Luck, as usual, had a big hand in the victory. He was 14 of 28 for 191 yards with two more touchdowns and no interceptions.
He wasn’t alone, though.
Karim swung the game with the kickoff return just seconds after the Texans took their only lead, and when Luck converted on third-and-23 with the 70-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter, the crowd was in a frenzy.
The Colts (11-5) will play at Baltimore in the wild-card round next weekend. The slumping Texans (12-4) have lost three of their last four.
“We had a great opportunity the last two weeks, but we won’t feel sorry for ourselves,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said after giving Pagano a hug after the game. “We’ll focus on keeping our confidence up, even if we have to play next week.”
Indy did everything it needed to Sunday.
The Colts prevented J.J. Watt from getting too close to Luck - or any closer to Michael Strahan’s NFL sacks record (221/2). Watt finished with 201/2.
“We didn’t win, so I could care less about the record. It’s about winning,” Watt said.
Luck broke Peyton Manning’s franchise record for completions by a rookie but fell 15 short of Sam Bradford’s NFL mark. Luck also moved into third all-time among rookies with 22 TD passes.
And Indy completed the second greatest turnaround in league history — winning nine more games than it did in 2011.
“Man, this has been a great year, a storybook ending,” Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne said. “Let’s keep it going. Hopefully we can continue to write this movie.”
Houston’s Andre Johnson caught 12 passes for 141 yards and became the second player in league history with three seasons of 100 or more catches and 1,500 or more yards.