Another Colts/Texans December Meeting Comes In Indianapolis

Intro: By far the biggest game of 2016 for the Colts will come on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. What has changed since the last time the Colts (6-6) and Texans (6-6) met this season?

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INDIANAPOLIS – It's a loss the Colts won't be forgetting anytime soon, especially if they are watching the playoffs come January.

A primetime game on Oct. 16 saw the Colts and Texans once again playing in Houston at night.

With the early stake to the top of the AFC South up for grabs, the Colts put together easily their best game of football in 2016 (up to that point).

Leading 23-9 with the fourth quarter clock just past the midway point, things slowly unraveled for the visitors.

The eventual 26-23 overtime loss for the Colts marked the first time in Indianapolis' history that the Colts had blown a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead.

"I remember us playing really well and being up 23-9, five minutes to go or three minutes to go," Chuck Pagano said earlier this week. 

"Then an artery opened up and blood started gushing and we didn't have enough gauze and tape and bandages to stop the bleeding. That's momentum and they caught fire and we couldn't do anything about it, didn't do anything about it."

Here are seven takeaways from that Week Six meeting in Houston and what has changed in the past month:

  • Inability To Finish: When Adam Vinatieri knocked home a field goal with 7:04 remaining, the Colts led 23-9 and fans started hitting the exits at NRG stadium. Houston had shown little offensive life through the first three and a half quarters. That changed over the next hour. The Texans first scored on a 75-yard touchdown drive in 4:27. The Colts lost six yards on their next drive, going three-and-out. Houston forced overtime with a rather easy, 53-yard touchdown drive in 1:01. The inability to finish for the Colts was obvious, but they also squandered chances in Houston territory earlier in the game to truly put the Texans away.
  • Division Repercussions: The Colts are still feeling the effects from this October loss to the Texans. The wave of tiebreakers involving the Texans, and the division, are not in the favor of the Colts. This loss for the Colts put them at 0-2 to start their AFC slate, which was the first time since 2011 they had dropped their first two divisional games. It's this loss that has added to just how vital this week's game is for the Colts.
  • Davis Limits Hopkins: DeAndre Hopkins finished the first meeting between these teams with 9 catches for 71 yards in 15 targets. Most of the damage came when Vontae Davis wasn't shadowing Hopkins. When Davis was lined up across from Hopkins, the Texans receiver had just four catches in eight targets (for 31 yards). Brock Osweiler had a 20.3 quarterback rating when throwing Davis' way, including a third-quarter interception. Houston's best chance to find Hopkins in Week Six was moving him into the slot, where Davis would not follow the Pro Bowl wideout.
  • Miller's Best Of 2016: The Colts defense was pretty dominant for long stretches back in Week Six, but Lamar Miller did find leakage in the run game. Miller ran 24 times for a season-high 149 yards. The 6.2 yards per carry by Miller easily eclipsed his season average of 4.0 YPC. The fourth-quarter touchdown catch and run by Miller was the defensive lowlight for the Colts. On the play, Miller eluded at least a half dozen tacklers, a play that gave Houston hope in the historic comeback.
  • 100-Yard Drought Ends: After 55 games without a 100-yard rusher, the Colts got such an effort out of Frank Gore. It took overtime for Gore to get back over 100 yards. Gore's 22 carries for 106 yards did come against one of the league's better run defenses. Gore was consistent all night long with runs of 22, 13, 10, 9, 8 and 7 yards. The Colts needed this sort of outing from Gore because they lost Dwayne Allen, Phillip Dorsett and Quan Bray throughout the 26-23 overtime loss. Donte Moncrief also did not play.
  • Brock Does A 180: It's no secret that new Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler has struggled this season. That was the quarterback the Colts saw for a bulk of the first meeting in October. Something clearly changed later in the second half. Osweiler was 18-of-22 for 205 yards after halftime. He was just 7-of-17 for 64 yards in the first two quarters. Osweiler is the NFL's 31st rated passer this season.
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