The Houston Texans (7-6) picked up a huge win in Indianapolis, downing the Colts (6-7) by a score of 22-17. Houston is now control of their own destiny to the playoffs and owns all tiebreakers throughout the AFC South.
The Texans are now 4-0 in the division and have already beaten the Tennessee Titans, who are 1-3 against division opponents, once this season. When a division race is so close, tiebreakers play a crucial role in how things shape up. Houston now has the upper hand in that department. Here are the four key takeaways from the Texans’ victory in Lucas Oil Stadium:
- Houston’s run game is a force to be reckoned with
Part of the reason Houston won in Indianapolis today is because the Colts’ defense had no answers for Lamar Miller or Alfred Blue. Miller carried the football 21 times for 107 yards, while scoring the Texans’ only offensive touchdown of the day on a two-yard run. Miller’s performance today made him eclipse 1,000 yards rushing on the season.
However, Blue was also instrumental in Houston’s victory, carrying the ball 16 times for a hard-earned 55 yards. Blue being able to effectively jump into the Texans’ running back rotation gave Miller a chance to recharge and continue battering up Indianapolis’ front seven. By running so often, the Texans were able to hold on to the ball for 36 minutes, which kept Luck off the field for the majority of the game.
- The Texans’ stout defense got the best of Andrew Luck
The Texans won the turnover battle, which gave Houston extra opportunities to put more points on the board. While Luck was able to throw for 276 yards and two scores, he also turned the ball over three times. Quintin Demps registered the first interception of the game and put Houston’s offense in the red zone, where the Texans were able to come away with three points as a result.
On Luck’s second interception, the Texans played excellent man coverage, not allowing any Colts receivers to get open. As Luck was getting hit, he tried to get rid of the ball in hopes to avoid a sack, only to have Andre Hal intercept his pass and put Houston in the red zone once again, where the Texans collected another three points.
Jadeveon Clowney recorded Houston’s only sack of the game, but it was a critical one. When the Colts were deep in the red zone and appeared ready to score a touchdown, Clowney strip-sacked Luck and the Texans recovered the fumble. Consequently, Houston generated three more points on their next offensive drive to take a 19-10 lead.
Brian Cushing had a memorable day as well, becoming the all-time leading tackler in Texans history, surpassing DeMeco Ryans. Cushing recorded three solo and three assisted tackles against Indianapolis and now has 639 career tackles to his name.
- Nick Novak’s perfect outing was crucial to Houston’s victory
With Houston’s offense struggling to put the football in the end zone, Novak had his number called often, and converted on all five of his field goal tries. One of Novak’s kicks was from 52 yards, which is no easy kick to make.
Because of these successful conversions, the Colts were in a position where they had to score a touchdown to win the game, as Houston lead by five late in the fourth quarter. The Texans then stopped Indianapolis on fourth down to finally put an end to the game, as the Colts were out of timeouts and couldn’t stop the clock.
- Brock Osweiler delivered yet another lackluster performance
The Texans’ victory over Indianapolis today was done in no part due to Osweiler. Against an abyssal secondary, one of the worst in the NFL, Osweiler was only able to complete 14 passes for 147 yards with no scores and an interception.
Houston will need to continue running the ball down their opponent’s throats if they want to have a chance to make a run in the postseason, as Osweiler continues to struggle. The Texans only registered nine points off of three turnovers, which goes to show how bad Osweiler is at his job. If Houston fails to make the playoffs, it will be because of the dreadful play under center.