INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts snapped the Houston Texans' nine-game win streak on Sunday when they defeated the home team, 24-21, in front of the NRG Stadium crowd.
The two teams squared off earlier in the season in Week 4. Houston was winless at the time, but its victory over the Colts sparked a win streak that shot it into first place in the AFC South.
It took some familiar fireworks between quarterback Andrew Luck and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, but the Colts were able to stop a streak they felt poorly about allowing to start in the first place.
Luck and Hilton lead a group of Colts who graded near the top of their positions across the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.
Quarterback No. 2 (90.4), 67 snaps (100 percent)
Two of Luck's three highest-graded games this year have been against Houston — Sunday being No. 2. On the day, Luck went 27-of-41 passing (65.9 percent) for 399 yards (9.7 YPA), two touchdowns and one interception, which was the result of a tipped/dropped pass.
Luck's 399 yards was his second-highest total of the year (and the fourth-highest of his career), and his 9.7 YPA was his third-highest. Sunday was also the sixth time in the last seven games that Luck has had a passer rating better than 100. The leader of the Colts' offense was surgical on Sunday, especially in the second half when he went 10-of-13 (76.9 percent) for 162 yards and a touchdown (143.8 rating).
One of Luck's biggest plays came with just two minutes remaining in the game and the Colts up, 24-21. Needing a first down to run out the clock, Luck drew Texans edge defender Jadeveon Clowney offsides, resulting in the new set of downs that the Colts needed.
"Yeah, we were getting ready to call a timeout. In fact, we were real close to calling a timeout, because it didn't look like they were going to jump," Colts head coach Frank Reich said to reporters after the game.
"It didn't look like they were going to jump. But I just got to credit Andrew and the way he handled it. First, he came out, broke the huddle like we were going to speed snap it, we didn't, they held on, and then, sometimes what you do, is you do that and you hold, and you try to get them to soften in and you snap it at the last second thinking. So, he hung with it, and hung with it and it eventually got him."
Wide Receiver No. 4 (86.6), 54 snaps (81 percent)
The prime beneficiary from Luck's hot outing was Hilton, who seems to blow up anytime he plays in Houston. Perhaps he should invest in real estate there?
Hilton caught 9-of-12 balls thrown his way for a season-high 199 yards (22.1 avg), resulting in five first downs and a 116.7 passer rating when Luck targeted Hilton. The Ghost also accumulated 58 yards after the catch.
Hilton's performance moved him past Hall-of-Fame receiver Marvin Harrison for the most 150-yard receiving games (11) in franchise history.
"Yeah, I think throughout the week we noticed some things where we thought we could take advantage of T.Y.'s speed and his maneuverability. T.Y. does some things very special. He does somethings that not many other people can do," Luck said after the game. "So we saw I think some opportunities through film that we thought we could take advantage of. Once we got that first one, it was like ok, yeah here we go, let's get it. When T.Y.'s in the zone, he's in the zone, man. It's fun to play with him. It's an honor to play with him, and I sincerely mean that."
Safety No. 10 (75.4), 68 snaps (94 percent)
PFF considered this Geathers' second-best performance of the season, as he totaled nine tackles and a pass breakup. He also had an interception overturned on a questionable penalty down on the Colts' goal line in the first half.
Geathers was credited with three "stops," which constitutes a "loss" for the opposing offense. He was targeted five times, allowing three catches for just seven yards (2.3 avg).
"He played his butt off. That's somebody we depend on. That's one of our captains, and he definitely delivered for us," tight end Eric Ebron said after the game when singling Geathers out for his performance.
Kicker No. 4 (69.2), 4 snaps (14 percent)
No surprise here. The Ageless Wonder converted all three extra-point attempts as well as his lone field goal attempt — a 54-yarder — in a building in which he has grown quite comfortable.
Vinatieri's 54-yard field goal ties him with Phil Dawson and John Kasay (42) for the fourth-most field goals made from 50-plus yards in NFL history. Vinatieri also became just the third person in NFL history to play 350 games, and tied Harrison (190) for the ninth-most games played in franchise history.
Punter No. 2 (66.3), 14 snaps (48 percent)
Sanchez finished as one of the NFL's top punters this week, punting six times for a 46.3-yard average. Four of the six finished inside the opponent's 20-yard line, and only two punts were returned for a grand total of 18 yards. Sanchez also had four kickoffs, all four resulting in touchbacks.