Colts 17

(9-5, 3-4 away)

Texans 29

(12-2, 6-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, December 16, 2012

NRG Stadium, Houston, TX 

1 2 3 4 T
IND 0 10 7 017
HOU 10 10 3 629

Top Performers

Passing: M. Schaub (HOU) - 261 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: A. Foster (HOU) - 27 CAR, 165 YDS

Receiving: A. Johnson (HOU) - 11 REC, 151 YDS, 1 TD

Texans roll past Colts to secure 2nd consecutive AFC South title

Associated Press

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans now own the AFC South, and they have a message for the rest of the NFL:

Last week's debacle against New England was not the real Texans.

The real Texans, they claim, clinched the division for the second straight year with a 29-17 victory over Indianapolis.

"A lot of people were wondering how we were going to respond," Andre Johnson said. "I think a lot of people doubted us after what happened last week. We (felt) like we had to show people what we were really about."

They believe they did so against the Colts, a team that dominated the division for years before Houston's recent rise.

But Sunday's celebrations were more subdued than last year's. This time the Texans expected to win the division, and have much bigger goals ahead.

"It's awesome," J.J. Watt said. "But there's a lot more fun ahead, so I hope everybody is not celebrating too early."

Johnson gained 151 yards receiving and a touchdown, Bryan Braman had a special teams score on a blocked punt, and Shayne Graham kicked five field goals.

The Texans (12-2) grabbed their first AFC South title last season after the Colts nosedived without injured quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning is gone to Denver and rookie Andrew Luck couldn't do much against the inspired Houston defense.

The Colts (9-5) had won three straight games and needed a win to clinch a playoff berth a year after going 2-14 in 2011. Before that, they took the division seven times since Houston entered the league in 2002.

"It was a tough loss for us in that we came here with one idea and that was to win the division, and we're not going to win the division -- they did it," Indianapolis interim coach Bruce Arians said.

Thanks in great part to three sacks from Watt, Houston bounced back six days after the 42-14 loss to New England on national television. The Texans will have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs if they win out.

Luck threw for 186 yards with two touchdowns in the return to his hometown. He had led the Colts to a rookie-record six wins on drives in the fourth quarter or overtime this season, and he got the Colts within six points late in the third quarter.

"We came here to win, not put up a respectable showing," Luck said. "We'll move on to next week and hopefully get better."

Houston's defense shut Luck down after he made it close, and the Texans used Arian Foster to eat up the clock. Foster ran for a season-high 165 yards to leave him with 1,313 yards rushing, giving him his third straight year with at least 1,200.

"It's not really that we bounced back," Foster said. "It's that we played the football that we know we're capable of playing. We feel we're a team that if we play how we know we can ... it's going to be hard for us to get beat."

Watt increased his AFC-leading sack total to 19 1/2 -- the NFL record for a season is 22 1/2 -- and finished with 10 tackles. He also forced a fumble for the third straight game.

"I don't even know the stats," Houston coach Gary Kubiak said. "But it seemed like every time I looked up, he was making a play."

Luck was sacked five times playing behind a makeshift offensive line missing center Samson Satele (ankle) and right tackle Winston Justice (biceps).

Johnson, who has 11,008 yards receiving in his career, scored on a 3-yard reception to make it 10-0 in the first quarter. The Texans didn't score a touchdown on offense after that, but were helped by Braman's special teams effort.

Braman blocked his second punt of the season, recovered it and returned it 8 yards for his first career touchdown to make it 20-3 just before halftime.

Vick Ballard had 60 yards rushing on a Colts drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown reception by Dwayne Allen to cut Houston's lead to 23-17 in the third quarter. Ballard finished with a career-high 105 yards rushing.

Houston couldn't do anything on its next drive and punted. But Indy sputtered, and interim coach Bruce Arians even drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on a punt, giving Houston the ball at the Colts 39.

Graham added a 46-yard field goal to push the lead to 26-17 and made his fifth field goal with about a minute left.

Rookie T.Y. Hilton and Luck connected on a 61-yard touchdown pass just before halftime.

Watt's forced fumble on Mewelde Moore on the Houston 1 was recovered by Tim Dobbins early in the second quarter, robbing the Colts of points. And the Colts stalled inside the red zone again and had to settle for Adam Vinatieri's 26-yard field goal to cut Houston's lead to 10-3.

The Texans had set the tone as they got to Luck early, sacking him twice on the Colts' second drive. Antonio Smith got to him first, and Watt put a move on backup tackle Jeff Linkenbach and took him down for a 15-yard loss.

On offense, Johnson was dominant. He put Houston up 10-0 when he waltzed into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown reception. Johnson kept things going earlier in the drive when he caught a pass, lost it and then grabbed it again just before it touched the ground for a 10-yard gain on third-and-9.

Game notes

Luck needs 74 yards to break Cam Newton's rookie yards passing record of 4,051 yards. ... Dobbins has recovered four fumbles this season, a franchise record. ... Braman's two blocked punts this season are a single-season franchise record.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1923
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays5766
Total Yards272417
Yards per play4.86.3
Total Drives1110
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-00-0
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

houFG11:50Shayne Graham 29 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 6 plays, 69 yds, 3:13
houTD4:55Andre Johnson 3 Yard Pass From Matt Schaub (Shayne Graham Kick is Good)
Drive info: 13 plays, 57 yds, 5:44
indFG6:15Adam Vinatieri 26 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 26 yds, 2:10
houFG3:54Shayne Graham 35 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 63 yds, 2:22
houTD1:54Bryan Braman 8 Yard Return of Blocked Punt (Shayne Graham Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 9 yds, 2:04
indTD1:15T.Y. Hilton 61 Yard Pass From Andrew Luck (Adam Vinatieri Kick is Good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 74 yds, 0:39
houFG7:36Shayne Graham 27 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 78 yds, 6:20
indTD2:37Dwayne Allen 8 Yard Pass From Andrew Luck (Adam Vinatieri Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yds, 5:01
houFG8:35Shayne Graham 46 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 11 yds, 3:24
houFG1:09Shayne Graham 33 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 78 yds, 3:40

Research Notes

The Texans improve to 2-1 against the Colts when ANYBODY other than Peyton Manning is the starting quarterback after going 2-16 against Indy when Peyton was under center. They're scoring a touchdown more per game and allowing FAR fewer points and passing yards with Peyton out of the mix.
Matt Schaub posted a season-high 90.4 Total QBR against the Colts, his highest since Week 10 of last season against the Buccaneers (92.0). With the win, the Texans improve to 17-2 in games in which Schaub has an 85+ QBR over the last 5 seasons.
Houston sent five or more rushers on 52.9 percent of Andrew Luck's dropbacks on Sunday. Luck was able to handle the pressure in first and second down, but failed to complete a pass in five attempts on third down.
Arian Foster rushed for a season-high 165 yards, including 115 yards before contact. He had three rushes of at least 20 yards, including two rushes of at least 25 yards late in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Entering the game, Foster had averaged 58.8 yards before contact per game with five 20+ yard rushes in 13 games.
J.J. Watt finished with three sacks on Sunday against the Colts, and had six plays overall tackling a Colt for a loss (10.5 percent of Indianapolis' total plays from scrimmage). Watt now has 34.5 disrupted dropbacks this season (sacks + passes defensed + interceptions), 15 more than the next-closest player (Aldon Smith). Watt has disrupted 5.9 percent of dropbacks faced by Houston's defense, with no other player higher than 4.0 percent.

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