In their final road game of 2020, the Texans fell, 27-20, to the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Just like two Sundays ago against the same team, the Texans' final drive on offense ended in a turnover.
"It's hard, it's difficult but we were there and really had a chance to win in both instances and, in both instances, we were not able to get the ball into the endzone to win the game or to put ourselves in position to win the game this week," interim head coach Romeo Crennel said. "But, the guys fought hard, they came back, they were down and they just they didn't quit. They kept playing and kept playing and there they were at the end with the possibility of winning, and so that's what you have to do in this game. You have to keep fighting, to keep playing and give yourself a chance to win. So I thought that's what we did today."
After starting the game in a 14-0 deficit, the Texans battled back to tie it, 20-20, in the fourth quarter. The final possession of the game ended in a similarly heartbreaking fashion to Houston's Week 13 home loss to the Colts, on a fumble near the goal line. Keke Coutee's catch on fourth down was good for a first down until it was knocked out by linebacker Darius Leonard and recovered by the Colts.
"Well, you know Keke was trying his best to get the ball into the end zone," Crennel said. "He had just caught the ball and maybe he didn't have the opportunity to tuck it away completely and the guy put his hand in there and knocked it out. And it came out before he crossed the end line and so it rolled into the end zone. A couple of our guys go forward to try to get it, but they came up with it."
Deshaun Watson completed 33-of-41 passes for 373 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He finished with a 120.8 passer rating, and also ran six times for 25 yards. Chad Hansen and Coutee both caught touchdowns in the loss. David Johnson led the receivers with a 11 catches on 11 targets for 106 yards, both single-game career highs, and 27 rushing yards on eight carries.
"It was a tough loss, but it felt good to help out the offense and do everything I can," Johnson said. "I still always have plays where I think I could do a lot better. Some of the blitz pick-ups I missed and I just want to build from it."
Charles Omenihu finished with a sack on Philip Rivers, one quarterback hit and a tackle for loss. Tyrell Adams led the team with 11 tackles and one tackle for loss. Adams now has over 100 tackles for the season, a new single-season record for the Texans inside linebacker.
Indianapolis scored touchdowns on its first two possessions. Jonathan Taylor scored on five-yard touchdown run. DeForest Buckner's strip sack on Watson gave the Colts possession in Houston territory. Four plays later, Rivers threw an 11-yard touchdown to Zach Pascal to give Indianapolis a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Texans scored ten unanswered points. Houston's defensed forced a punt on back-to-back drives and Watson led a pair of scoring drives. Hansen caught his first career NFL touchdown, a 38-yarder, with 3:46 left in the half. David Johnson set up the scoring play with a 26-yard catch one play earlier.
"I was hoping that he (Hansen) didn't run out of bounds," Watson said. "He kept running full speed. So I kind of hit a two ball, kind of left it inside so he could redirect. He did a good job of stopping on a dime to catch the ball."
Ka'imi Fairbairn added a 23-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter and the Texans headed into halftime trailing 14-10 to the Colts.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Texans defense came up with back-to-back stops on Taylor in the red zone. The Colts settled for a 35-yard field goal and took a 17-10 lead in the third quarter.
Each team had just one possession in the third quarter. David Johnson's 31-yard catch-and-run moved Houston into Colts' territory. Fairbairn's 31-yard field goal capped off the drive.
After a 53-yard field goal by Indianapolis to start the fourth quarter, both teams scored their first touchdowns of the second half. Watson threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Coutee to cap a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive that tied the game 20-20 with 7:25 remaining. Rivers responded with a 41-yard pass to T.Y. Hilton just before the two-minute warning. Two plays later, Rivers threw his second touchdown pass of the day to Pascal. The Colts took a 27-20 lead.
With 1:47 remaining, Watson led the offense down the field with back-to-back first down passes to Brandin Cooks and David Johnson. A sack and penalty stalled the drive, but on fourth-and-5, Watson connected with Coutee on a 13-yard throw, but Leonard punched out the ball and the Colts recovered the ball in the endzone.
With the loss, the Texans fall to 4-10 on the season and will host the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16.