Colts 21, Texans 7
Texans fall to the Colts in Wild Card playoff 21-7
The Texans playoff run came to a brutal end at home against the division rival Indianapolis Colts 21-7. This game was never really close as Indianapolis jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and the Texans played catch up the rest of the way. Not much went right but the biggest play of the first half was a tipped pass by J.J. Watt that was intercepted by Brandon Dunn. Only down 14-0, it could have shifted the momentum, but like they did four times in this game, Houston failed to gain 10 yards for a first down and gave the ball back to Indianapolis. Playing from behind, Houston was only 2 for 5 on fourth down, and they walked off the field with nothing.
After Houston gave the ball back, the Colts marched down the field again for their third touchdown and a commanding 21-0 lead. They never looked back, and Deshaun Watson and company could never find their footing. J.J. Watt would have another tipped pass, but the defense was overmatched, including Houston's dominant front seven who failed to sack Andrew Luck in this game.
With a big lead in the first half, Indianapolis could spend the rest of the game walking the line between aggressive and conservative play calling. That led to 422 yards of offense for the Colts, 200 on the ground and 222 in the air. Andrew Luck had a big day finding open receivers, especially T.Y. Hilton who caught five passes for 85 yards. Luck finished the day 19 of 32 for 222 yards, two touchdowns and the lone interception. His touchdowns were thrown to tight end Eric Ebron, who had a big year in the end zone for the Colts, and Dontrelle Inman who finished the day with four catches for 53 yards and a touchdown.
It took Houston until the fourth quarter to finally get on the board. Faced with a 21-point deficit they put together a 16 play, 89-yard drive that finished with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Keke Coutee who was playing after a long absence due to injury. The touchdown sparked the offense, and on their next possession they went 65 yards to the Colts 24-yard line. It was there that Watson fell apart. He missed on four consecutive pass attempts and Houston turned the ball over on downs with 4:09 on the clock.
The Colts, who had a huge day running the football, were able to eat up the rest of the time and walk away with a victory. Colts running back Marlon Mack became the first 100-yard runner against Houston all season as he carried the ball 24 times for 148 yards, 47 coming in the final minutes when Houston desperately needed the ball back to have any hope of a comeback. At the end of the day, Watson was 29 of 49 for 235 yards and one touchdown. Coutee was the leading receiver with 11 catches, 110 yards and a touchdown. The All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins was shut down all day and managed only 5 receptions for 37 yards. Houston's running game was led once again by Watson, who took it eight times for 76 yards.
This was largely a demoralizing game for the Texans, who rode a nine-game winning streak to an AFC South Championship. They didn't look the same at the end of the season as teams were making a playoff push, and their shortcomings were exposed in a big way early against the Colts. Now their season is over and changes will come as they prepare for 2019.