Jadeveon Clowney's strip-sack on Andrew Luck was a turning point in the win against the Indianapolis Colts, if not the season. When asked if it was the biggest play of his NFL career, the Texans starting defensive end didn't hesitate.
"Yeah. I do," Clowney said after the game. "It was a big play in a critical moment of the game. Finished this one out."
On third-and-goal from the 3-yard line, a touchdown would have regained the lead for Indianapolis, trailing 16-10 with 2:36 left in the third quarter. Clowney's sack resulted in fumble recovery by teammate Whitney Mercilus. He was matched up against tight end Dwayne Allen, for the second time on the drive.
"The play before they tried to block me with a tight end and I stood him up I was ready for him," Clowney said. "They tried to come back with the same play, this time they tried to pass and I went around."
Clowney took down Luck for an 11-yard loss and the resulting fumble regained possession for Houston's offense. More importantly, it kept Luck and the Colts scoreless on the trip to the red zone.
"J.D., when he's played against the Colts, he's played well," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "He's been a disruptive guy against the colts and he was ready to go this week. He practiced well and he was ready to go. Needs to do it every week. We're going to need him bad down the stretch here."
Clowney, who missed his first start of the 2016 last week at Green Bay, knew he had to make plays. Clowney's pressure on Luck resulted in an interception to Andre Hal earlier in the third quarter. He finished with three tackles, 1.0 sack for a loss of 11 yards, three quarterback hits, and the forced fumble.
With Sunday's 22-27 win in Indianapolis, the Texans improve to 7-6 and regain sole possession of first place in the AFC South.
The Texans and Colts squared off at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 14.