The Washington Times-Herald

December 27, 2012

Colts/Texans Game Capsule

Tom James
Tribune Star Correspondent


The game -- Houston Texans (12-3, 5-0) at Indianapolis Colts (10-5, 3-2 AFC South), 1 p.m. (ET), Lucas Oil Stadium (FieldTurf), Indianapolis, IN.

Coverage -- CBS Sports (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf); Colts Radio Network (Bob Lamey, Will Wolford, Kevin Lee); Sirius NFL Radio (Channel 85, Colts; Channel 128, Texans); XM NFL Radio (Channel 230, Colts); Dial Global Radio Sports (Tom McCarthy, Tony Boselli, Scott Graham).

The coaches -- Colts: Chuck Pagano (10-5, 1st year with Indianapolis). Texans: Gary Kubiak (59-52, 7th year with Houston).

The series -- 22nd regular-season meeting. Colts lead series, 17-4. Indianapolis is 10-0 against the Texans in home games. The Colts are 7-4 against Houston in games played at Reliant Stadium. Indianapolis has posted victories in eight of the last 11 and four of the last seven meetings. The Texans, however, have won the last three matchups played at Reliant Stadium (9/12/10, 34-24; 9/11/11, 34-7; 12/16/12, 29-17). The Colts have not won at Reliant Stadium since 11/29/09 (35-27). Two of Indianapolis' four series losses have been by 10 or fewer points (12/24/06, 27-24; 9/12/10, 34-24). Indianapolis and Houston split their home-and-home season series last year, the Texans winning 34-7 at Reliant Stadium in the 2011 regular-season opener and the Colts registering a 19-16 victory on 12/22/11. Indianapolis won last year's game at home when former Colts QB Dan Orlovsky threw a 1-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Wayne with 19 seconds in the game to complete the come-from-behind victory. The Colts lost this year's first meeting 29-17 as Texans QB Matt Schaub completed 23-of-31 passes for 261 yards and a TD. WR Andre Johnson had 11 catches for 151 yards and a TD. RB Arian Foster netted 165 yards on 27 carries. DE J.J. Watt was unblockable for the Texans (10 tackles, three sacks, six tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries and a forced fumble). Rookie RB Vick Ballard had his first career 100-yard rushing game vs. the Texans (105 yards in 18 carries) for Indianapolis. Rookie QB Andrew Luck completed 13-of-27 passes for 186 yards and two TDs in the loss.

Notes – With last week's 20-13 win at Kansas City, the Colts (10-5) have clinched the fifth seed in the upcoming AFC playoffs...Indianapolis has earned trips to the playoffs in 10 of the last 11 seasons...Should the Colts beat Houston on Sunday, Indianapolis will carry an 11-5 record into the postseason...Indianapolis has a 6-1 record at home this year...Since 2008, Indianapolis has posted a 13-1 record against division opponents the second time they play them in a season. That marks tops the NFL over the past five seasons. The only loss for the Colts came last year against Jacksonville...Indianapolis notched its 12th 10 or more win season in the past 14 years, which is the most of any NFL teams since 1999...The Colts have posted a 150-73 record (.673) since 1999, which ranks second behind New England...Indianapolis has returned four interceptions for touchdowns this season, which is tied for the most in a season in franchise history (1959, 1965, 1968, 1975, 1996, 2012)...Rookie QB Andrew Luck has completed 325-of-599 passes for 4,183 yards, 21 touchdowns and 18 interceptions so far this season...Luck broke the NFL record for passing yards by a rookie quarterback last week against Kansas City. The previous mark was 4,051 yards, which was set last year by Carolina's Cam Newton...Luck needs two completions to pass Peyton Manning's (326) franchise mark for the most completions by a rookie quarterback...Luck needs one passing touchdown to pass Cam Newton (21) for the third-most by a rookie in NFL history...Luck needs two passing TDs to pass Charlie Conerly (22) for the second-most by a rookie in NFL history...WR Reggie Wayne has caught 120 passes for 1,537 yards and 12 TDs in 21 career games with the Texans...Wayne needs one touchdown reception to tie Harold Carmichael and Charley Taylor (79) for 22nd in NFL history...Wayne needs 67 receiving yards to pass Steve Largent (13,089) for 13th place in league history...Wayne needs 185 receiving yards to reach 1,500 for the second time in his career with the Colts...Wayne will pass David Lee (188) for eighth-place in the franchise games-played list on Sunday...If Wayne leads the Colts in receptions this season, he would tie Marvin Harrison (6) for the most consecutive seasons leading the team...OLB Robert Mathis has 15.5 career sacks in 18 career games with Houston. Mathis also has nine forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and two passes broken up against the Texans...OLB Dwight Freeney has recorded 16.5 career sacks in 19 games with the Texans. Freeney also has four forced fumbles and three pass broken up against Houston...PK Adam Vinatieri has connected on 25-of-30 career field goal attempts against the Texans. Vinatieri has a series-best 48-yard field goal vs. Houston.

Did you know? – 40. That's the total number of times rookie QB Andrew Luck has been sacked so far this season.

Stat of the week -- With their 10th win of the season last week at Kansas City, the Colts became the second team in NFL history to win 10 or more games after losing 14 or more the previous season.

The game plan -- The Colts continue to get off to sluggish starts in games. But Indianapolis will be at home this week, where the Colts have played well this season.

Offensively, be more balanced with the run. The Colts had some success at running the football at Houston two weeks ago.

Improve on that. And don't turn the ball over. Play smart and don't let the blocking technique falter. And, above all, don't settle for three points. Punch the ball into the end zone.

Defensively, come up with turnovers and be aggressive. Limit big plays. Don't allow big plays to turn into touchdowns. Force field goals.

Key matchups -- Colts offensive line vs. Texans DE J.J. Watt. Indianapolis, like most of the NFL, had trouble coming up with a good game plan to limit the damage that Watt can come up with. He hd a league-leading 20 sacks this season and is the prohibitive favorite to be the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year.

Texans WR Andre Johnson vs. Colts pass defense. Johnson is a match-up nightmare for any team, including Indianapolis. His combination of size, speed, and athletic ability make Johnson one of the NFL's premier receivers. It will take a group effort to keep him contained as much as possible.

Colts OLBs Dwight Freeney/Robert Mathis vs. Texans QB Matt Schaub. Freeney and Mathis have had success against Houston's offensive line in the past. Schaub is somewhat mobile in the pocket but is sackable.