For the first time in franchise history, the Houston Texans finished a game with a tie. In their 2022 regular season opener, the Texans and Colts headed into overtime tied 20-20 but neither team was able to secure the win.
"To start the game off, you want to have a winner, you want to play well," Head Coach Lovie Smith said. "We had our opportunities. We talk a lot about finishing. We didn't finish the way we would like. 20-3 lead at home, you would like to think you could finish that off, but we didn't. Some good things we did early on to get 20 points. Offensively O.J. Howard coming in, making an impact right away the way he did, but never really got the running game going completely, so the passing game, it can help an awful lot."
The Texans held the Colts offense to just a field goal, heading into the fourth quarter with a 20-3 lead. A fourth-quarter rally by the Colts forced the game into overtime.
"We've got to learn how to close games out," Jerry Hughes said. "We were up on those guys at the start of the second half. The fourth quarter we've got to shut the door as a defense. When you've got someone on the run, when you've got your foot on their neck, you've got to be able to squeeze and just solidify the game. We didn't do it this evening. We've got to learn from this game so we can figure out ways to close games, because that's the only way you're going to win in the NFL is in that fourth quarter."
Davis Mills completed 23-of-37 for 240 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 98.9 passer rating. Tight end O.J. Howard caught both touchdown passes in his Texans debut. Rex Burkhead and Dameon Pierce split carries in the ground game, combining 25 carries for 73 yards.
"Situational football is a big thing for us, 3rd down, red zone, those gotta-have-it moments, two-minute drives," Mills said. "We've just got to continue executing and doing our jobs in those situations so we can keep driving the football."
Houston's defense had two takeaways, including an interception by Hughes, who also added 2.0 sacks, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and three solo tackles in his first game as a Texan.
In the second quarter, Hughes picked off Matt Ryan's pass, intended for Jonathan Taylor, against his former team. Four plays later, Texans took 10-3 lead after Mills threw a 16-yard touchdown to Howard.
OC Pep Hamilton opened up the second half by calling a flea flicker play that yielded a 42-yard catch by Brandin Cooks. Houston extended its lead in the third quarter by a score of 13-3 with a 43-yard field goal to cap off the drive.
Christian Kirksey came up with a big fumble recovery on the next series. Four plays later, Howard scored again, this time on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Mills. Houston took a 20-3 lead in the third quarter.
The Colts went on a 17-0 run in the final quarter to force the game into overtime. A strip-sack on Mills resulted in the first turnover of the game for Houston. The Colts recovered the ball on the Houston 20-yard line.
"I mean, you just felt the momentum change after that play," Mills said. "Felt like we've just got to maintain what we had moving in the first half and going into the third quarter on offense."
Four plays later, Taylor rushed for a two-yard touchdown and the Colts trailed by just one score, down 20-13. Ryan threw his only touchdown pass of the game on the next drive to WR Michael Pittman with 1:54 left in regulation.
Each team received the ball twice in overtime. Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 42-yard field goal wide right. Mills found Rex Burkhead for eight yards, Brandin Cooks for nine yards and Chris Moore for nine yards. However, an incomplete pass and a tackle for loss on third-and-1 would force the Texans to decide between a punt or going for it on fourth-and-3 from the Colts 49-yard line. Ultimately, Smith decided to punt and the Colts ran out of time on their final drive.
"It's a decision that you make," Smith said. "If you would guarantee that we were going to get it, then it was good, but if you miss it right there and they had stuffed us on the play, they have one play they're in position. It's not like we were playing our best defense at the time. We were drained. We were gassed a little bit. That's how it goes. In an ideal world, you don't want a loss, you want a win, but if you can't get the win, sometimes you settle for the tie. A lot of football left to go in the season."
The Colts and Texans will face each other again in Week 18 at Lucas Oil Stadium. With the tie, the Texans head into Week 2 at Denver with a 0-0-1 record.
Browse no fee tickets for Texans-Chargers on October 2 @ 12:00 PM.