Texans lock up AFC South with 29-17 victory over Colts
“It’s not really that we bounced back,” Foster said. “It’s that we played the football that we know we’re capable of playing. We feel we’re a team that if we play how we know we can … it’s going to be hard for us to get beat.”
Watt increased his AFC-leading sack total to 19 ½ — the NFL record for a season is 22 ½ — and finished with 10 tackles. He also forced a fumble for the third straight game.
“I don’t even know the stats,” Houston coach Gary Kubiak said. “But it seemed like every time I looked up, he was making a play.”
Luck was sacked five times playing behind a makeshift offensive line missing center Samson Satele (ankle) and right tackle Winston Justice (biceps).
Johnson, who has 11,008 yards receiving in his career, scored on a 3-yard reception to make it 10-0 in the first quarter. The Texans didn’t score a touchdown on offense after that, but were helped by Braman’s special teams effort.
Braman blocked his second punt of the season, recovered it and returned it 8 yards for his first career touchdown to make it 20-3 just before halftime.
Vick Ballard had 60 yards rushing on a Colts drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown reception by Dwayne Allen to cut Houston’s lead to 23-17 in the third quarter. Ballard finished with a career-high 105 yards rushing.
Houston couldn’t do anything on its next drive and punted. But Indy sputtered, and interim coach Bruce Arians even drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on a punt, giving Houston the ball at the Colts 39.
Graham added a 46-yard field goal to push the lead to 26-17 and made his fifth field goal with about a minute left.
Rookie T.Y. Hilton and Luck connected on a 61-yard touchdown pass just before halftime.
Watt’s forced fumble on Mewelde Moore on the Houston 1 was recovered by Tim Dobbins early in the second quarter, robbing the Colts of points. And the Colts stalled inside the red zone again and had to settle for Adam Vinatieri’s 26-yard field goal to cut Houston’s lead to 10-3.
The Texans had set the tone as they got to Luck early, sacking him twice on the Colts’ second drive. Antonio Smith got to him first, and Watt put a move on backup tackle Jeff Linkenbach and took him down for a 15-yard loss.
On offense, Johnson was dominant. He put Houston up 10-0 when he waltzed into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown reception. Johnson kept things going earlier in the drive when he caught a pass, lost it and then grabbed it again just before it touched the ground for a 10-yard gain on third-and-9.
NOTES: Luck needs 74 yards to break Cam Newton’s rookie yards passing record of 4,051 yards. … Dobbins has recovered four fumbles this season, a franchise record. … Braman’s two blocked punts this season are a single-season franchise record.