Rapid Reaction: Texans fall 30-23 to Colts

The Texans fell, 30-23, to the Colts on Sunday. A Houston comeback came up short when Deshaun Watson’s final pass was intercepted.

In Sunday’s loss, penalties plagued the Texans, who were flagged 10 times for 54 yards. It was a costly game, injury-wise, as Houston’s secondary was without starting cornerback Bradley Roby. During the contest, cornerback Johnathan Joseph, safety Tashaun Gipson Sr., receiver Will Fuller V, right tackle Roderick Johnson and long snapper Jon Weeks and cornerback Phillip Gaines all left the game due to injury.

“One of the keys is health,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “Just like any team we are experiencing some guys that are banged up we’ll have to see how banged up they are and we’ll have to do what’s best for our team moving forward.”

The Texans converted 2-of-5 red zone opportunities, kicking three field goals in the second quarter. Watson completed 23-of-34 passes for 308 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran for 32 yards on three attempts. Keke Coutee and DeAndre Hopkins both scored touchdowns. After missing two games, Kenny Stills caught four passes for 105 yards in his first game back, while Hopkins led the team with nine catches for 106 yards receiving.

"We can’t get frustrated, we can’t get discouraged," Watson said. "We’ve got to keep a positive energy and stay motivated. Anything can happen in the NFL. It’s a new week every week.”

After giving up touchdowns on four of the first seven Colts' possessions, Houston’s defense clamped down on Indianapolis in the fourth quarter, allowing just one first down and keeping the offense scoreless. The Texans defense limited running back Marlon Mack to just 44 yards rushing on 18 carries. Houston also forced a turnover in its 20th consecutive game when Whitney Mercilus recovered a Brissett fumble at the Colts four-yard line. Benardrick McKinney had a team-high eight tackles and two tackles for loss. Watt registered six quarterback hits and batted down a pass.

“It’s obviously frustrating,” defensive end J.J. Watt said. “Tough division game on the road – obviously you want to come in here and get a win and we didn’t do that today. I’ve got to give credit to them and the quarterback. He took a ton of hits today and kept popping up and I respect the hell out of that. We’ve just got to do better."

The Colts took an early 7-0 lead after Brissett’s touchdown pass to wide receiver Zach Pascal on their first possession. After punting on their first two possessions, Houston kicked a field goal on their next three possessions. Ka’imi Fairbairn was a perfect 3-for-3 on the day, successfully connecting from 47, 31 and 26 yards.

“We have a lot of confidence in Ka’imi,” O’Brien said. “He’s made a lot of big kicks for us and kept us in the game.”

After Houston’s second field goal drive, the Colts responded with a two-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton to take a 14-6 lead with 1:49 left in second quarter.

On the ensuing possession, Watson took the Texans to the Colts 10-yard line, and Fairbairn’s 26-yard field goal had the Texans trailing 14-9 at halftime.

The opening drive of the second half saw Brissett throw his third touchdown of the game. Eric Ebron's one-handed grab gave the Colts a 21-9 lead with 10:29 left in the third quarter.

The Texans responded with a 5-play, 75-yard scoring drive that took just 1:46 off the clock. Stills' 45-yard catch put Houston in a first-and-goal situation at the Indianapolis 4-yard line. Watson pitched the ball to Coutee who ran in for a touchdown on the next play.

Another Colts score by Pascal extended the lead to 28-16 at the end of the third quarter.

In the fourth, Watson threw his second touchdown of the day, a four-yard pass to Hopkins. It pulled the Texans to within 28-23.

After a stop by the defense, Watson and the offense were pinned deep. Houston had punter Bryan Anger run out of the back of the end zone to take a safety, which gave the Colts a 30-23 advantage with 2:41 remaining in regulation.

Watson and the offense were close to mid-field on Houston’s final possession, but an interception ended the drive. Darius Leonard picked off a pass intended for Coutee, and the Colts ended the game in victory formation.

The Texans fell to 4-3 on the season and will host the Oakland Raiders in Week 8.

Houston Texans take on the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium for the seventh game of the 2019 NFL season.

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