COLTS 24, TEXANS 21

The streak ends as the Texans fall  24-21 to the Colts

Andrew Luck led the Colts to a win. Tim Warner/Getty Images

Houston's winning streak ended at home against the Indianapolis Colts as they fell 24-21. It was an up and down game where Deshaun Watson struggled against the blitz and the running game couldn't find its footing. Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton did what they always seem to do against Houston and the defense was not able to get key plays that had seen them win the last nine.

The Texans offense seemed lost in the first half, amassing only 114 total yards. Meanwhile the Colts got hot in their last three drives of the half to take a 17-7 lead at the break. Houston's lone score of the half came in the first quarter when they put together a 10-play, 82-yard drive that ended with Alfred Blue's second rushing touchdown of the season.

The Texans defense looked strong early in the game, holding the Colts to four consecutive three-and-out drives followed by an interception on the fourth possession. They couldn't hold it together as Andrew Luck and the Colt's offense found a weakness in the middle of the field and exploited it for three touchdowns and a field goal on their next four possessions. Luck finished the day 27 of 41 for 399 yards with two touchdowns and the one interception.

Both defenses bottled up the running game. At one point in the third quarter, each team's quarterback was its leading rusher. The Texans defense held the Colts to just 50 yards on the ground and gave up just one 4-yard touchdown run. Houston didn't fare much better, although there were times Lamar Miller looked like he was going to break out. His numbers for the day look awful though. He had so many negative rushes early on that he finished with only 33 yards on 14 carries for a 2.4-yard average.

Down 17-7 at half time, it was all about a strong start in the third quarter for Houston. They got the ball to start and marched down the field methodically for a 16-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to get back within 3, 17-14. It took a gutsy call on fourth down from the six-inch line that punched the ball in. Bill O'Brien dialed up a direct snap to Lamar Miller who dove under the offensive line for the score. It was short lived as the Colts went down the field in eight plays the very next drive to go back up by 10.

Houston's defense tightened up and kept the Colts from adding any more while the Texans offense was stifled. Deshaun Watson struggled to get rid of the ball, especially in the face of the blitz. Indianapolis got to him five times for minus 41 yards and forced him to average only seven yards per pass. He ended the game 27 of 38 for 267 yards and a touchdown. He was the team's leading rusher with five carries for 35 yards.

The defensive front is still impressive. J.J. Watt notched his 12th sack of the season and Christian Covington increased his total to 3.5. They stopped a lot of short plays and were able to disrupt Andrew Luck's throws multiple times. The secondary was able to get some solid pass break-ups but struggled to cover the middle of the field and the tight end. T.Y. Hilton torched them for nine catches and 199 yards. Tight end Eric Ebron had another big day for Indianapolis hauling in four passes for 65-yards and his 12th touchdown of the season.

The day wasn't without drama. With 4:30 left in the game, Houston got the ball down 24-14 and put together a 70-yard drive capped off by a seven-yard touchdown catch by DeAndre Hopkins who had been held in check for most of the game. He caught only four passes for 36-yards and the touchdown. They were now back within three points and just over two minutes left to play. Needing a stop, Andrew Luck would draw Jadeveon Clowney offsides on the other side of the two-minute warning to run out the clock and end any hope of a Houston comeback.

This was a win Houston desperately needed, as Miami was able to knock of New England. A win would have given them a chance to finish the season ahead of the Patriots in line for a playoff bye. They will have to try again next Saturday against the New York Jets.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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