In a must win game, the Houston Texans beat the Indianapolis Colts 20-17 on Thursday night at NRG Stadium.
The Texans (7-4) are now one game ahead of the Colts (6-5) in the AFC South division.
Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien is known for saying, “Winning an NFL game is really hard,” and this game was no exception. The Colts shut down the Texans’ running game, holding them to minus 2 yards in the third quarter and just 33 yards for three quarters. But on the first play of the fourth quarter, Carlos Hyde broke loose for a 33-yard run, doubling the team’s rushing yards, and several plays later, Deshaun Watson found DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown, Hopkins’ second of the game, giving the Texans a 20-17 lead with 12:34 to go in the game.
The Colts refused to go away, and with 3:00 to go in the game, the Colts faced a fourth down and seven at the Texans 47-yard line. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett scrambled up the middle but Brennan Scarlett tackled him one yard short of a first down. The Texans then needed one first down to run out the clock, and on third down and four with 2:00 to go in the game, Watson passed to Will Fuller V for 11 yards and a first down. The Texans then ran out the clock and claimed sole possession of first place.
“It was a good team win. It was a tough game, a really difficult game to win. I thought the guys were really focused this week, and it showed up on the field. The game was just a dog fight, and in the end, we were able to come out on top,” O’Brien said.
Deshaun Watson completed 19 of 30 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns. Watson’s quarterback rating was 104.6.
“It was a great divisional win and we took the lead in the division tonight. We came in and took care of business. It was a great win,” Watson said.
DeAndre Hopkins caught 6 passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns, and Fuller had seven receptions for 140 yards.
“It was good to have Will Fuller back (from injuries). He made some plays for us. He is a big part of our offense. He is really fast and a very good route runner. He opens up a lot of things for us,” O’Brien said.
Hyde rushed 16 times for 67 yards.
“We ran the ball when we had to. It wasn’t great but we stuck with it, and when we had to run it, we were able to,” O’Brien said.
For the Colts, Brissett completed 16 of 25 passes for 129 yards and had a quarterback rating of 76.9. Jonathan Williams rushed 26 times for 104 yards and one touchdown.
The Texans remaining schedule has home games with the New England Patriots (9-1), and Denver Broncos (3-7), trips to Tennessee (5-5) and Tampa Bay (3-7), and the season finale at home against Tennessee.
The Texans will play the New England Patriots (9-1) on Sunday night Dec. 1 at NRG Stadium.
13:42 Texans: Ka’imi Fairbairn 35-yard field goal.
Drive: 10 plays, 37 yards, 4:30.
Texans 3, Colts 0
4:28 Colts: Jacoby Brissett 5-yard touchdown run. Adam Vinatieri kick.
Drive: 7 plays, 42 yards, 3:27.
Colts 7, Texans 3
1:53 Texans: DeAndre Hopkins 35-yard touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson. Fairbairn kick.
Drive: 7 plays, 75 yards, 2:35.
Texans 10, Colts 7
0:02 Colts: Vinatieri 36-yard field goal.
Drive: 10 plays, 58 yards, 1:53.
Texans 10, Colts 10
5:36 Colts: Jonathan Williams 13-yard touchdown run. Vinatieri kick.
Drive: 11 plays, 66 yards, 6:09.
Colts 17, Texans 10
2:43 Texans: Fairbairn 36-yard field goal.
Drive: 5 plays, 57 yards, 2:49.
Colts 17, Texans 13
12:34 Texans: Hopkins 30-yard touchdown pass from Watson. Fairbairn kick.
Drive: 8 plays, 86 yards, 3:37.
Texans 20, Colts 17