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Houston Texans

Texans can't stop Colts' comeback in loss


Fullback Vonta Leach scored on a seven-yard touchdown pass.

The Texans found themselves in the all-too-familiar position Sunday of leading the Indianapolis Colts by double digits at Reliant Stadium. Similar to the result last year, the Texans couldn't hold onto the lead in a disappointing 35-27 loss in front of the second-largest crowd in team history.

The 70,990 fans in attendance witnessed the Texans' 17-point first half lead evaporate when the Colts went on a 35-3 run to finish the game. In the process, the Texans turned the ball over three times in the second half, including twice in a four-minute span in the fourth quarter.

The second giveaway was an interception that linebacker Clint Session returned 27 yards for a touchdown to give Indianapolis an eight-point lead with 8:09 remaining in the contest.

Last year against the Colts, the Texans held a 17-point lead at Reliant Stadium with 8:18 left in the game, but they lost 31-27 after committing three turnovers in the fourth quarter.

Another significant factor in today's defeat was that the Texans were penalized 10 times for 129 yards compared to the Colts' three penalties for 25 yards. Regardless, the Texans now carry a 5-6 record into their final AFC South game of the season next Sunday at the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"We played very well in the first half, and the second half we had penalties," coach Gary Kubiak said. "That's on me. I've got to find a way to get these 45 guys to play consistent, and obviously we have not. We've been really, really good, and then very poor in some situations."

The first half couldn't have gone much better for the Texans, who controlled the clock for more than 19 minutes thanks to a ground game that averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Running backs Steve Slaton and Chris Brown each had eight carries for 81 combined yards.

{QUOTE}Quarterback Matt Schaub completed his first nine passes, including a seven-yard touchdown pass to fullback Vonta Leach on a perfectly executed play action fake with 8:25 left in the first quarter. Schaub's first incompletion didn't come until early in the second quarter, when the Texans held a 14-0 lead.

Looking to capitalize off an interception by linebacker Brian Cushing, Schaub threw 29 yards to Andre Johnson on a double move. Johnson caught the pass in the end zone, but the ball was jarred loose when he hit the ground. The play was reviewed, and officials upheld the ruling on the field of an incomplete pass.

Six plays later, Kris Brown lined up for a 35-yard field goal that sailed over the left crossbar to give the Texans a 17-0 lead with 10:49 left in the first half.

From there, the game began to unravel for the Texans. Defensive end Antonio Smith was penalized 15 yards for roughing the passer, which was his second 15-yard penalty in the game, and quarterback Peyton Manning threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon to cut the lead to 17-7 in the second quarter.

Houston entered the locker room at halftime up 20-7 after Brown kicked a 33-yard field goal on the ensuing drive and rookie Brice McCain intercepted Manning with seven seconds on the first-half clock.

In perhaps the most controversial penalty of the game, officials flagged cornerback Jacques Reeves for holding on a pass that sailed well beyond Garcon. The play moved the Colts 43 yards to the Houston 19. Manning's four-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne cut Houston's lead to 20-14 after the extra point.

"I didn't think it was a very good call," Kubiak said of Reeves' penalty. "But obviously, they make the call and we've got to work through it."

Defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina's 10-yard holding penalty on the following kickoff return pushed back the offense to the seven-yard line. A few plays later, Schaub's deep pass intended for Johnson was intercepted by safety Antoine Bethea at the Colts' 17-yard line.

An eight-yard sack by defensive end Mario Williams derailed the Colts' next possession, but the Texans' offense punted on the following series.

With 13:26 left in the game, the Texans dodged a bullet when Matt Stover's 32-yard field goal missed wide right, giving the Texans possession at their 22-yard line.

On the Colts' next series, Manning found wide receiver Austin Collie open on consecutive passes for 39 total yards to move the Colts inside Houston territory. An 18-yard pass interference penalty on cornerback Dunta Robinson gave the Colts a first down at the 18-yard line. Manning's six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Clark gave the Colts a 21-20 lead after Stover's extra point.

Less than 30 seconds later, Schaub's pass intended for tight end James Casey was picked off by Session, who silenced the crowd with his return for a touchdown.

"(Session) made a play and undercut it," Schaub said. "It's just on me. I need to get off that and go somewhere else with the ball."

Schaub lost a fumble on the next series when he was sacked by defensive end Robert Mathis. Defensive end Raheem Brock recovered the loose ball, and four plays later, running back Chad Simpson rushed for a 23-yard touchdown with 2:52 left in the game.

With 18 seconds left on the game clock, Schaub passed to wide receiver Jacoby Jones for a 10-yard touchdown. The Colts closed the door, though, when Brown's onside kick was batted out of bounds.

Injuries: The Texans' inactives included quarterback Dan Orlovsky, wide receiver Glenn Martinez, running back Arian Foster, cornerback Mark Parson, safety Brian Russell, defensive tackle DelJuan Robinson, guard Tutan Reyes and defensive tackle Frank Okam.

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