Texans punch ticket to playoffs with 23-19 victory over Colts

After the break, Stroud found fullback Andrew Beck all by himself in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. Fairbairn’s extra point gave Houston a 14-3 lead with 1:57 left in the half.

The Colts quickly moved down the field, as Taylor gained 11 on 1st-and-10 from the 25-yard line. Then Minshew connected with Downs for a 16-yard completion. Penalties on the next two plays pushed Indianapolis to the Texans’ 39-yard line, but the Colts gave 5 yards back on a false start.

Minshew threw incomplete deep up the right side on first down, and followed that up with a throw that was a bit too long up the right side. With 0:48 remaining in the second quarter, the Colts faced a 3rd-and-15, and handed to Taylor up the middle for a gain of 10. Gay’s 52-yard field goal attempt snuck inside the right upright, and the Colts cut the Texans lead to 14-6 with 0:35 left in the half. The field goal was the sixth play of a 41-yard drive that lasted 1:22.

The ensuing kickoff resulted in a touchback, and the Texans offense came on the field and was penalized for a false start. With a 1st-and-15 at their own 20-yard line, Singletary’s carry was stuffed at the line of scrimmage for no gain.

Singletary gained three yards on a run to the left side, and the Colts called timeout with 0:23 left in the half. A 3rd-and-12 awaited the Texans after the short break, and Stroud’s pass to Hutchinson fell incomplete. With 0:18 left, Johnston was on to punt again. He sent it 53 yards down the field, Downs brought it back 10 yards, and the Colts came on the field with 0:07 left at their own 34-yard line. Minshew fired incomplete, and the Texans headed to the locker room up by eight points.

Stroud and the Texans offense opened the second half from their own 25 after the touchback, and he immediately hit Collins for a 23-yard completion on the left side.

On 1st-and-10 at the their own 48, a screen pass to Singletary picked up two yards and moved the ball to midfield. A false start pushed the Texans back to their own 45 to make it 2nd-and-13. Stroud was then sacked by DeForest Buckner for a loss of eight yards. On 3rd-and-21, a quick pass to Collins picked up six yards and brought Johnston back on the field for his fifth punt of the day. It went 50 yards and Downs returned it six yards to the Indianapolis 13-yard line with 11:46 left in the third quarter.

Taylor sprinted up the middle for a run of 11 yards on first down, and then carried again for a gain of four on the next play. The 2nd-and-6 saw Minshew hit Kylen Granson for 23 yards, and then Taylor got loose. He became the first back of the season to gain 100 yards or more in a game against the Texans on his 49-yard touchdown run. The Colts went for two to tie it at 14, and got it when Minshew’s jump pass was complete to Alie-Cox.

The possession went 87 yards on just four plays, and took 1:50 off the clock.

After another touchback, the Texans began their drive at the 25-yard line. A Singletary carry picked up two, and Stroud threw incomplete the way of Metchie on the left sideline on second down. The 3rd-and-8 pass sailed long on the right side the way of Hutchinson, and Johnston was back on to punt. He bombed it 62 yards, and Downs was blasted by Neville Hewitt at the 20-yard line.

Moss went to work, going to the right side for a 7-yard gain. On the next play, he added another 11 yards. Taylor then scampered up the left side for a 22-yard pickup. Taylor was slowed down for a gain of just a yard on first down, and Indianapolis was in a 2nd-and-9 situation at the Texans’ 39. The defense stiffened and linebacker Denzel Perryman stopped Taylor for no gain. The 3rd-and-9 pass was swatted to the turf by defensive tackle Maliek Collins, and Gay was on for a 57-yard field goal try. It clanged off the right upright, and the Texans took over on their own 47-yard line.

A flea-flicker on the Texans’ first play after the field goal miss saw Stroud scrap any plans of throwing, and instead run for a 12-yard gain. Then Singletary picked up four yards on first down and pushed the ball to the Colts’ 37-yard line. Stroud rolled to his left on second down and gained four more to set up a 3rd-and-2. Stroud threw over the middle down to the 15-yard line, but the Colts broke up the pass intended for Hutchinson. Fairbairn’s 51-yard field goal attempt from the left hash was straight and true, and the Texans were back on top, 17-14. The scoring drive went 20 yards on five plays and lasted 1:58.

The kickoff resulted in a touchback, and Taylor was met by linebacker Blake Cashman after gaining just a yard. The next play saw Minshew throw over the middle to Alie-Cox for 12 yards and another first down. Khalil Davis dropped Taylor for a 4-yard loss on first down.

Minshew then found Pittman for an 18-yard completion, but a 15-yard personal foul on King tacked on 15 more yards. Minshew went back to Pittman again, and the duo advanced the ball another five yards. Moss plunged ahead for four more yards, and the quarter expired.

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