Nov 3, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. The Colts defeated the Texans 27-24.
Photo by Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Colts 27 – Texans 24
The Colts might as well have played two separate games Sunday night, for Indianapolis was a very different team in the second half from what it was in the first. The Colts overcame a 21-3 halftime deficit in the final 30 minutes of Sunday Night Football to beat their division rivals, the Houston Texans, at Reliant Stadium.
Early on, the Texans had their way. Third string quarterback Case Keenum threw two 40+ yard touchdowns to wide receiver Andre Johnson before the first quarter ended. Johnson racked up 170 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns in the first half alone. The Colts’ special teams also struggled early, with Pat McAfee fumbling a punt and having another blocked. When the offense then stalled, the Colts fell into a hole. Andrew Luck completed just three of his 12 pass attempts for 56 yards in the first half. The Colts also failed to convert on all five of their third down attempts in the opening 30 minutes. It was obvious the Colts were missing Reggie Wayne, who is out for the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL two weeks ago against Denver but traveled with the team to Houston for moral support.
But when halftime arrived, things changed dramatically. Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak suddenly collapsed on the sideline while walking off towards the locker room. He was rushed to the hospital. Clearly, the scary event emotionally affected the Texans. Without their play caller on the sideline, the Texans played much more conservatively in the second half. They would also miss three crucial field goals. The Colts capitalized on the errors.
Indianapolis came out for the final 30 minutes with amnesia; they forgot about their first half mistakes and moved on. Andrew Luck completed 15 of his 28 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns in the second half. T.Y. Hilton was the beneficiary, catching all three scores. The Colts outscored the Texans 24-3 and found themselves with the lead in the fourth quarter, and they didn’t look back.
In 24 career starts, Andrew Luck now has 10 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. He has an uncanny ability to learn from his mistakes and not make them ever again. However, going forward without Wayne to help him out on third downs, Luck will need hep from the running game. The running backs only accumulated 69 yards Sunday, their worst output of the season.
The Colts will host the St. Louis Rams Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and will look to improve in some key areas so the comebacks are not as necessary and some pressure can be taken off Luck and the offense. Only time will tell how well the team can adjust without Wayne going forward, but earning last night’s victory, no matter how ugly it was, is a pretty good start.