Found December 12, 2012 on
A win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday would clinch a second straight AFC South title for the playoff-bound Houston Texans. A loss makes the division race much more interesting.
The Texans look to bounce back from a blowout loss and prevent the surging Colts from securing a playoff berth as these teams meet in Houston for the first of two meetings over the final three weeks.
Despite a 42-14 loss at New England on Monday, Houston (11-2) still has the AFC's best record and needs only a third straight home victory over Indianapolis to win the division.
"We still control our destiny," defensive end J.J. Watt said. "We control everything. We are going to go back and focus on winning the division and locking that up. Everything is still in front of us."
However, if Indianapolis (9-4) wins Sunday, it would wrap up a playoff spot and put a division crown very much within its grasp. If the Colts win their final three games, including at Kansas City next week and at home against the Texans in the regular-season finale, they would claim the South title.
"There is no doubt that (the Texans are) the top horse right now," interim coach Bruce Arians told the Colts' official website. "We've got to go in there and knock them off."
Indianapolis has won three straight and seven of eight, moving in position to join the 2008 Miami Dolphins as the only teams to lose at least 14 games one season and make the playoffs the next.
Much of the turnaround has been attributed to Andrew Luck, whose six fourth-quarter comebacks are the highest single-season total by a rookie since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. A week after Luck's two TD passes in the final 2:39 - including one as time expired - resulted in a 35-33 win at Detroit, he helped rally the Colts from a 13-point halftime deficit in last Sunday's 27-23 victory over Tennessee.
All but one of their victories has come by seven or fewer points.
"Everybody on the team - offensively, defensively, special teams - just plays football," Luck said. "They're not worried about the scoreboard too much, not worried about what's going on. They're aware of the situations, and we just go out there and play football to the best of our abilities. It's just not overthinking all the situations."
Though he's managed to come through when needed, Luck has been far from consistent of late. He's completed less than 50 percent of his passes in back-to-back games and has 10 interceptions over the past five, including two last week while throwing for 196 yards - his second-lowest total of the season.
Luck has been sacked 10 times in the last three games, raising his total to 32 - tied for third-most in the league entering Week 15. Add in the possibility of being without injured offensive linemen Winston Justice (biceps), Samson Satele (ankle) and Joe Reitz (head), and the Colts could face an even tougher time trying to protect Luck from a player like Watt, who leads the AFC with 16 1/2 sacks.
That uncertainty on the offensive line also could prevent rookie Vick Ballard from building on the career-high 94 rushing yards he recorded against Tennessee. The Colts, who placed second-leading rusher Donald Brown (ankle) on injured reserve this week, are averaging 105.8 yards on the ground to rank 22nd in the NFL.
Houston ranks third against the run, giving up 90.8 yards per game despite yielding 130 to the Patriots. Over the last four games, the Texans' strongest defensive performance came when they allowed 354 total yards in a 24-10 win at Tennessee on Dec. 2. In the other three, including overtime wins over Jacksonville and Detroit, they have yielded averages of 467.3 yards and 36.7 points.
Coach Gary Kubiak also is concerned with an offense which has stumbled in the last two games, getting held under 340 total yards in both while going 8 of 31 on third downs.
"We've got issues," Kubiak said. "We've got to stop people better, we've got to move the ball better, and we've got to get rid of penalties on special teams. ... We've got to play better than we've played."
Arian Foster has been limited to 84 yards on 29 carries in the last two games, but he had rushing TDs in both and four in the last three contests. He hasn't gone three straight games without rushing for 100 yards since his 2009 rookie season.
Foster has had 100-yard games in all three of his matchups with the Colts, rushing for 491 yards and 6.9 per carry with five touchdowns. He ran for a career-high 231 yards and three TDs in a 34-24 home win over Indianapolis on Sept. 12, 2010.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Stanford QB Andrew Luck is etched in stone as the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft later this month. The architecture student at the elite university known as The Farm has a fellow jock girlfriend on campus, gymnast Nicole Pechanec.
Indianapolis Colts fans, take a look at the photo gallery
big h/t to, photo credits It’s Always Sunny in Detroit
It seems that the Indianapolis Colts aren’t comfortable in a game until they are down by a couple of touchdowns, doesn’t it? In what has become the norm this season, Andrew Luck and the Colts overcame yet another slow start and a 20-7 halftime deficit to comeback and win 27-23.
The victory send the Colts to a 9-4 record, clinching a winning season that no one thought possible...
It seems to be the “Year of the Rookie Quarterbacks.” Everyone’s talking about it. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden are making headlines this season. The only year that compares to this one is that infamous class of ’83. Six first round picks; John Elway, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, Todd Blackledge and Ken O’Brien...
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck can take solace in the fact that the NFL has informed the team that the call of his interception by Will Witherspoon should have been reversed, according to the Indianapolis Star.
Luck's knee was down, but the official on the field apparently did not get to see the camera angle that showed that on a play that Witherspoon returned 40...
Andrew Luck, who has often received credit for the Colts’ unlikely success, was (statistically) terrible on Sunday. He completed 16 of his 34 pass attempts, on his way to a 196-yard performance. His lone touchdown pass was accompanied by two interceptions.One of those two interceptions came in the closing seconds of the first half on a hail mary-style pass. The other was a blatant...
(Eds: APNewsNow. With AP Photos.) By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer The last time the Houston Texans faced an inexperienced quarterback they forced second-year pro Jake Locker into five turnovers and sacked him six times in a win over the Titans.
Two weeks later, they'll get a shot at Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft last April. He's thrown for 3,792...
Interim Indianapolis Colts head coach Bruce Arians can relate to his friend Chuck Pagano.
Five years ago, it was Arians who received some bad news from his doctor. He had prostate cancer. He successfully battled it of course, but it really hit home when he received the news from Pagano during the team's bye week.
"He had missed Thursday in the office, so I said, '...
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts were supposed to be a few years away. Apparently, the future is now. There were plenty of reasons to write Indianapolis off this season. The Colts were coming off a dismal 2-14 campaign, one of the worst in franchise history and a stunning dropoff for a franchise that has played in two Super Bowls since the turn of the century. There was a major offseason...
(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) By CLIFF BRUNT Associated Press The Indianapolis Colts have gotten a lot of mileage out of Andrew Luck's legs.
Maybe too much.
Shaky protection has forced Luck to scramble all over the field this season and it wasn't pretty again Sunday, with Indy down 20-7 to Tennessee at halftime after rushing for just 12 yards. By the time the game was...
Written By Clifford Santa Monica, If Andrew Luck has an accurate arm with 18 interceptions (and three games remaining in the season), what adjective would you use to describe Robert Griffin’s arm who’s only thrown four? Who’s the best rookie qb in the NFL this year? I’m with Don Shula on this one. To me, it’s RG111 because of his rare combination of brains, poise, arm...
Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 14 in the National Football League! How about the Indianapolis Colts getting 9 wins this season!? Could they pull a 2009 New York Jets in the playoffs and do well while being led by a rookie QB?
(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. Stands for Colts-Big Test on some digests. With AP Photos.) By MICHAEL MAROT AP Sports Writer Indianapolis is 9-4 and is on the verge of making the playoffs.
Andrew Luck has won more games than any No. 1 overall draft pick since the 1970 merger, and Bruce Arians is within one victory of the highest total by an NFL interim coach in more than half...
The 11-2 Texans look to rebound from the Monday night debacle by corralling the AFC South second place Colts. The 9-4 Colts are led by Houston native and former number one pick quarterback Andrew Luck as well as the emotional spirit of first year head coach Chuck Pagano, who is still recovering from cancer treatment. Although the sky is falling for some fans outside Reliant Stadium...
Never drink and drive T…
Check out this amusing story via Indy Star, “A hotel valet employee was arrested after, police said, he took a car owned by Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne and drove it while he was drunk.” You can never trust valets.-TO
Luck Hits The Gym With Reggie Wayne
Andrew Luck Meets MC Hammer