INDIANAPOLIS – The makings of a final-minute comeback to remember for the Colts ended on a failed 4th-and-1 Sunday.
In the 22-17 loss on Sunday, the Colts committed three costly turnovers (two leading to field goals, and one ending a red-zone drive) that gave Houston the necessary life inside of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Here's a notebook look at the Colts (6-7) losing a game that seriously hurt their chances at winning the AFC South:
**No 4th-And-1 Luck
**The first play call appeared to be a handoff, against a very favorable defensive front, to their short yardage converter in Robert Turbin.
But Bill O'Brien's timeout forced Rob Chudzinski to look again at his call sheet.
It isn't exactly known if the eventual screen that came on 4th-and-1 with less than 90 seconds remaining on Sunday was Andrew Luck's first read.
Luck said after Sunday's loss the Colts had "multiple options" on the incomplete pass to Turbin.
In taking another gander at the play, Luck initially looked left in the direction of Jack Doyle. But with Doyle covered, Luck came back to his right, with the offensive line starting to head up field to set up the screen.
Pressure from big nose tackle Vince Wilfork forced Luck to get rid of the ball and the pass to Turbin fell incomplete.
"They did a nice job," Chuck Pagano said of the Texans' final defensive stop.
"They called a timeout, got it in right at the right time. They took a picture of what we were doing, made substitutions (got Wilfork on the field). We changed our call and they executed and obviously we didn't."
The failed conversion ended a day to forget for the Colts offense.
After playing some of their best football of 2016 the past month, the Colts could not sustain any sort of consistent production against the Texans.
"Some bad plays by me," Andrew Luck said in pointing to his three turnovers, which were not completely on him.
"They're a good defense. We obviously didn't execute like we needed to execute to give ourselves a better chance to win that game. All that being said, we had a chance at the end of it and we didn't capitalize. They were the better team today."
**Lamar Miller Again Carves Up Colts
**Coming into Sunday, the Colts knew that Houston was going to bring a heavy run game emphasis.
The Colts could not do much about it though.
Lamar Miller led the way with 21 carries for 107 yards. Miller had a season-high 149 yards against the Colts back in October. Miller's two best running games this season have come versus Indianapolis.
In keeping the ball for more than 36 minutes on Sunday, the Texans piled up 185 rushing yards on 41 carries.
"We couldn't slow down the run," Pagano said afterwards.
The defense did do its part inside the 20-yard line. The five field goals forced by the defense kept the Colts in it.
But a win was what the Colts desperately needed, if they wanted to keep their playoff hopes realistic in the final three weeks of 2016.
"It sucks. We blew it," cornerback Darius Butler said after.
"At home, having the game right there, they outplayed us. When it mattered most, critical situations, we just have to be better."**
Colts Need Substantial Help In AFC South Race
**The Colts (6-7) now sit one game behind the Texans and Titans in the AFC South.
For the Colts to make the playoffs in 2016 they are going to need major help.
With three weeks remaining (@Minnesota, @Oakland and vs. Jacksonville), the Colts must make up two games on the Texans and one game on the Titans.
"It's tough. Now we have to play the wishing and hoping game," Frank Gore said of the Colts losing their playoff control on Sunday.
The Colts also have some injuries to important players to watch going into Week 15.
Starting left guard Jack Mewhort (knee) and wide receiver Donte Moncrief (hamstring) both left Sunday's loss to the Texans and did not return.**
Colts/Texans Snap Counts**
- The hamstring injury to Donte Moncrief took him off the field in the second half. Moncrief played 48-of-67 snaps, but did not have a catch in 4 targets.
- Center Ryan Kelly was in and out of the lineup and missed 11 total snaps on Sunday.
- Dwayne Allen played 38-of-67 snaps, but didn't have a reception in 2 targets.
- With injuries to Jack Mewhort and Ryan Kelly, Jon Harrison (33 snaps) and Le'Raven Clark (5 snaps) saw some playing time.
- Mike Adams, Vontae Davis and Edwin Jackson played all 73 snaps on Sunday. Jackson led the Colts with 10 tackles.
- Rookie Antonio Morrison got the start for D'Qwell Jackson on Sunday. Morrison played 49-of-73 snaps, and had the second most tackles (nine).
- Fellow rookie Hassan Ridgeway played 44 snaps and had 5 tackles. Fellow defensive lineman Arthur Jones had a very impressive eight-tackle game in 55 snaps.