INDIANAPOLIS --Missed opportunities in the first half and hurtful mistakes in the second undermined the Colts' chances for victory Sunday.
Indianapolis forced turnovers on the Houston Texans' first two possessions of the game. Also, the Colts had the ball in Houston territory on their first five drives. It resulted in only a 10-point lead, and the Texans went on to score 16 unanswered points in a 16-10 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium.
It marked the Colts' third consecutive loss as they cling to diminishing postseason hopes. Five penalties for minus-54 yards in the second half sabotaged the Colts' efforts to stage a comeback against Houston.
The Colts got the ball with 1:52 remaining in the game, but Matt Hasselbeck threw an interception on first down that sealed the victory for Houston. Hasselbeck completed 17-of-30 passes for 147 yards with one touchdown.
T.J. Yates hit 6-of-10 passes for 68 yards for Houston before leaving with a knee injury. Brandon Weeden performed nicely as the backup, completing 11-of-18 for 105 yards and a score.
THE TURNING POINT – Ineffective use of early breaks signaled a difficult day for the Colts. And when Houston got its first points with a field goal on the final play of the first half, it seemed to light a fire under the visitors. By the end of the game, Houston led in virtually every important offensive category – first downs (20-14), rushing yards (155-50), net passing yards (150-140) and time of possession (33:56-26:04).
THE BIG PLAY – Colts receiver Griff Whalen made a nice catch on a Hasselbeck pass late in the game, but Houston defenders slammed into him, forcing a fumble that the Texans took for a 34-yard return. Then Nick Novak connected on a 32-yard field goal for Houston, providing a six-point lead with 1:56 left. It put the Colts in desperation mode, and Hasselbeck tossed an interception on his first pass after the field goal.
THE BRIGHT SPOT – Quan Bray showed himself to be a promising return man for the Colts. The rookie from Auburn ran back four punts for 67 yards, a 16.8 average, with a long of 33. He brought back three kickoffs for 80 yards, a 26.7 average, with a long of 30.
THE COACH'S QUOTE – "We had a great opportunity sitting in front of us and we didn't take advantage of that opportunity," said Chuck Pagano, the Colts' head coach.
THE SCORING RECAP
SECOND QUARTER (14:50 remaining)
The Colts jumped on the scoreboard first after their defense got them the ball. Safety Mike Adams forced a fumble by Houston's Alfred Blue and then recovered it, giving Indy possession at the Texans' 42-yard line. Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck hit three of his four passes for 32 yards on the ensuing march, including an 11-yard touchdown throw to Donte Moncrief. Adam Vinatieri added the extra point.** Colts 7, Texans 0.
SECOND QUARTER (6:12 remaining)
After a 19-yard punt return by Quan Bray, the Colts had the ball at Houston's 35. An 18-yard pass completion, Hasselbeck to Andre Johnson, was the big play of the drive. Vinatieri connected on a 29-yard field goal – his 21st in a row this season – to extend the Colts' lead. ** Colts 10, Texans 0.
SECOND QUARTER (00:00 remaining)
The Texans collected their first points – on a 22-yard field goal by Nick Novak – following a 10-play, 87-yard drive in the final minutes of the half. But the score came at a cost. Starting quarterback T.J. Yates suffered a knee injury on a scramble and was replaced by Brandon Weeden. The backup QB performed nicely, hitting four of his five passes for 36 yards to set up the field goal.Colts 10, Texans 3.
THIRD QUARTER (2:42 remaining)
The Texans received a short field after an Indy punt from its own end zone. Houston didn't do much with it, however, as penalties and bungled plays sabotaged them. The visitors had to settle for a 46-yard field goal by Novak. **Colts 10, Texans 6.
Photos from the week 15 game against the Houston Texans.
FOURTH QUARTER (10:36 remaining)
The Texans took the lead on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Weeden to Jaelen Strong. It came at the end of a 10-play, 90-yard drive aided by Colts mistakes. Penalties for pass interference and 12 men on the field hurt the home team. Novak added the extra point.Texans 13, Colts 10.
FOURTH QUARTER (1:56 remaining)
The Texans extended their lead with a 32-yard field goal from Novak following a huge defensive play. The score was set up by Johnathan Joseph's hit on Indy receiver Griff Whalen, whose fumble was recovered by Kareem Jackson and returned 34 yards to the Colts 21-yard line. Texans 16, Colts 10.