INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – What caught our eye during the Indianapolis Colts’ 26-23 loss to the Texans in overtime Sunday night in Houston’s NRG Stadium. It was their sixth straight game decided in the final 2 minutes and ended when Nick Novak converted a 33-yard field goal at the 8:10 mark of overtime.
Long road got longer: The road to relevance just got much longer for the Colts. A second straight road loss inside the AFC South dropped them to 2-4 and into last place in the NFL’s worst division. We feel compelled to remind everyone the Colts blew a 14-point lead in the final 3 minutes.
According to NBC, the Colts had won 41 straight road games when holding a fourth-quarter lead.
Houston moved to 4-2 and holds a one-game lead over the Tennessee Titans.
It’s the worst start in the Ryan Grigson-Chuck Pagano era and the worst since the team opened 0-13 in 2011.
Next up is Sunday’s trip to Nashville for a clash with the Titans.
It will be interesting to see how the Colts recover from this crushing loss.
Frantic finish: After holding up for much of the game, the defense failed to finish. Again. The Colts saw a 23-9 lead with 7:04 remaining evaporate. Brock Osweiler, so bad for so long, finally got his act together. He pushed Houston into overtime with a pair of late touchdown passes: 10 yards to running back Lamar Miller and a 26-yarder to tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz with 49 seconds remaining.
Houston started its game-tying drive at its own 47-yard line with 1:50 to play and didn’t need that much time. Osweiler completed a 16-yarder to Miller, an 11-yarder to Fiedorowicz and the 26-yard TD to Fiedorowicz.
The Texans completed their unlikely comeback at the 8:10 mark of overtime. Nick Novak delivered the dagger, a 33-yard field goal.
Houston’s final three possessions: two Osweiler TD passes and Novak’s game-winning field goal.
The Texans were clueless in the first half: 30 plays for 117 yards. After that, they had their way with the Colts’ defense. The piled up 297 yards after halftime.
Miller was a game-long thorn, rushing 24 times for 149 yards and one touchdown and catching three passes for 29 yards and one TD.
Can’t finish: While the Osweiler-led Texans found their stride, the Andrew Luck-led Colts offense wilted down the stretch. Their final three possessions, one in overtime, resulted in 26 yards and three punts.
Luck’s pass protection was solid for much of the game, but failed him when it counted most. Safety Andre Hal snuffed out a late fourth-quarter drive with a blitz/sack and linebacker Benardrick McKinney halted the Colts’ opening drive in overtime with a 9-yard sack of Luck when he eluded tight end Jack Doyle’s block attempt.
Such a bad finish after a good start.
No one’s going to care that Frank Gore (22 carries, 106 yards) became the first Colts running back to rush for at least 100 yards since Vick Ballard at Houston in game 14 of the 2012 season. It snapped a 61-game dry spell, including the playoffs, the NFL’s longest active streak.
And no one’s going to care that Luck passed for 252 yards and one touchdown.
Stats are for losers.
Man-to-man: Vontae Davis didn’t spend his entire night shadowing Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins, but was on him a ton. The Colts’ two-time Pro Bowl cornerback asked for the one-on-one challenge, and was up for it.
That was never more evident than late in the third quarter. After the Colts failed to convert a fourth-and-1 at the Houston 9, Davis stuck to Hopkins on a quick slant and wrestled the football out of his hands for a massive interception. That gave the Colts possession at the Houston 20.
Two plays later, Andrew Luck gave the Colts a 20-9 lead by scooting around the left side for a 14-yard touchdown.
It wasn’t all positive for Davis. Earlier in the third quarter, he was called for a dicey interference call in the end zone against Hopkins. That set up Lamar Miller’s 1-yard touchdown on the ensuing play.
However, final the scorecard was decidedly in Davis’ favor. When the Colts settled into a 23-9 lead with 7 minutes to play, Hopkins had been limited to five catches and 34 yards on 11 targets. He finished with nine catches and 71 yards on 15 targets.
Old man river . . . : Adam Vinatieri remained as automatic as the sunrise. The NFL’s oldest active player at 43 knocked down 41-, 37- and 36-yard field goals to stretch his streak of successful kicks to 41. That’s the second-longest streak in NFL history. Next up: former Colt Mike Vanderjagt’s 42-kick streak.
Vinatieri hasn’t missed a field-goal attempt since pushing a 29-yarder wide right in week 2 of the 2015 season. Since the start of 2014, he’s converted 71-of-74 attempts (95.9 percent).
Medical update: Tight end Dwayne Allen was forced from the game in the first quarter with an injury to his right ankle. He did not return.
The Colts had to deal with overtime without two of their receivers: Quan Bray (ankle) and Phillip Dorsett (hamstring).
This and that: Linebacker Robert Mathis registered his first sack of the season on Houston’s first possession, snapping a six-game drought without a sack.