Week 12 of the 2019 NFL Season began on Thursday Night, with a critical game in the AFC South. The Colts visit the Texans with both teams entering the matchup with records of 6-4, with the Colts winning the first meeting and holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The Texans are coming off two non competitive games, a 26-3 home win against the Jaguars, and in their last game, a 41-7 blowout loss in a disappointing trip to Baltimore.
The Colts ended their two game skid last week when they had a home win against Jacksonville of their own, by a score of 33-13.
The prize for Tonight’s showcase game is simple: First place in the AFC South.
Week 12’s first game started slow with three straight punts before the Texans got on the board first with a 35 yard field goal for a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter. After Indianapolis punted it away for the third time on three drives, Texans QB DeShaun Watson threw an interception on the first play of the drive and the Colts took over at the Houston 41.
Trailing 3-0 but with momentum and a short field to work with, the Colts took advantage of the turnover as QB Jacoby Brissett took it in himself from five yards out to give Indianapolis a 7-3 lead. That lead was short lived as Houston scored in just over two and a half minutes as WR Deandre Hopkins hauled in a long 35 yard touchdown. The Colts then used every second of the remaining one minute and fifty three seconds in the first half and the 46-year old veteran Adam Vinatieri knocked through a 36 yard field goal to get it all even at 10-10 after thirty minutes.
The Houston offense looked good when they had the ball to open the second half, getting to the Colts 34 line before being faced with a 4th down and 3 which resulted in an incomplete pass which turned it over on downs and the Colts got the ball back. Nyheim Hines was instrumental on the next Indianapolis drive, as he had five straight carries before Johnathan Williams had the scoring touch with a 13 yard rushing touchdown that resulted in the biggest lead of the game for either team - 7 points, a margin of 17 to 10.
Houston’s next drive, trailing 10 to 17, began with a huge play as DeShaun Watson found the speedy Will Fuller for 51 yards, all the way down to the Colts 24 yard line. Carlos Hyde carried it for no gain, Watson was sacked for a 1 yard loss, then on third and 12 watson checked down to Johnson for a 8 yard gain which brought up fourth down and 4, The Texans opted to kick it and Fairbairn made it from 36 yards to cut the deficit to 13 to 17.
Indianapolis went three-and-out but still had the four point lead late in the third quarter. A great punt by Rigoberto Sanchez had the Texans backed up, starting at their own 14 yard line. Facing a long field and trailing 13-17, Watson got 11 yards on second down with DeAndre Hopkins for a first down. Right after the quarter break, Carlos Hyde broke up a huge 33 yard run into Colts territory, and suddenly it was the Texans applying the pressure, not the other way around. Watson found Hopkins on a deep 30 yard pass for the go-ahead touchdown and the Texans had a 20-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.
The game ended in controversy however, as it seems a fumble call was missed which would've given the colts an extra possession at the end of the game, and the Texans went on to win 20-17 and take control of the AFC South.
The Colts fall to 6-5 and are right on the edge of the AFC playoff picture.
Houston improves to 7-4 and leads the AFC South by one game over Indianapolis. Coming into the season after the news of Colts QB Andrew Luck’s sudden and shocking retirement, the consensus among experts was that Houston would win the division. The Colts were expected to be nowhere near the playoffs without Andrew Luck. But so far the colts have put up a legitimate fight, and the Titans are close behind as well. There’s still a long way to go in the season but the Texans have taken a huge step towards what could potentially be their second consevutive AFC South division title.