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Texans lose to Colts 33-27


INDIANAPOLIS - The Texans let a perfect shot at redemption slip away in the final minute of their 33-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Trailing by six points with 1:47 remaining in the game, quarterback Sage Rosenfels lined up in shotgun formation from the Houston 24 with no timeouts. After completing two passes for 26 yards to wide receiver David Anderson, Rosenfels' pass intended for tight end Owen Daniels was intercepted by safety Melvin Bullitt to end Houston's comeback hopes.

"The thing that you are trying to do right there is just get yourself in position to throw a Hail Mary toward the end zone," coach Gary Kubiak said. "So I told Sage, 'Hey, right there you don't have to do anything heroic. Just get us to the 40-yard line and let's throw one up for grabs and see if we get lucky and walk out of here with a big win.'

"(I) just would have liked to have had a chance to do that, but give them credit. They made a play."

Rosenfels accepted responsibility for his turnover after the game.

"We had four verticals on and they rolled a cover that sort of surprised me and I thought I had a chance with Kevin (Walter) on the sideline," Rosenfels said. "I saw Owen Daniels flash. I think Owen Daniels was open enough, but I just made a bad throw. I threw it behind him and probably should have just checked the ball down or something else."

A game-winning drive would have been a fitting response to the Colts' dramatic fourth quarter comeback win in the regular season home opener at Reliant Stadium on Oct. 5. Unfortunately, the Texans (3-7) suffered their third consecutive loss of the season and their seventh consecutive loss at Indianapolis.

{QUOTE}The defeat spoiled a spectacular performance by running back Steve Slaton, who had a team rookie-record 156 rushing yards on 14 carries (11.1 avg.), including a franchise-long 71-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

After carrying the ball only four times last Sunday versus Baltimore, Slaton had fresh legs.

"He's a fine, young football player, and he's got a very bright future," Kubiak said. "We wasted a hell of a day. I would have liked to have seen the kid win today."

Slaton tried to remain upbeat after the game.

"It's a positive note that we can run," he said. "We just have to do that the whole game and next week. It's just sad that on the last play we ended the game. But if we play like that week in and week out, we will win some of them."

Establishing the run game was exactly what the Texans needed to do to control the clock and keep the game within reach.

Everything was going according to plan with the Texans leading 13-9 at halftime. In fact, it was the Colts' lowest point total ever at halftime against Houston.

But the game became a track meet in the second half with 38 combined points. While the Texans scored on two of their four possessions after halftime, the Colts scored three touchdowns on their three third quarter drives and finished with a field goal in the fourth quarter.

Missing starters Amobi Okoye (ankle) and Morlon Greenwood (fibula), the Texans' defense allowed 474 net yards of offense and did not collect a takeaway. In the second half, Indianapolis gained 117 net rushing yards after totaling only 37 in the first two quarters.

"The bottom line is we didn't stop them," Kubiak said. "You want to make this team run the ball, obviously. We felt like we did a good job of that throughout the first half. The second half, it shows you what kind of patience they have. They said, 'OK, if you want us to run it, we'll run it.' We obviously didn't do a good enough job."

The Texans took a 3-0 lead with Kris Brown's 28-yard field goal on the game's opening possession. Slaton started fast with a 23-yard run into Indianapolis territory on third-and-short. He lost the ball at the end of the play, but Daniels recovered the fumble to preserve the scoring drive.

A 46-yard kickoff return by Pierre Garcon sparked the Colts' first possession, which Adam Vinatieri ended with a 40-yard field goal after two potential first down throws were dropped by tight end Dallas Clark and wide receiver Reggie Wayne.

On the first play of the next drive, Rosenfels rolled to his left after a flawless play action fake and found wide receiver Kevin Walter open for a 61-yard pass to the Colts' 11-yard line. After defensive end Dwight Freeney sacked Rosenfels for a six-yard loss on third down, Brown's 34-yard field goal gave the Texans a 6-3 lead.

With the score tied 6-6 later in the first half after Vinatieri's 39-yard field goal, the Texans scored the first touchdown of the game after a 39-yard punt return by Jacoby Jones sparked the offense.

Inside Colts' territory, Daniels made a 14-yard catch to the 13-yard line on third-and-eight to keep the drive alive. Slaton picked up 12 yards on the next three carries to the one-yard line, where running back Ahman Green powered his way over the goal line on third down to give the Texans a 13-6 lead after Brown's extra point.

Inside the two-minute warning, Manning completed seven passes for 83 yards despite three penalties for 25 yards on left tackle Tony Ugoh, who was flagged once for holding, once for tripping Mario Williams and once for a false start.

With 14 seconds remaining in the first half, Manning overthrew wide receiver Marvin Harrison on third-and-one, leading to Vinatieri's 32-yard field goal.

On the opening drive of the second half, running back Joseph Addai picked up 34 yards on five carries and Harrison caught three passes for 24 yards to move the Colts into scoring range. On third-and-eight at the Houston 23, Manning found Addai out of the backfield for a touchdown that gave Indianapolis a 16-13 lead after Vinatieri's extra point.

Slaton responded with the longest rush in team history on third-and-two when he sprinted off the right tackle, avoided safety Matt Giordano and ran 71 yards for a touchdown. Brown's extra point put Houston ahead 20-16 with 9:30 left in the third quarter.

"They had everybody stacked in the box because it was third-and-short," Slaton said. "I mean, that happened on our first drive because it was third-and-short. I got a pretty big run, but I fumbled the ball. This time it happened, and there was just nobody."

Using a no-huddle offense, Manning completed three passes for 54 yards on the ensuing possession before Addai scored on a seven-yard touchdown to give Indianapolis the lead again.

After a Houston punt, the Colts' offensive line began to assert itself, paving the way for 42 rushing yards on six carries on the series, which ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Harrison.

Trailing 30-20 early in the fourth quarter, the Texans stuck to the run game behind Slaton, who picked up 29 yards on three carries. After two catches for 28 yards by wide receiver Andre Johnson, Walter made a nine-yard catch to the Colts' five-yard line to set up Green's two-yard touchdown run with 8:54 remaining in the game.

The Colts' offense kept up the pressure thanks to two catches by Wayne for 28 yards to help Indianapolis move inside Houston territory. On third-and-nine from the Houston 25, Harrison caught an eight-yard pass. Indianapolis challenged the spot of the ball, though, and the officials moved the spot forward a few inches and re-measured, giving the Colts a first down at the Houston 16.

With a third-and-seven situation at the two-minute warning, all the Colts needed was a first down to seal the win, but linebacker DeMeco Ryans pressured Manning on a blitz to force an incompletion. Vinatieri's 31-yard field goal made the score 33-27 with 1:52 left in the game.

It was on first-and-10 from the Houston 48 with 44 seconds on the game clock that Rosenfels committed his only turnover of the game.

Injury report

  • Running back Ryan Moats left the game in the first half with a left ankle injury. He did not return.
  • A number of other Texans players left the game with injuries but returned to action.
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