HOUSTON – This race for the
But with beauty in the eye of the beholder, the
The Texans rallied from a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit to stun the Indianapolis Colts 26-23 in overtime on Sunday night to hang onto first place.
Nick Novak’s 33-yard field goal, with 6:50 elapsed in overtime, capped the comeback.
The Texans (4-2) flirted with losing the division lead to the Colts (2-4), but found a way behind a huge night from Lamar Miller, who rushed for 149 yards and a big-play defense that put the clamps on Andrew Luck when it mattered most. Then there was much-maligned quarterback Brock Osweiler, who shook off a crucial interception to deliver at the finish.
While the defense is forced to proceed without star defensive end J.J. Watt, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year lost for the season due to a second back surgery, Osweiler has struggled to spark the offense.
Houston invested $72 million into a six-year contract to land Osweiler in a free agent move from Denver, with the hopes that he would get them over the hump to become a legitimate contender.
Yet for much of Sunday night, he was shaky. His third-quarter interception nearly doomed the Texans, and extended his dubious string of throwing a pick in each game this season.
Two plays after Osweiler underthrew DeAndre Hopkins on a pass over the middle, picked by Vontae Davis, Luck scampered 12 yards into the end zone for the touchdown that extended Indianapolis’ lead to 20-9.
The Texans, however, came to life in the fourth quarter and Osweiler made amends. Lamar Miller, another of the Texans’ new additions, had a scintillating 10-yard TD reception that made it a one-score game. After the defense forced a three-and-out, Osweiler found his rhythm by connecting on three consecutive passes – capped by a 26-yard scoring strike to C.J. Fiedorowicz with 49 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
In overtime, the Texans forced a punt after Benardrick McKinney’s third-down sack of Luck. Then Osweiler provided the big throw – a 36-yard laser strike to Jaelen Strong – that set up Novak’s winning kick.
It was ugly football. But at the moment, the gritty Texans have no choice but to accept it.
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