The Houston Texans couldn't complete the comeback, but at least they made a game out of it. Just when you thought we were heading to another Thursday night blowout, the Texans rallied from a 24-point deficit to pull within six points of the Colts in the fourth quarter, eventually falling, 33-28.
With less than two minutes on the board and the Texans driving, Ryan Fitzpatrick fumbled on a sack, handing the ball -- and the game -- to Indy.
A 45-yard scoop and score by J.J. Watt in the fourth quarter pulled the Texans to within five. It was Watt's third touchdown of the season. That play came shortly after Indy extended its lead with a big touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton late in the third quarter, threatening to stamp out the Texans' rally.
J.J. Watt Touchdown
After watching the Colts offense storm out of the gates to a 24-0 first quarter lead, the Texans began climbing back with an Andre Johnson touchdown to start the second quarter. A pair of scoring runs by Arian Foster pulled them back to within 27-21 midway through the third quarter.
1) Andrew Luck is officially one of the league's elite quarterbacks.
Sure, Luck came into this season with a 4,000-yard season and a Pro Bowl selection already under his belt, but we were still waiting for him to take that next step in his evolution as a quarterback. We're no longer waiting.
Luck kept his torrid start to 2014 going against the Texans, increasing his league-leading touchdown mark with another three scores and his NFL high yardage total with 370 more yards. He showed off his pinpoint accuracy, downfield touch and mobility, frequently weaving around defenders in the pocket to deliver strikes downfield. Luck has now thrown for at least 300 yards in five of his six games this season.
2) T.Y. Hilton owns the Texans.
Houston should maybe think about covering Hilton, who now has 611 yards and six touchdowns in five career games against the Texans. The Colts wideout finished with 223 yards and a touchdown. His 33-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter was a critical response, breaking up a 21-3 run that had pulled the Texans to within six points. He put up similarly monster numbers in Houston last year, catching going for 127 yards and three scores in Week 9.
3) Don't count out Ryan Fitzpatrick just yet.
Fans in Houston came into Thursday night unhappy with their quarterback, who ranked 26th in the league in ESPN's total QBR and who had been unable to mount much in the way of a passing attack. The grumblings had become loud enough that Ian Rapoport reported this week that Houston would consider moving to Ryan Mallett if the team became mired in an extended losing streak.
At first glance, Fitzpatrick's 212 yards and one touchdown aren't all that impressive. But Fitzpatrick largely handled his business, taking what the defense gave him and, up until that final fumble, not making critical mistakes. He showed good rhythm with Johnson on timing passes, including a nice 4-yard touchdown connection to get the Texans on the board. He did all of this behind a shaky offensive line, which is mostly at fault for the slow start.
Fitzpatrick is not the ideal option, but he's the best option the Texans have right now. Don't expect to see Mallett suiting up for a start in the immediate future.