was clearly hit as he threw. That left the Colts in a third and 20. and incompletion forces a McAfee punt. A subsequent Houston penalty moves the ball back, but the Colts now have to hold with 4:45 left.
3:50 Andre Johnson picks up eight and Arian Foster gets the first down. Not looking good.
3:52 With the Colts trying to tackle the football, Arian Foster breaks one out near midfield. Then he follows that up with a nine yard run.
3:53 Following a Colts timeout, Foster breaks another run this time down to the Colts 20. This one is all but finished.
4:01 A fifth Shayne Graham field goal takes the lead to 29-17. Good for my fantasy team.
The Colts gave it a valiant effort, but in the end couldn't protect Andrew Luck enough and couldn't hold onto the football when it counted. The fumble at the goal line and the blocked punt ended up being the difference in the game.
On the positive end, Vick Ballard proved himself against a good defense which should serve him well heading down the stretch. A victory next week in Kansas City still clinches a playoff spot for the Colts.
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