HOUSTON – The old adage of "age is nothing but a number" certainly applied to the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night.
A handful of players, well north of 30 years old, led an adversity-stricken team to their third-straight victory, this one coming on the road, in a short week, against a desperate football team.
The leader of the bunch was a 40-year old man, who had no business even being on the field Thursday night.
But the play and professionalism of Matt Hasselbeck said otherwise.
Dealing with a bacterial infection that first started at halftime of the win over the Jaguars on Sunday and lingered until kickoff, Hasselbeck showed the Texans to be weary of the sick.
"I remember watching (Michael) Jordan in the playoffs doing that stuff, same kind of stuff right there," fellow "old guy" Adam Vinatieri said of Hasselebeck after the 27-20 win on Thursday night.
"That was pretty special stuff."
Hasselbeck, who had to have Andrew Luck speak in team meetings on Wednesday night, delivered an emotional performance that resonated throughout the Colts-veteran core.
Joining Hasselbeck (18-of-29 for 213 yards and two touchdowns) in the best offensive performance of the season was 32-year old Frank Gore.
The 11-year vet churned his way for 98 rushing yards, the top output a Colts running back has had in 44 games.
After the Colts (3-2) third straight victory, Gore wanted to talk about another vet on the offense.
Andre Johnson wasn't shown a tribute video in his return to NRG Stadium, but his play on the field was a reminder to Houston of why he's the most decorated player in franchise history.
Johnson's six catches (in seven targets) for 77 yards and two touchdowns quieted the growing questions about what he has left in Year 13.
"It was never personal," Johnson repeated after the game of his "homecoming" to the team that drafted him No. 3 overall in 2003.
"I just wanted to come in here and get the win. That's all that mattered and we got the job done."
Not to be outdone on the other side of the ball, 34-year old safety Mike Adams once again was in the right spot at the right times.
A pair of Adams interceptions thwarted Texans drives in Colts territory, ultimately preserving the Colts NFL-record 16th straight divisional win.
For good measure, the 42-year old, future Hall of Fame, kicker drilled two field goals from longer than 40 yards.
On a night where the Colts were running on fumes, the "old guys" played like fine wine.
"That's what they are here for," Erik Walden said looking around the locker room.
"And we are happy to have them."
Photos from the week 5 Thursday night game against the Houston Texans.