INDIANAPOLIS -The Texans were a yard away from tying games against Arizona and Jacksonville earlier this season. They were about a foot wide from going into overtime against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.
Kicker Kris Brown missed wide left on a 42-yard field goal attempt as time expired, and the Texans remain winless in Indianapolis after a 20-17 loss to the undefeated Colts.
"I didn't do my job today," said Brown, who made a 56-yard field goal earlier in the game. "The hardest thing for me is that we had all these guys in our locker room that were busting their tail... Those guys put us in position, and I didn't do my job today."
Beginning with Brown's long field goal at the end of the first half, the Texans scored 17 unanswered points to overcome a 13-point deficit. They took the lead for the first time on on a one-yard touchdown run by Steve Slaton early in the fourth quarter. Five minutes later, Colts running back Joseph Addai put Indianapolis back on top for good with a two-yard touchdown run.
Wide receiver Andre Johnson had 10 catches for 103 yards in the losing effort. Quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 311 yards and a touchdown but was picked off twice. The Texans had the ball for 34:33 but lost the turnover battle 3-2 and were penalized 13 times for 103 yards.
"It's very painful to know you were so close against a very good opponent on the road," Schaub said. "A lot of guys gave great effort and played extremely well. To know you just fell short, that hurts you deep."
Indianapolis stormed out to a 13-0 lead using a no-huddle offense. Peyton Manning threw 25 passes in the first quarter and finished the game 34-of-50 for 318 yards. He had one touchdown, a seven-yarder to Addai that put the Texans down 7-0 in the first quarter. The Colts added field goals by kicker Matt Stover on their next two possessions.
The Texans didn't pick up a first down until midway through the second quarter on a six-yard carry by Ryan Moats, who started the game in place of Slaton. Ten plays later, Moats fumbled at the Colts' one-yard line as he was falling out of bounds after a nine-yard catch.
Moats initially was ruled down, but Colts head coach Jim Caldwell threw his red challenge flag as the Texans lined up for their next play coming out of the two-minute warning.
After a lengthy review, referee Jeff Triplette determined that Moats fumbled at the one-yard line. Colts cornerback Jerraud Powers recovered the ball near the goal line after running out of bounds, and the Colts were awarded the ball and a touchback.
"It was just a freaky play," Moats said. "I thought I was out of bounds at first, but they reviewed it and I guess they thought otherwise."
Houston safety Bernard Pollard prevented Indianpolis from capitalizing on the turnover by picking off Manning at the Texans' 14-yard line. His 36-yard return to midfield set up for Brown's 56-yard field goal at the end of the first half.
Thanks to Brown and their defense, the Texans only trailed by 10 at halftime despite being outgained 264-99 and being flagged for nine penalties.
Schaub and the offense started the second half with a 12-play, 86-yard scoring drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown catch by Moats. It cut the Colts' lead to 13-10.
After the touchdown, the Texans' defense forced a three-and-out. Schaub then found Jacoby Jones for a 45-yard pass that led to Slaton's touchdown run, which gave the Texans a 17-13 lead.
On the Colts' ensuing drive, Pollard thwarted another Indianpolis scoring threat with his second interception of the game. The Colts tried a wide receiver pass with Reggie Wayne on an end around, and Pollard snared it at the Texans' 24-yard line.
The Texans were unable to pick up a first down and punted back to the Colts. Eight plays and 61 yards later, Indianapolis took back the lead with Addai's two-yard touchdown run.
Down by three, the Texans moved into Colts territory on a 24-yard pass from Schaub to Johnson. But Schaub was picked off by Colts linebacker Clint Session at the Indianapolis 32-yard line. Linebacker Gary Brackett hit Schaub as he threw.
That turnover gave the Colts the ball with 2:13 left on the clock. A first down would have ended the game, but defensive end Antonio Smith sacked Manning on second down to help force a timely three-and-out. The Texans got the ball back at their own 15-yard line with 1:46 left to play and no timeouts.
Schaub led the Texans on a furious last-minute drive, completing passes to five different receivers and moving the offense 61 yards in 11 plays.
With one second remaining, Schaub spiked the ball at the Indianapolis 24-yard line to stop the clock. Brown came on for the game-tying field goal attempt. It had plenty of distance but sailed wide left to end the game.
"Kris has been kicking the ball very, very well," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "I told him after the game we believe in him, keep kicking it. We're counting on him… That's a tough job for a kicker, and unfortunately it didn't go through."
The Texans are now 0-8 at Indianapolis since entering the league in 2002. On the bright side, they head into their bye week at 5-4, the best record after nine games in team history.
Inactives:Texans: Dan Orlovsky (third QB), WR Glenn Martinez, CB Fred Bennett, S Dominique Barber, DT DelJuan Robinson, G Tutan Reyes, TE James Casey, DT Frank Okam. Colts: K Adam Vinatieri, QB Curtis Painter, WR Anthony Gonzalez, CB Kelvin Hayden, RB Donald Brown, T Tony Ugoh, TE Tom Santi, DT Fili Moala.
For more, check out the HoustonTexans.com game blog.