With the tip situation in the AFC South on the line, the Houston Texans (7-4) came from in the support of to knock off the rival Indianapolis Colts (6-5), 20-17, at home to kick off Week 12. Right here is what we learned from Houston’s victory:
1. Houston’s offense, which regarded rudderless last week in Baltimore, used to be propelled on Thursday night by the deep ball. Or no longer it’s no twist of fate that this coincided with the return of Will Fuller to the Texans’ lineup after four weeks away. Recovered from a bum hamstring, Fuller led Houston in receiving with 140 yards, 95 of which came on two deep passes from Deshaun Watson in the third quarter. Neither of them, one on Marvell Uncover, the diversified on Kenny Moore, led straight away to Houston touchdowns; the Texans cashed in on the second reception with a Ka’imi Fairbairn self-discipline goal. Nonetheless those performs proved to Houston that it’ll also take a look at and beat Indianapolis deep. So the Texans did so all but again, subsequent sending DeAndre Hopkins (94 yards, 2 TDs) one-on-one down the left sideline in opposition to Pierre Desir for a 30-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. It’d be the sport-winning ranking, and the one most indicative of Houston’s personality, or what it hopes to be down the stretch. Three of Watson’s four longest completions of his career (49.3, 49.5 and 59.4 yards of air distance) came in Thursday night’s snatch, per Subsequent Gen Stats. Houston, we non-public now a liftoff.
2. The absence of Marlon Mack (out with a fractured hand) and the return of T.Y. Hilton from a calf strain gave the affect to indicate ahead of Thursday’s clash that Indianapolis would air it out, particularly in opposition to a secondary lacking Bradley Roby and Justin Reid. Nonetheless the Colts had diversified plans. Indy opted for a ground-and-pound skill, by no formula swaying from its approach to hammer fourth-twelve months support Jonathan Williams into Houston’s entrance seven. And it labored, for many of the night. Williams done along with his second straight (and second career) 100-yard game, carrying the ball a career-excessive 26 situations, the second-most of any Colts RB this season. Nyheim Hines (51 yards) would spell Williams every so continually, bringing a prime burst to the Colts’ ground assault. Indianapolis used to be 9-for-15 on third-down conversions, in fragment because their third-down makes an try had been of fast distances, due to their efficient early-down ground game. So reliant on the trot used to be Indianapolis that the Colts done with 39 rushing makes an try to upright 25 passing makes an try.
Nonetheless in the second half, when the Colts had been up in opposition to it and main the massive play that the Texans had been playing, Jacoby Brissett and the passing game would possibly maybe maybe no longer gain it done. In his return, Hilton used to be on the self-discipline for upright 25 of a that it’s most likely you’ll maybe additionally imagine 65 performs, ceding snaps to the likes of Marcus Johnson and Chester Rogers. When he did approach on the self-discipline, Hilton used to be no longer efficient. The worn WR caught three passes on six targets for 18 yards, but dropped two third-down conversion makes an try in the second half. Unable to depend on his diversified trot-catchers, Brissett (129 yards) averaged upright 5.16 yards per strive and performed upright one trot previous 10 yards previous the line of scrimmage. The QB’s last-ditch trot on fourth-and-7 gradual in the fourth quarter came up one yard fast, and the Colts fell one game support of Houston in the AFC South.
3. That said, Indy used to be an early whistle a ways flung from maybe having but every other shot at tying or winning Thursday’s game. On second down with 1:48 closing, Watson sped on a designed jog to his appropriate for six yards old to he used to be met by note linebacker Darius Leonard. The Colts All-Professional compelled Watson to lose withhold an eye on of the soccer old to the Texans QB used to be taken to the bottom and a scrum ensued. The officiating crew ruled hasty that Watson recovered the ball and the play failed to trot to a booth overview, despite replay of the QB clearly fumbling the ball hitting the airwaves. The NFL’s officiating Twitter memoir said this used to be because “there used to be no sure visual proof of a restoration by the protection.” Alternatively, Leonard instructed reporters after the sport that Watson acknowledged he misplaced the ball and that the linebacker had it. One more top-time game, but every other referee-linked row.
4. Thursday night marked Vernon Hargreaves’ first game in Houston since being waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The fourth-twelve months corner played fifty three defensive snaps in his Texans debut, filling in for Roby alongside Johnathan Joseph and Gareon Conley. Hargreaves racked up 5 tackles — although he admitted after the sport he neglected a number of he should always non-public made — and a trot defensed. Cut by Tampa Bay for no longer hustling, Hargreaves appears to be to non-public made a fast affect on his coach and teammates. “Significant games, that is something I have not been a fragment of that in a prolonged time,” he instructed the Houston Narrative after the snatch. Extra play admire that on Thursday night, and Hargreaves would possibly maybe be playing a extremely main role in principal games deep into January for the predominant time in his career.
5. The Texans’ victory over Indy on Thursday night used to be serious to their hopes of winning the AFC South or upright making the postseason. Unbiased a month earlier, Houston misplaced to the Colts in Indy and hasty surrendered the tiebreaker atop the division. With Thursday’s victory, Houston no longer has to scare about its head-to-head in opposition to the Colts, fully its divisional picture (3-1) had been the Texans to tie Indy (3-1) on the finish of the season. At 7-4, Houston is moreover one game sure of the Colts, two wins sure of the Titans and three wins sure of the Jaguars in the South. After subsequent week’s game in opposition to the hated New England Patriots, Houston can even goal no longer play but every other team currently with a winning picture for the remainder of the season. Indy in the intervening time slinks out of the tip four and out of the playoff characterize, hasty, due to Thursday’s outcome. The 6-5 Colts moreover face upright but every other team with a winning picture (New Orleans on Monday night in Week 15) and two more division opponents. This division jog is a lot from over, but the Texans currently non-public the Colts by a nose.