We started on a track at Anderson University watching these new-look Indianapolis Colts go through their paces. Today, we come to you from Lucas Oil Stadium for what is most likely the last time this season as the Colts host the Houston Texans in the regular season finale.
The Colts will head out on the road next week for the duration of their playoff existence. Barring a miracle where the Colts and Bengals meet here for the AFC Championship, this is the last game at Lucas Oil this season. That means it could be the last game here for a number of Colts free agents, including Dwight Freeney and Pat McAfee.
Among the inactive Colts today are Tom Zbikowski, Delone Carter, Samson Satele, Cory Redding and Antonio Johnson. That means AQ Shipley will start again at center and Joe Lefeged will continue at safety. Lawrence Guy and Martin Tevaseu get the starts along the defensive line.
Of course, the focus this week is the return of head coach Chuck Pagano to the sideline. It promises to be an emotional afternoon, so follow it all here at Colts 101 or on Twitter @Colts_101.
12:51 The Colts will have a pre-game "welcome back" for Coach Pagano. This place will be electric.
1:01 The Colts have won the toss and will take the ball. We'll see whether or not they can contain the Texans pass rush right away.
1:02 Deji Karim gets out to the 25 where the Colts will set up shop.
1:04 JJ Watt drills Vick Ballard in the backfield on first down, but Andrew Luck steps up in the pocket and finds a crossing Reggie Wayne for 17 yards. A swing pass to Ballard gets the ball past midfield.
1:06 Underneath screen to TY Hilton gets to the Houston 31.
1:09 Luck gets good protection and finds Dwayne Allen for 20 yards down to the four.
1:11 Brandon Harris interferes with Reggie Wayne on a fade route. First down at the one for the Colts.
1:13 Play action lets Coby Fleener come free and Luck finds him for the touchdown. Outstanding first drive for the Colts offense. 13 plays, 75 yards, 7:09. Adam Vinatieri's extra point makes it 7-0.
1:16 Another Pat McAfee touchback means the Texans will start at their 20.
1:19 The Colts front seven doing a nice job on two stretch runs, but Arian Foster bounces it the other way for a first down.
1:21 Matt Schaub finds Owen Daniels for six on a third and four.
1:22 A screen to Andre Johnson and a pass to TE Garrett Graham gets the ball into Colts territory. Clifton Geathers gets through virtually unblocked for a sack.
1:24 Houston challenging that there were 12 men on the field for the Colts on the sack.
1:27 The refs rule that Houston just didn't block Geathers. They'll lose a time out with that as well.
1:29 The Texans get out of the jam when Schaub finds Devier Posey for the first down to the Colts 30.
1:31 On third and nine, Andre Johnson gets dropped for a loss of three, setting up a 51 yard attempt for Shayne Graham. He hits it to make it 7-3.
1:34 Vick Ballard gains four on first down, ending the first quarter with the Colts up 7-3.
1:38 Connor Barwin gets to Luck and forces a fumble which Houston recovers at the Colts 14. Can't have that.
1:42 Colts catch a break as the officials invoke the tuck rule, making Luck's play an incomplete pass. Brings up third and six.
1:43 Luck finds TY Hilton for the first down.
1:45 The pocket totally collapses on the next third down. Antonio Smith gets the sack forcing Pat McAfee's first punt of the day. Keshawn Martin returns it 23 yards to the 37 yard line.
1:49 Andre Johnson wide open on first down, takes the ball to the Colts 24.
1:51 Dwight Freeney with great backside pursuit drags Arian Foster down for a loss on third and short. The Texans have to settle for another field goal. Colts still lead 7-6.
1:54 Bradley Sowell gets a short kickoff and gets to the 21. Almost fumbled it away.
1:57 JJ Watt bats down Luck's first down pass. Luck then finds Wayne along the sideline for seven yards. Wayne sits down in the zone for the first down.
1:59 Luck quick-snaps the Houston defense catching them with too many men on the field. First and five from the 43.
2:00 Vick Ballard carries across midfield for the first down.
2:03 Vick Ballard drops a third down pass on a crossing route that would have netted a first down. Pat McAfee's punt checks up at the three yard line with Sergio Brown there to down it.
2:07 Andre Johnson flops like a European soccer player and draws a pass interference call on Vontae Davis.
2:08 Well-designed throwback screen to Owen Daniels picks up 15 out to the Colts' 30. Schaub goes for Daniels on a play action post route on the next play and is picked off by Vontae Davis who returns it to the Texans' 39.
2:11 A delayed handoff to Vick Ballard nets 20 yards down to the Texans' 19.
2:12 Houston diagnoses two short routes well and leaves the Colts with a third and nine from the 18 with 2:28 left in the half.
2:15 Luck finds TY Hilton who breaks a tackle and ruled down inside the one yard line. Vick Ballard plunges in on the next play to give the Colts a 14-6 advantage after Vinatieri's extra point. Six plays, 39 yards, 2:09 on the drive.
2:20 More good kickoff coverage as the Texans return man brought down at the 13. The Texans have 2:00, but only one timeout left.
2:22 Houston tries to quick snap a QB sneak to pick up a first down. Not only don't they make it, but they pick up a penalty. Houston will have to punt. The punt downed at the Colts 32. Indy has 1:18 and all three timeouts left.
2:24 Luck dumps a pass underneath to Mewelde Moore who gets close to the first down. Third and inches.
2:26 Luck gets the first down on the sneak and then is flushed from the pocket for an incompletion.
2:27 Kareem Jackson blows up Reggie Wayne on second down and then Luck overshoots Wayne on third down, forcing a McAfee punt. Another great directional effort bounces out at the Texans 13 yard line. Houston will likely sit on it and expire the half.
What a difference from two weeks ago. Then the Colts trailed 20-10 heading into the locker room. Today, they take a 14-6 lead into the break. The difference? Two touchdowns versus two field goals.
The Texans will get the ball first coming out in what will be a critical drive.
2:43 Keshawn Martin again unwisely brings the kick out of the end zone. Mario Harvey drops him at the 16.
2:46 Andre Johnson makes a catch on a third and short to narrowly pick up the first down. He slips a tackle on the next series and gets the ball into Colts' territory.
2:49 Schaub rolls right and hooks up with James Casey for a first down at the Colts 29.
2:50 Andre Johnson drops a touchdown pass.
2:51 Vontae Davis flagged for holding, keeps the Texans' drive alive.
2:52 Arian Foster cuts back and takes it in from 13 yards out. Shayne Graham's extra point makes it 14-13 Colts. 12 plays, 84 yards in 5:35. Typical Texans drive.
2:56 Deji Karim takes the kickoff out of the end zone to the 29 yard line where the Colts will set up shop.
2:59 Johnathan Joseph interferes with TY Hilton but it isn't called. Pat McAfee must punt and it rolls out at the Texans' 26.
3:04 Andre Johnson pick up a first down, then Arian Foster busts his first big run of the day, 39 yards to the Colts' 22.
3:06 The Texans' stall inside the red zone again. Shayne Graham connects from 36 to put the Texans ahead for the first time 16-14.
3:10 The Texans' lead is short-lived as Deji Karim goes 101 yards on the kickoff. Adam Vinatieri's extra point puts the Colts up 21-16.
3:13 Dwight Freeney blows up Derek Newton and sacks Matt Schaub. The Texans follow that up with a false start. Lucas Oil Stadium is rocking.
3:16 The Colts defense feeds off the crowd and forces a Texans' punt. TY Hilton returns it to the Colts 46 where the Colts will start with great field position.
3:19 Luck finds TY Hilton who loses the ball trying to stretch it out for the first down. The pass is ruled incomplete and the Colts punt. Houston gets flagged for holding on the touchback and will start at their own 10.
3:20 Schaub finds Johnson for a first down off play action. Johnson then gets away with a push off on Davis to get the ball near midfield.
3:23 Schaub overshoots Lestar Jean on a sideline route bringing up a third and 12. Kevin Walter gets wide open with Pat Angerer in coverage. The third quarter comes to a close with the Colts leading 21-16 and the Texans driving at the Indy 33.
3:28 Lawrence Guy comes through on third down and sacks Matt Schaub. Houston takes a time out to consider punting or trying a field goal.
3:30 Kubiak elects to have Shayne Graham try a 52 yarder that misses right. The Colts take over with a chance to put this one away.
3:33 Two negative runs put the Colts in a third and 13. Luck finds Wayne, but Anthony Castonzo is called for holding. Luck defies the down and distance finding TY Hilton down the seam for a 70 yard touchdown. Vinatieri's extra point makes it a 28-16 Colts lead with 11:22 left. It's Matt Schaub's ball game now.
3:38 Keshawn Martin nearly broke a return, which would have been huge for Houston, but Josh Gordy brings him down on the 29.
3:40 The Texans are quickly into Colts territory to the 30 yard line after big gainers to Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. Schaub goes down the sideline for Johnson Vontae Davis cuts off the route and picks it off in the end zone.
3:44 Vick Ballard going into clock-killing mode with two hard runs, bringing up a third and short. The Colts convert with a quick hitter to Dwayne Allen.
3:46 Luck takes a shot down field and Kareem Jackson whistled for pass interference in coverage against TY Hilton. Ball now at midfield.
3:49 Luck gets the Texans to jump offsides again with his cadence. Vick Ballard takes it within a chainlink of a first down at the 39.
3:51 Luck sneaks for the first down. After another Ballard run, Houston begins to burn their timeouts.
3:53 Ballard busts for seven inside the Texans 30. First down and the clock ticking under four minutes.
3:56 Luck to Wayne for the first down at the Houston 14. The Colts will let the clock roll to the two-minute warning. With Houston out of timeouts the Colts can just let it run.
An amazing cap to an amazing season. The Colts run out the final nine minutes of the game after the Davis interception. I can't emphasize enought the specialness of what the Colts have done this season. It's just not done in the NFL this way.
With the Ravens losing in Cincinnati, the Colts will likely be headed to Baltimore. There will be plenty enough story lines for that matchup. We'll have it all for you here on Colts 101.Tags: Football, Houston Texans, Indianapolis, Indianapolis Colts, NFL