Texans beat Colts 27-24


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in franchise history.

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"It was just an unselfish team effort today, one of the best I've ever been around and I've been doing this a long time," Texans head coach

Kubiak said.

As clutch as Brown was, he wasn't the brightest star for the Texans. Ron Dayne, who has emerged as

's top running back over the past month, had a career-high 153 rushing yards on 32 carries and two touchdowns.

"I can't say enough about the job he's done this year," Kubiak said of Dayne. "I had some people tell me that he might be done. When he first got here, I was concerned because he didn't look like the guy I left in

last year. Right now, it looks like he has a lot of football left."

Dayne's tally was the third-best rushing performance in franchise history and allowed the Texans to dominate time of possession as

was just one tick away from holding the ball for 36 minutes Sunday.

"It's been fun," said a smiling Dayne postgame. "I've had the opportunity to run the ball. It's not like I couldn't (do it). I've just never had the chance to carry the ball this many times. It doesn't matter what I got, just as long as I help the team win."

Keeping the ball out of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's hands was a good idea. Indy punted only once on the day, and Manning threw three touchdowns, the last coming with less than five minutes remaining in the game to tie the score at 24 points apiece.

But the Colts had one costly turnover, while

had none, and the Texans capitalized on Indy's mistake for an early 14-0 lead, a margin that even Manning couldn't come back from.

The Texans won the toss and elected to receive to start the game. Cornerback Dexter Wynn got the Texans great field position with a 36-yard return on the opening kickoff, giving

the ball at its own 39-yard line.

The Texans' offense went right to work, marching 61 yards to take a 7-0 lead with 10:23 remaining in the first quarter. Dayne capped a 10-play drive with a three-yard run to paydirt, his first of two trips to the end zone on the day.

Dayne rushed for 21 yards on the drive, which also featured a 25-yard reception from tight end Mark Bruener, and a nine-yard catch by Pro Bowler Andre Johnson.

The Colts answered with a solid return of their own, gaining possession at their own 45-yard line. After attempting a deep pass to Marvin Harrison on the first play, the Colts put the ball in the hands of running back Dominic Rhodes, who promptly put the ball on the turf.

Rookie defensive end Mario Williams forced the first fumble of his NFL career, and

's offense was quickly back in business at the Colts'47-yard line thanks to defensive end Anthony Weaver's fumble recovery.

Wide receiver Kevin Walter starred on the ensuing drive, making two first down grabs and giving Dayne another shot at the goal line. This time Dayne went virtually untouched for a six-yard scoring scamper giving

a 14-0 lead with 5:51 remaining in the first quarter.

The Colts finally got in gear on the next drive. An 80-yard touchdown drive came courtesy of a 37-yard touchdown strike from Manning to

to get the Colts within seven points, 14-7, with 58 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Houston moved the ball to midfield on the ensuing possession, but on third-and-seven from their own 46-yard line, Walter slipped and failed to make a catch that would have given

another first down.

Chad Stanley pinned the Colts inside their own 20-yard line, at the 19, with a 34-yard punt after the

miscue.

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The Colts got the run game going on their next drive. Rookie Joseph Addai, a product of Sharpstown High School, accounted for 61 of

' 81 yards on its first scoring drive. A nine-yard touchdown from Manning to wide receiver Aaron Morehead knotted the score at 14 with 8:16 remaining in the first half.

But no one hit the panic button, and

went back to the ground with the score knotted at 14 behind rookie Chris Taylor, who saw his first meaningful time at running back, spelling Dayne in the backfield.

After taking over at their own 25-yard line, the Texans went 75 yards, mainly on the ground, to make the score 21-14 with just 16 seconds remaining in the half. Dayne and Taylor did most of the damage, but fullback Vonta Leach, in perhaps a nod to his solid lead blocking, was rewarded with a three-yard touchdown reception, the first of his NFL career.

received the second half kickoff and took over on its 25-yard line.

's defense allowed one first down, but forced Indy to punt for the first and only time of the game to regain the momentum after the break.

Hunter Smith sent a high arching punt, and

was buried in its own end, starting their first drive of the second half at their five-yard line following a penalty on the punt return. The Texans went back to work on the ground, moving the ball to midfield riding the legs of Dayne.

However, the drive stalled at the

punt kissed the goal line before bouncing back into play, giving Indy the ball at their own 20-yard line.

Starting deep in their own end, the Colts went 65 yards before Manning stumbled on third down at the

15 and sent a desperation pass that fell incomplete. The Colts settled for a 33-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri, cutting Houston's lead to 21-17

with 1:27 remaining in the third quarter.

Showing a steel resolve, the Texans' offense took the field and regained the momentum again. Taking nearly 10 minutes off the clock,

continued to pound the ball into the teeth of the Colts' defense.

But the Texans were forced to settle for a 42-yard field goal from Brown after another scoring run from Dayne was called back because of holding. Brown's field goal pushed the Texans' lead back to seven points with 6:54 remaining in the game.

The Colts' ensuing drive began at their own 29-yard line. Manning, knowing it may be the last time his offense would get the ball, moved the Colts methodically down the field.

Indy moved 78 yards in 4:18 to knot the score at 24 points apiece.

collected his second touchdown of the game, a toss of seven yards from Manning, to punctuate the drive.

With the game on the line,

began its final drive near midfield another nice return from Wynn.

The Texans moved the ball 38 yards, working the clock, before calling a timeout with only five seconds remaining. Brown calmly nailed the game-winner after an unsuccesful attempt by the Colts to ice the veteran kicker.

's record against the AFC South improved to 3-3 with the win, and the Texans will be in search of back-to-back wins to end the season for the first time in franchise history.

After a day off to celebrate the Christmas holiday, the coaches return to the office on Tuesday to prepare for the season finale against the Cleveland Browns.


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