EditorsNote: Fix time of touchdown and field goal in 3rd graf
Deshaun Watson threw two scoring passes to DeAndre Hopkins, and the Houston Texans reclaimed sole possession of first place in the AFC South with a 20-17 victory over the visiting Indianapolis Colts on Thursday.
Watson passed for 298 yards with touchdowns of 35 and 30 yards to Hopkins, who finished with six catches for 94 yards for the Texans (7-4). Indianapolis (6-5) had won three consecutive games in Houston including in the wild-card round to eliminate the Texans last postseason.
The second Watson-to-Hopkins connection erased a 17-13 deficit with 12:34 left in the fourth quarter. Houston trailed 17-10 early in the third before Watson completed a 51-yard pass to Will Fuller that set up a 36-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal with 2:43 left in the quarter. Fuller had seven catches for 140 yards.
The Colts appeared primed for a season sweep of their division rivals after mounting two touchdown drives that featured a combined 17 rushing plays over 18 total snaps. Indianapolis’ dominance on the ground was exemplified by Jonathan Williams’ 13-yard scoring run with 5:36 left in the third quarter, a play in which Williams bulldozed Texans linebacker Benardrick McKinney before sidestepping cornerback Johnathan Joseph and dashing into the end zone.
Williams rushed for 104 yards on 26 carries while the Colts totaled 175 rushing yards. But the Texans held Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett to 129 passing yards and saddled him with his first loss against Houston in five career starts with the Colts and New England Patriots.
Having mustered only 29 yards in the first quarter, the Colts capitalized on a break early in the second when Jabaal Sheard tipped a Watson pass intended for Fuller that Kenny Moore picked off at the Houston 42-yard line. Seven plays, all on the ground, later, Brissett scampered in for a 5-yard touchdown that provided Indianapolis a 7-3 lead with 4:28 remaining in the first half.
The interception was the first for Watson at NRG Stadium in 10 games.
The Texans responded quickly in reclaiming the lead, with Watson and Hopkins connecting on their first scoring strike to cap a seven-play, 75-yard drive.
Houston’s 10-7 lead didn’t last long, though, as the Colts skillfully used their three timeouts while covering 58 yards over 10 plays. Adam Vinatieri hit a 36-yard field goal as the half expired as the teams entered the break deadlocked.
—Field Level Media