The Houston Texans finished their 2022 campaign with a comeback victory in Indianapolis, beating the Colts 32-31 on a Hail Mary touchdown and a season-high point total.
"We talk about finishes, it's about making plays in the fourth quarter," Head Coach Lovie Smith said. "To finish that way, of course, is a sign of growth and we're headed in the right direction. But those are the things that you have to clean up. I mean, we've been fighting. You've been watching most of our games. There's not many games where we haven't fought."
The Texans led for three quarters, by as many as 10 points, before trailing late in the fourth quarter. QB Davis Mills was 22-of-38 for 298 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. WR Brandin Cooks led the team with five catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Akins caught two touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score and two-point conversion.
Houston also finished with three takeaways, including a career-first defensive touchdown for DL Jonathan Greenard. LB Christian Harris closed out his rookie campaign with a team-high 10 tackles (six solo), 1.0 sack, one quarterback hit, two tackles for loss and a pass defensed.
"I was talking to the defense, I think I can't remember the last year we've gone without scoring a defensive touchdown, maybe in the nineties or something like that," Smith said. "So it was good to see. I would've never guessed it would be a defensive lineman that got it but that said an awful lot. Every one of those turnovers that they had. And with us, the takeaways really helped an awful lot."
The Texans took a two-score lead before the Colts offense ever stepped onto the field. Mills completed 3-for-3 passes for 57 yards on the opening drive before tossing an 11-yard touchdown pass to Cooks.
LB Neville Hewitt forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. DB M.J. Stewart scooped it up at the Colts 18-yard line. The Texans added a 37-yard field goal and took a 10-0 lead with 9:40 left in the first quarter.
Colts QB Sam Ehlinger tossed a one-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman for the Colts' first score of the day. However, Ehlinger also threw two interceptions in the second quarter, the first ended in a 39-yard pick-six by Greenard to give Houston a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter.
The Colts made it a one-score game, after Zach Moss found the end zone on a two-yard run. On the next drive, TE Teagan Quitoriano caught a 52-yard pass to get to the Indianapolis 21-yard line. Three plays later, Jordan Akins caught a 19-yard touchdown and Houston took a 24-14 lead with 3:37 left in the third quarter.
However, the Texans quickly lost their lead when their next two possessions ended in interceptions that resulted in 14 points for the Colts. Mills's first interception resulted in a 27-yard pick-six. Ehlinger threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Mo Alie-Cox after the second takeaway. The Colts had their first lead of the game, up 28-24 with 10:30 left in the game.
After a 54-yard Colts field goal gave Indianapolis a 31-24 lead, Mills led a 14-play, 83-yard scoring drive converting two fourth-down conversions.
"We knew what we needed to do, go down and find a way to get in the end zone and score a touchdown," Mills said. "It's an unbelievable feeling, converted a couple critical fourth-down situations, fourth-and-longs and guys are just making plays. That offensive line stepped up and gave me really good protection."
Mills found Cooks for a 30-yard gain on fourth-and-12. After a sack on third down set up fourth-and-20, Mills threw a Hail Mary pass into the end zone that sailed into the hands of Akins. Trailing by one point, the Texans relied on the Mills-Akins connection for a successful two-point conversion with just 58 seconds remaining.
With the win, Houston finishes with a 3-13-1 record on the season, 3-2-1 record in the AFC South and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Browse photos from the Texans, Colts Week 18 matchup.