Colts hang on for a 33-28 win over the Texans

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Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton makes a touchdown catch at NRG Stadium in Houston against the Texans.

HOUSTON, Texas (Oct. 9, 2014) – Somehow things seemed right with the world when just a month ago all seemed wrong.

Optimistic Colts fans may have though their Week 5 game with the Texans would be either for first place in the AFC South or a chance to widen their lead in the division before the season began. After Week 2, many might have ditched that optimism.

But on this Thursday night–despite an 0-2 start–the Colts indeed have all they could want on the table. With a victory over Houston, the top of the AFC South would be theirs alone, order restored to the 2014 season after a bit of chaotic beginning.

The Colts raced out to an early lead to make sure that would happen, but the Texans rallied to make it a game. In the end the big lead held up for a 33-28 win for Indianapolis to improve them to 4-2 on the season and take first place alone in the AFC South.

Andrew Luck finished 25-of-44 for 370 yards and three touchdowns–two of those coming in an incredible first quarter in which the Colts led 24-0. Luck also threw an interception. T.Y. Hilton enjoyed one of his best games as a member of the Colts, catching a team-high nine passes for 223 yards and his first touchdown of the season.

Still, the Colts would have to hold off a late Houston rally, forcing a pair of fourth quarter turnovers to preserve their tenth consecutive win over AFC South opponents.

For the fourth straight week the offense gave the Colts the opening lead as Adam Vinatieri hit a 27-yard field goal on the opening drive put the Colts up 3-0. Like the Titans game, Chuck Pagano elected to go for an onside kick right after the score and Pat McAfee recovered his own kick.

The Colts cashed in quickly.

Luck immediately completed a 49-yard pass to T.Y. Hilton that got down to the Texans’ 5-yard line and Trent Richardson took it in on the next play to make it 10-0. Later in the quarter Luck led the Colts quickly downfield and completed another touchdown drive with a 5-yard pass to Ahmad Bradshaw to make it 17-0.

The Colts finished off the quarter in style, going 68 yards in 11 plays and scoring on a Luck-to-Coby Fleener touchdown pass to make it 24-0.

After gaining just two yards in the first quarter the Texans showed signs of life in the second. Ryan Fitzpatrick led an 80-yard drive which he completed to a leaping Andre Johnson to put Houston on the board at 24-7. On the ensuing series, Luck had a pass batted in the air at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Justin Tuggle.

Arian Foster scored from 12-yards out three plays later to cut the Indianapolis lead to ten.

Thanks to a big third down conversion by Bradshaw, the Colts offense was able to slow the Texans’ momentum late in the first half as moved their way deep into Houston territory. Vinatieri knocked down his second field goal of the day to make it 27-14.

Houston kept coming back, creeping closer in the third quarter when Foster scored a two-yard touchdown to make it 27-21.

After a number of big gains in the first half, Hilton finally got his first touchdown catch of the season on a 33-yard pass from Luck. Hilton wasn’t so lucky on the Colts’ two-point conversion try as the receiver was tackled well short of the goal line after taking a handoff from Luck.

Once again the Texans responded. This time, it was from the defense and one of the most dynamic players on that side of the ball in the league. J.J. Watt recovered a Colts fumble and took it back 45 yards for the touchdown to cut the lead to 33-28.

After that, it was up to the Colts defense to hold the line. With just under five minutes left, Vontae Davis knocked the ball out of Johnson’s hands after a reception and the ball was recovered by Mike Adams to stall a drive headed into Colts’ territory.

Fitzpatrick got the ball back with under two minutes left inside his own ten-yard line to try to start a game-winning drive. Bjoern Werner made the biggest play of his young career, hitting Fitzpatrick and causing a fumble that was recovered by D’Qwell Jackson. The play sealed the win–and first place in the AFC South–for the Colts.