LB Brian Cushing (56) and the Texans came up short on the road against the Colts.
INDIANAPOLIS -The Texans came back from a 13-0 deficit on the road by scoring 17 consecutive points, only to fall to Peyton Manning and the Indianpolis Colts by a 20-17 final.
Heckuva homecoming: Strong safety Bernard Pollard, who grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind., and played collegiately at Purdue, had two interceptions and tied for the team lead with 12 tackles on Sunday. Individually, it was a productive day, but the fourth-year pro left his home state with a bitter taste in his mouth.
"This is home, and I've got a lot of family and it's fun individually, but it's not an individual sport," Pollard said. "Everybody's got to grind back. We've got to keep everybody's spirits up and keep going."
Pollard's first interception came at the end of the second quarter with about one minute remaining. He picked off a Manning pass at the Indianapolis 14 and raced 36 yards up the Texans' sideline before he was brought down at the 50-yard line. The Texans wound up converting his interception into three points when Kris Brown made a 56-yard field goal as time expired.
"He's one of the best, if not the best," Pollard said of Manning. "Anything that we can take from him and try to get our offense the ball back and go downfield, we'll take it."
Pollard's second pick came after the intermission, when he stepped in front of Pierre Garcon at the Texans' 24-yard line and intercepted Reggie Wayne's pass attempt on an end-around.
Punishing penalties: The Texans came into Sunday's contest with the Colts averaging a little more than five penalties per game. Their season-high in penalties was seven, which they had against both the 49ers and Bengals.
The Texans nearly doubled that total against Indianapolis, getting penalized 13 times. Those penalties resulted in 103 yards and six first downs for the Colts.
"We had way too many penalties," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "We had three of those (neutral zone infractions), we had a couple of special teams penalties once again, which has been hurting us all year long. We had a couple of holding calls, and we did overcome a few of those, if I'm correct.
"But any time you have 13 penalties for 100 yards on the road, you're just kind of adding to your problems of playing on the road."
Quarterback Matt Schaub agreed.
"Throughout the game, we hurt ourselves," Schaub said. "We had plenty of opportunities to put points on the board. We hurt ourselves and weren't able to do that. It's very frustrating."
The Colts, meanwhile, only lost 40 yards on four penalties.
The Texans committed nine of their penalties in the first half, and right tackle Eric Winston explained what Kubiak said to the team to help calm them down.
"We were kind of in disarray," Winston said. "We just had to settle down and play. We liked our game plan going in. We liked what we were going to do. We just had to get down and execute."
Cushing consistent: All season long, rookie linebacker Brian Cushing has made a profound impact on the Texans' defense. Sunday against the Colts was no different. The 2009 first-round pick tied Pollard with 12 total tackles, including one tackle for loss. He also popped Manning as he let loose a first-quarter pass.
"This would have been a huge upper if we had won this game," Cushing said. "(Peyton Manning) just finds a way to win. He dinks and dunks and finds the spots. You have to get more turnovers, find the ways to get the ball. Sometimes 20 points isn't enough; you have to hold him to 17 or 14 or whatever you can."
On the season, Cushing now has 78 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, a pair of forced fumbles and two interceptions.