HOUSTON – For the 10th straight occasion, the Colts walked out of a stadium following a Thursday night contest on the right side of the scoreboard.
The Colts 27-20 victory on Thursday night put them firmly atop the AFC South, before a 10-day break comes ahead of the New England Patriots arriving to Lucas Oil Stadium for Sunday Night Football.
Here's a notebook look at the Colts (3-2) third straight win of the season, this one over the Houston Texans (1-4):
Colts Set NFL Record
The Colts equipment staff is going to be busy in the next week.
That's because Chuck Pagano issued a game ball to every player after the Colts recorded an NFL record 16th straight divisional win on Thursday night.
The run in the AFC South began in the 2012 regular season finale, the first game Pagano was back from the illness that sidelined him that inaugural season as Colts head coach.
On Thursday night, the record was set in the venue where the Colts last AFC South loss came (December 16, 2012).
"We could have given out some individual (game balls), but to surpass the only team in the NFL that had a perfect season – the '72 Dolphins – and go 16-straight division games and hold that record now, that is something that every man on this football team and everybody in our organization can share," Pagano said after the Colts moved to 3-2 on the season.
"That is something nobody can ever take away from you, so very, very proud of what those guys were able to accomplish."
While the AFC South outside of Indianapolis has struggled to hit on their top draft picks and consistently challenge the Colts, the team from up north in the division continues to dominate.
"Nothing to sneeze at. It's a big accomplishment," Robert Mathis said after the game.
"You really can't take light of it. I'm happy to be a part of it."
Colts Neutralize Reigning Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt**
The stat line made you run your finger across it a second, and third, time.
No sacks for J.J. Watt? No solo tackles for the NFL's most disruptive player?
That was indeed true on Thursday night in Houston.
The Colts limited the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year to two assisted tackles in 65 defensive snaps for Watt.
"Justin James (Watt) is arguably the greatest defensive player in this league and for him to have a quiet night, attributed to a short week and great coaching," Dwayne Allen said after the 27-20 victory.
"He's definitely a guy we have to game plan for as a game wrecker. We tried our best to keep him from affecting plays."
Watt's stat line marks just the second time in his 69-game NFL career that he has been shut out in the solo tackle department.
With Matt Hasselbeck firing the ball out in an efficient manner and Frank Gore gliding through the Texans defense, the Colts entire offensive line was smiling wide post game.
"The offensive line was outstanding," Pagano said in hits post-game press conference. "Great protection. Frank ran for (98) yards. No sacks.
"Offensive line was tremendous."**
T.Y. Hilton Ices Game
**You knew T.Y. Hilton wasn't going to leave Houston without making an impactful play on Thursday night.
Hilton's five-catch 88-yard night had a cherry on top with a 43-yard sideline snag in trying to seal the victory.**
**"It was a gutsy call," Matt Hasselbeck said after the game, before doing a little storytelling.
"Chuck Pagano last night gave a talk to the team about Roberto Clemente. He talked about Roberto Clemente hitting an inside the park grand slam in 1956. The third base coach was trying to hold him up and Roberto Clemente said, 'No way. I can ice this game. No more baseball if I score.' So (Pagano) told this story, you know, don't listen to the third base coach. I don't know, as players, we were like – what are you saying – don't listen to our coaches? I think he told Pep (Hamilton) to make sure you run the ball, run the ball. Pep called a fake run, a play action, and a pass – kind of a slant and go to T.Y. So Pep was paying attention to the Roberto Clemente speech last night.
"It was a great play by T.Y. He always, always plays well down here so we're happy to have him."
A little stutter move by Hilton allowed him to create a sliver of separation from Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson.
The man who has torched the Texans secondary every time he's played them ran underneath the 43-yard catch on a third-and-six with 90 seconds remaining on Thursday night.
Hilton's catch and subsequent wave to the crowd sent Hasselbeck and Andrew Luck jumping and Jack Doyle doing his own impression of the 'T, Y' celebration.
"We took a chance. Coach dialed up a play for me and we ran it," Hilton said of the game-clincher. "I beat my guy. (Hasselbeck) threw the ball and I caught it.
"I had to make a play to seal the deal."**
Colts/Texans Snap Counts**
- The wide receiver snaps on Thursday went as followed: T.Y. Hilton (50 of 65), Donte Moncrief (41 of 65), Andre Johnson (40 of 65) and Phillip Dorsett (6 of 65).
- The running back reps were led by Frank Gore (48 of 64). Zulron Tipton (9 snaps) and Josh Robinson (8 snaps) spelled Gore.
- With Dwayne Allen back in the lineup, he led the tight end group with 50 snaps. Both Jack Doyle and Coby Fleneer logged 33 snaps.
- Inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, safety Dwight Lowery, cornerback Vontae Davis and cornerback Greg Toler each played all 76 defensive snaps.
- Nickelback Darius Butler played 55 defensive snaps.
- Despite being questionable, rookie Henry Anderson saw 47 snaps of action (62 percent of the defensive snaps).
- Robert Mathis saw his playing time continue to grow. This week he played 32 snaps, up from 23 last week.
- Playing in his dime package role, rookie Clayton Geathers played 25 snaps.
- Sio Moore was the Colts nickel linebacker and saw 24 snaps of action on defense.