Houston 26, Indianapolis 23
When: 8:30 PM ET, Sunday, October 16, 2016
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
HOUSTON -- Through another extended offensive slog and the chorus of boos that accompanied every failure, the Houston Texans endured, to a man and as a unified collective.
Texans kicker Nick Novak, who earlier missed an extra point, nailed a 33-yard field goal with 8:10 remaining in overtime to cap Houston's 26-23 comeback victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night at NRG Stadium.
Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler completed a 36-yard pass down the far sideline to receiver Jaelen Strong to the Colts 12-yard line to set the table for Novak. Osweiler struggled for long stretches but finished with 269 passing yards and two touchdowns, rebounding in time to help the Texans post the final 17 points.
"I'm just so proud of that group, every single guy on the offensive side of the ball," Osweiler said. "Nothing was pretty about tonight. We couldn't get anything going in the first quarter, we got a little bit going in the second quarter, we struggled a little bit in the third, we had a turnover backed up, and none of those guys quit fighting."
The Texans (4-2) improved to 4-0 at home by rallying from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
For most of the game, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who passed for 252 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score, outplayed his counterpart. His 14-yard touchdown dash on the first play of the fourth quarter gave the Colts (2-4) what looked to be an insurmountable 11-point lead given the performance of Osweiler.
However, after Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri drilled a 36-yard field goal with 7:04 remaining, his third of the night, Osweiler rallied Houston in improbable fashion. Osweiler paced a 12-play, 75-yard drive capped by his 10-yard scoring pass to running back Lamar Miller, whose dazzling second effort cut the deficit to 23-16 with 2:37 left.
After the Texans forced a Colts punt and regained possession with 1:50 to play, Osweiler needed just three plays to cover 53 yards, throwing a dart to tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz that yielded a 26-yard touchdown and a tie game with 49 seconds left.
Miller finished with 149 yards rushing and a touchdown on 24 attempts. He was the focal point for the Texans offensively, carrying the load as they stumbled early.
"I thought Lamar was offensively one of the big differences in the game," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "We felt like he was the guy throughout the game that was probably playing the best on offense, so at halftime, we said, 'Look, we've got to keep finding ways to get this guy the ball.'"
Late in the third, Osweiler threw behind receiver DeAndre Hopkins deep in Houston territory, a pass that was picked off by Colts cornerback Vontae Davis at the Texans 21. Two plays later, Luck dashed through a gaping hole on the left side for a score that extended the Colts' lead to 20-9 with 14:53 remaining in the contest.
"It's a game of momentum, and they caught fire right at the end," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "We ran out of gas, and we couldn't get them slowed down and keep them out of the end zone."
Houston mustered just 5 total yards on 10 plays in an unsightly first quarter. By the time the Texans mounted a sustained drive late in the first half, one that concluded with a 27-yard Novak field goal with 1:57 left, the Colts led 13-0.
Despite their issues protecting Luck, the Colts managed to reach the intermission without surrendering a sack. Luck, in turn, engineered three methodical scoring drives, sandwiching Vinatieri field goals around a 22-yard scoring pass to tight end Jack Doyle that gave Indianapolis a 10-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter.
But the Texans sacked Luck three times after the break and limited the Colts to 26 yards after falling behind 23-9. That was enough to help get their offense untracked.
"If you have the opportunity in this league, you have to put people away," Luck said. "It's too hard to win games when you're surviving your mistakes. We had our opportunities. I don't want to take any credit away from Houston because they did what they needed to do to win a game. We didn't."
NOTES: Texans CB Robert Nelson, active for the first time after being signed off the practice squad last week, recorded an interception of Colts QB Andrew Luck late in the first half. The Texans were missing two starters in their secondary: SS Quintin Demps (calf) and CB Kareem Jackson (hamstring). ... With Colts DT Zach Kerr (ankle) sidelined, Arthur Jones earned the start and made his first appearance since the 2014-15 AFC Championship Game against the Patriots. ... Texans rookie WR Will Fuller (hamstring) was active but did not play. Fuller did not practice on Saturday, fueling speculation that he would be inactive for the first time.
Top Game Performances
Team Stats Summary
Houston will play their next game on the road against Denver. The Texans have a W/L % of .500 after a win and 1.000 after a loss.
Indianapolis will play their next game on the road against Tennessee. The Colts have a W/L % of .000 after a win and .667 after a loss.