INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts enter Week 16 of the regular season with their playoff fate out of their hands.
With a chance at home to take a firm grip on the AFC South, the Colts dropped their third straight game, for the second time this season, on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday's 16-10 loss to the Texans (7-7) was indicative of what transpired for the Colts the past two weeks---squandering early field position and the inability to make the play when it mattered most.
"We didn't finish," safety Mike Adams said of the Colts dropping to 6-8 on the season.
"We let them hang around and that's what you can't do. When you get turnovers and start fast like that, you have to do things to put them out and we didn't do that at all today."
The Colts jumped out to a 10-0 lead on Sunday, a margin that could have swelled even more, if not for the lack of points coming from several drives starting around midfield.
In Sunday's first half, the Colts reached Houston's side of the field on all five of their drives, yet only led 10-3 at intermission.
Against a defense that had been playing among the league's best in recent weeks, the Colts would end Sunday looking back on what could have been early on.
"Had many chances. Had many opportunities. Couldn't take advantage of them," a beaten up Matt Hasselbeck said after the 16-10 loss.
"This opportunity was right there. Right there. All we had to was seize it and we didn't."
After taking a 10-0 lead at the 6:12 mark of the second quarter, the Colts had one offensive possession produce more than 15 yards the rest of the way.
The Colts defense provided the offense one more golden opportunity late in the fourth quarter with a drive starting at the Texans 49-yard line with 3:07 to play.
However, a hit from Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph jarred the ball loose from Griff Whalen, ending the Colts last realistic shot.
"It sucks," Whalen said of the late fumble with the Colts approaching field goal range.
"Next thing I know, I was chasing the guy."
With both teams having to turn to their backup (backup) quarterbacks at times on Sunday, the Colts offense couldn't find any points over the game's final 36:12.
In the second half, the Colts offense went punt, punt, punt, punt, fumble and interception.
"We probably could have been a little more aggressive," Hasselbeck said after the Texans first ever win in Indianapolis.
"We were just in this mode that if we win the turnover battle, we win the game. We kind of thought that to win this game, no one had to do anything super hero, we just had to do everything right. Don't shoot yourself in the foot. And we sort of did."
The fact that Hasselbeck, who started his seventh game of the season on Sunday, survived 60 minutes was a feat in itself.
A fourth-quarter hit to Hasselbeck sent him to the sideline for four plays. After having his jaw looked at, Hasselbeck went back into the game and finished it.
With two games left in the regular season, the Colts don't know who their starting quarterback will be in Miami (5-8) next Sunday. Pagano said after the game he doesn't know the status for Andrew Luck.
The Colts will head to Miami with a sliver of a playoff hope, needing Houston to lose games against @Tennessee and Jacksonville (two teams already eliminated from the playoffs) to have any shot.
One week ago, the Colts hadn't lost a divisional game in more than 1,000 days.
They've now lost two in seven days, and with that goes their playoff control.
"We'd prefer obviously to not be in that position but we made our bed, now we have to sleep in it," Anthony Castonzo says.
Photos from the week 15 game against the Houston Texans.