Orlovsky considered the great moments Wayne has produced during an 11-year Colts career. He thought about Wayne's big catches, his game-winners and his highlight-reel stuff. And Orlovsky wanted to do his part in assuring Wayne created a few more memories on Thursday night.
“I was just thinking to myself, if it got to the point in the game where someone needed to make a play, (the ball) probably wasn't going anywhere but him,” Orlovsky said about Wayne. “I think he deserved that opportunity. Obviously, he continues to show that he comes up in the clutch.”
Clutch, indeed. The Colts yanked out a 19-16 victory over the visiting Houston Texans on the strength of a pair of stirring plays by Wayne in the final 2 minutes. A 12-play, 78-yard drive -- capped by Wayne's touchdown grab with 19 seconds left -- did the damage as the Colts won their second straight game and lifted their mark to 2-13.
Neil Rackers' third field goal gave Houston a 16-12 lead with 1:56 left. After the ensuing kickoff, the Colts had the ball at their own 22 with 1:50 remaining.
“The deep ball to Reggie is probably as good a catch as I've seen in a long time,” Orlovsky said. “We kept fighting, kept playing hard.”
The Indy drive got some help by a couple of defensive penalties. With 24 seconds left, the ball at the Houston 1-yard line and the Colts out of timeouts, Orlovsky lined up in the shotgun formation and lofted a pass to Wayne for the winning score. Wayne totaled eight receptions for 106 yards.
The march started with some words of wisdom for Orlovsky from veteran quarterback
“Peyton came up to me and said, 'You have 2 minutes and no timeouts. Just get it to a minute. If you get yourself to a minute with some completions, you could see what happens.' We were able to do that.”
But it couldn't have happened without Wayne.
“We just felt we'd have some one-on-one opportunities (with receivers),” Colts Coach Jim Caldwell said. “And if Dan could just get it close, in the neighborhood, then he has guys out there who could go up and get it for him. Reggie certainly had a spectacular game.”
And the triumph couldn't have happened without a formidable performance by the Colts' defense. Houston's only touchdown came on its first possession of the game after an Orlovsky fumble gave the Texans the ball at Indy's 17-yard line.
The Colts held Houston to 14 first downs while collecting 24. They held the Texans to 1-of-10 on third-down conversions while recording a 7-of-17 mark. And although Arian Foster ran for 158 yards, the Colts held the visitors to a total of 283 net yards.
“Without our defense,” Orlovsky said, “we don't even have a chance with the last drive. An unbelievable team effort.”
Caldwell liked what he saw, too, ahead of the season-ender at Jacksonville on Jan. 1.
“I think it was a great collective team effort,” the Colts coach said. “When the offense had to have a drive and take it down the field and score, we did it. When we needed a field goal, we got it. When we needed a stop on defense, we got the stop.”
Put simply, the Colts persevered.
“I think, certainly, this team is creating its own identity here towards the end of the season,” Caldwell said.
“I can just tell you that (it) was pretty special in that locker room this evening,” the coach added. “The guys fought like battle-tested individuals. … I'm not certain if I've been around a group of guys, particularly when things haven't gone well for us, that will fight you like this group. They will fight you right down to the last whistle.”
FIRST QUARTER (14:06 remaining)
The Texans got on the scoreboard first in dramatic fashion. Colts quarterback Dan Orlovsky fumbled on the first play from scrimmage when he was sacked by Brian Cushing. Brooks Reed recovered for Houston at the Indy 17-yard line. Two plays later, Arian Foster ran it in from the 9. Neil Rackers kicked the extra point. Texans 7, Colts 0
FIRST QUARTER (4:38 remaining)
Adam Vinatieri's 23-yard field goal put the Colts on the board. A formidable defensive stand by the Colts set up the score. Indy kept the Texans pinned inside their own 10-yard line, forcing a punt, and after a 20-yard return by Pierre Garcon, the Colts took over at the Houston 27.
FIRST QUARTER (2:01 remaining)
Rackers answered the Colts' field goal with one of his own, from 44 yards. The Houston drive got a jump-start with big gainers on the first two plays: a 29-yard pass from T.J. Yates to Kevin Walter, and an 18-yard run by Foster. Texans 10, Colts 3
SECOND QUARTER (3:36 remaining)
Vinatieri added another field goal, from 32 yards. The Colts' drive of seven plays and 47 yards got off to a nice start with a 17-yard reception by Reggie Wayne. A pair of defensive penalties helped Indy's cause, too. Texans 10, Colts 6
THIRD QUARTER (10:25 remaining)
Rackers connected on a 35-yard field goal for Houston on the first possession after halftime. Yates completed 12- and 17-yard passes for first downs early in the drive. Foster broke off a 30-yard run that set up the field goal. Texans 13, Colts 6
THIRD QUARTER (54 seconds remaining)
Vinatieri's 47-yard field goal pulled the Colts within four of Houston. Orlovsky completed 4-of-6 passes for 32 yards on the drive. Texans 13, Colts 9
FOURTH QUARTER (6:48 remaining)
Vinatieri's fourth field goal brought the Colts within a point of Houston. The Colts built a nice drive, deftly mixing passes and runs. Orlovsky was 4-of-5 passing for 55 yards.
FOURTH QUARTER (1:56 remaining)
The Texans lengthened their lead with a 31-yard field goal by Rackers just after the 2-minute warning. A huge play in the drive was a 10-yard reception by Jacoby Jones, who caught the ball after it caromed off the hands of Houston's Walter. It gave the visitors a first down at Indy's 21. Texans 16, Colts 12
FOURTH QUARTER (19 seconds remaining)
Reggie Wayne caught a 1-yard pass from Orlovsky to pull out the victory for the Colts. It culminated a 12-play, 78-yard drive. Wayne provided the big play of the drive with a 34-yard reception. Vinatieri kicked the extra point. Colts 19, Texans 16