The Texans regained control of the AFC South with a 20-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday Night Football.
After a 34-point loss at Baltimore and a short week, the Texans bounced back with a big performance at home.
“Guys came in here on Monday to turn the page and were very focused,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “And a very tough game, very difficult game to win. But I thought the guys were really focused this week and it showed up on the field.”
Deshaun Watson completed 19-of-30 for 298 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a 104.6 passer rating. He also rushed for 10 yards on three carries. In his first game since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 7 at Indianapolis, Will Fuller V caught seven passes for 140 yards in his return. DeAndre Hopkins scored both touchdowns and finished with six catches for 94 yards receiving.
“He just opens up a lot of different things,” Watson said of Fuller. “His speed, his route running, you have to respect him. Just him and his addition and moving Kenny (Stills) around and having those guys. Those three are, I think, the best trio in the league and when those guys are playing at a high level, it makes my job a lot easier. It was good to see him back in action and make some great catches for us.”
Houston’s defense limited T.Y. Hilton to just three catches for 18 yards in the team’s first win against Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was 16-of-25 for 129 yards and added four carries for 20 yards and a touchdown. Running back Jonathan Williams rushed for a team-high 104 yards and a touchdown. Zach Cunningham finished with a team-high 16 tackles while Jacob Martin recorded a sack, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit.
After gaining a 3-0 lead in the second quarter, a Watson pass was deflected and picked off by Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II. Then, a seven-play, 42-yard drive led to Brissett scoring on a five-yard touchdown run. Indianapolis took a 7-3 lead with 4:28 left in the second quarter.
On Houston’s next possession, Duke Johnson ran for 19 yards and Fuller caught a 15-yard pass to extend the drive. Watson connected with Hopkins on a 35-yard touchdown catch two plays later. Houston’s 10-7 lead didn’t last long as the Colts responded with a 36-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter.
The score at halftime was 10-10.
The Colts offense dominated the third quarter with mostly running plays on an 11-play, 66-yard scoring drive. Williams’ 15-yard touchdown run gave the Colts a 17-10 advantage.
Watson responded with a 51-yard throw to Fuller on the first play of the next drive. Fairbairn added his second field goal of the day, a 36-yard kick after the five-play, 57-yard drive.
On the Texans first drive of the fourth quarter, Hopkins caught his second touchdown of the game. His 11-yard catch and Carlos Hyde’s 33-yard run extended the scoring drive that gave Houston a 20-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Colts were driving down the field to score, but a Brennan Scarlett stop on fourth-and-7 at the Houston 47-yard line ended the series. Brissett was tackled just one yard shy of the first down.
“I think that in the past, especially the last game, but overall the last few times we played them we gave up a lot of shot plays,” O’Brien said. “And I think that one of the things we wanted to try to do was do the best we could to keep the ball in front of us and tackle. And I thought we tackled pretty well. I thought we tackled better in this game than we did last Sunday. And so I give the defense lot of credit. They came to play tonight.”
With the win, the Texans improve to 7-4 on the season while the Colts fall to 6-5. Houston is currently back in first place in the AFC South and will next host the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football on December 1.