HOUSTON – It finally looked like the Colts were going to deviate from the cardiac nature they had to their first five games of 2016.
Playing Sunday night in Houston, the Colts built an early second-quarter, two-score lead.
When was that third score going to come?
Sunday night had the early feeling that this was the 60-minute contest the Colts were going to play complimentary football in all three areas.
With the defense putting together a dominant performance, the Colts had a 23-9 cushion with the fourth-quarter clock ticking past the midway point.
Fans were exiting NRG Stadium in droves.
The Colts had chances to send the rest of the home faithful to the exits, but instead the lack of a killer instinct from the visiting sideline gave Houston continued life.
Another heart-stopping finish was coming and the Colts could not get things calmed down quick enough.
"It's either we are starting fast and we are not finishing, or we are starting slow and playing fast in the second half," Frank Gore said in describing the first six games of the 2016 season.
"We've got to make our mind up, to play as a team and put four quarters together or we are going to keep digging a hole, deeper and deeper."
Sunday's 26-23 overtime loss for the Colts comes at a critical point in the 2016 season.
The Colts are now two games back in the AFC South and have started this year's divisional slate 0-2 for the first time since a forgettable 2011 campaign.
"You don't get too many opportunities to play for a lead in the division and we let one slip away," linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said of the team's first loss in Houston since 2012.
It was how the Colts were dealt Sunday's loss that particularly irked the veteran inside linebacker.
"I can handle losing games, but not in that fashion---when we have a big lead and we are playing well," Jackson said.
"We played well for probably 50 minutes of that game and the last 10 minutes we didn't play well at all."
Last year the Colts bounced back from a road overtime defeat to beat the undefeated Broncos.
This time around the Colts will hit the road following a road overtime loss, staying in the division, with a trip to Tennessee, where they will try and inch their way back towards the top of the AFC South.
"We've got a division game Sunday at 1:00," Erik Walden bluntly stated in Houston.
"Either you man up, or you fold. We got nobody in this locker room that's planning on folding, so we've just got to man up."