Texans take care of Colts to win division

Texans take care of Colts to win division
December 16, 2012, 3:45 pm
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Bradie James: 'We had to get back to the basics'

The Texans are AFC South champions for the second consecutive season.

After jumping out to an early lead, the Texans were able to hold on to beat the Colts 29-17 on Sunday afternoon at Reliant Stadium. With the win, the Texans improve to 12-2. The Colts fall to 9-5.

While the Texans had already earned a playoff berth, they clinched the division with the win on Sunday. The Colts aren’t in the playoff yet but can earn a spot with a win in one of their two remaining games.

After the Colts pulled within six points, the Texans’ defense forced a huge three-and-out early in the fourth quarter. The Texans kicked another field goal on the ensuing drive to put the game out of reach.

The Texans jumped out to an early 10-0 lead and were able to continue to build and kill enough time in the second half to walk away with a much-needed win after an embarrassing loss to the Patriots on Monday Night Football less than a week ago.

The turning point
With the Colts down six points, they got the ball on their own eight-yard line after a nice punt from Donnie Jones. On the first play, Vick Ballard rushed for no gain. On the second play, J.J. Watt tackled Ballard in the backfield for a loss. And on third down, Kareem Jackson had a nice breakup on a pass intended for T.Y. Hilton.

What it means
Sure, the Texans won the division, but they still have plenty of work to do. Since Denver won on Sunday, the Texans weren’t able to earn a first-round bye. There will be plenty to play for next week when the Texans host the Vikings.

Offensive hero
Andre Johnson surpassed the 100-yard mark for the fifth time this season and he did it in the first half. He finished with 11 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown. He also became the third-fastest player in NFL history to surpass the 11,000-yards receiving mark.

For the Colts, running back Vick Ballard rushed for a career-high 105 yards. He ran for 60 yards on five carries in the Colts’ scoring drive in the third quarter that made the score 23-17.

Offensive zero
Filling in for tackle Winston Justice, Jeff Linkenbach had no answers for J.J. Watt. None. But it wasn’t just Linkenbach, no one had any luck against Watt.  

Defensive hero
The Colts couldn’t stop J.J. Watt. They didn’t even come close. He had three sacks and a forced fumble in the first half alone. He finished with two sacks, a forced fumble and four tackles for loss in the run game.   

Defensive zero
Safety Quintin Demps dropped an easy interception and then let rookie Hilston cruise past him for a 61-yard touchdown to pull the Colts closer toward the end of the second quarter.

Key stat
The Texans’ defense held the Colts to 1-of-7 on third-down conversions and the Colts were 0-for-6 to start the game.

Did you know?
When Bryan Braman blocked a punt in the second quarter, he set the new franchise mark with two. He also had a blocked punt against the Packers. In Sunday’s game, he scored his first NFL touchdown when he scooped up the punt block and took it to the house.

Who's next?
The Texans take on the Vikings next week and then go on the road to face the Colts once again in Week 16.

Next week’s matchup will feature running back Adrian Peterson, who has rushed for 100 yards in each of his past eight games and is starting to gain some MVP steam.