INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Houston finally ended The Streak in Indianapolis and now can focus on more important things like getting healthy — and winning the AFC South.
The Texans figure it’s about time.
Third-string quarterback Brandon Weeden led the Texans to two field goals before throwing the go-ahead 8-yard touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong with 10:36 left Sunday, helping Houston snap a two-game losing streak and earn its first win ever in Indianapolis, 16-10, on Sunday. The win gives the Texans (7-7) sole possession of the division lead in a stunning turnabout.
“We can’t let up on these two games we have left,” receiver DeAndre Hopkins said after catching eight passes for 94 yards. “The Titans and Jaguars are good teams that are capable of beating us, so we don’t want to get too happy over this win.”
Until this weekend, Houston had nothing but problems on Indy’s home turf.
The Texans were 0-13 all-time in the Circle City and had lost six straight in a decidedly lopsided series.
This time, with a backup plan, Houston got the upper hand.
A stingy defense allowed just 190 total yards and Weeden played effectively in an ugly game. He was 11 of 18 with 105 yards and the one TD pass after replacing the injured T.J. Yates late in the first half.
“We knew when we were 2-5 that we had a good team and we could turn this around,” Hopkins said. “The Colts kept us in this division by losing a couple of games and we knew that we had to take advantage of it. That’s what we did.”
The Colts also kept them in the game by failing to take advantage of turnovers and good field position in the first half.
But Houston didn’t let the Colts’ offense get started in the second half.
Matt Hasselbeck, who again replaced the injured Andrew Luck, was 17 of 30 for 147 yards with one touchdown and one interception — not quite enough on an underwhelming day for the Colts (6-8).
“To win the game, no one had to do anything super heroic,” Hasselbeck said. “Just play the game. No capes or anything. Just don’t shoot yourself in the foot, but we did.”
Weeden made them pay. After getting Nick Novak in position for a 22-yard field goal at the end of the half, he set up Novak for 46-yard field goal late in the third quarter to cut the Colts’ lead to 10-6.
Then he found Strong on a screen play on the right side. Strong raced up the field and dived into the end zone for a 13-10 lead. That was all Houston needed.
Here are some other things we learned from Sunday’s game:
STILL HURTING: Despite Weeden’s solid game, Houston’s quarterback situation might have gotten worse. Coach Bill O’Brien said he didn’t expect Yates to play next week after hurting his left knee. O’Brien also said he’s uncertain whether Brian Hoyer, the regular starter, will return from a concussion. Indy has similar struggles. There’s no indication Luck will play next week and Hasselbeck left briefly during the fourth quarter with an injured jaw.
O-FFENSIVE: After starting its first possession of the game at its own 15-yard line, Indy started the next four drives at the Houston 42, the Houston 47, the Houston 35 and their own 47. All they managed was an 11-yard TD pass from Hasselbeck to Donte Moncrief and a 29-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri. If that continues, the playoffs probably will be out of reach.
ON THE RUN: Despite losing a fumble in the first half, Alfred Blue gave the Texans balance. He ran 20 times for 107 yards, a key ingredient to helping Weeden play steady. The Colts, in contrast, ran 19 times for 50 yards.
EMPTY MILESTONES: Vinatieri passed Jerry Rice for No. 6 in games played (304), Hasselbeck tied Terry Bradshaw and Y.A. Tittle for No. 30 in league history in TD passes (212), Andre Johnson (14,015) passed James Lofton for No. 9 on the career list for receiving yards, receiver T.Y. Hilton topped the 1,000-yard mark for the third straight season and running back Frank Gore reached the 15,000-yard mark from scrimmage. They’d have traded all of it for a win.