The first defacto NFL playoff game was certainly a good one.
The Houston Texans have advanced to the playoffs – the Indianapolis Colts’ season is over.
Houston took down Indy on the road, 23-19, to make the playoffs in C.J. Stroud’s rookie season and DeMeco Ryans’ first year as a head coach.
Down a touchdown with 6:20 to go, the Colts marched all the way inside the red zone, but on 4th and 1, Gardner Minshew threw a dumpoff to Tyler Goodson, who dropped a pass slightly behind him, turning the ball over on downs.
Jonathan Taylor wasn’t on the field for the season, despite having 188 rushing yards on 30 carries.
Houston took a safety with a second left to make it a 23-19 game – the Colts’ miracle lateral play off the free kick was unsuccessful.
On the Texans’ first play from scrimmage, right after a Colts field goal, Stroud found Nico Collins for a 75-yard touchdown. Both teams then combined for seven straight punts before Houston scored again – this time, it was Andrew Beck on a one-yarder.
Indy kicked a field goal just before the half ended to make it 14-6, and then on their first drive in the second half, Jonathan Taylor bolted for a 49-yard rushing touchdown. Down two, the Colts went for the tie and got it on a pass to Mo Allie-Cox.
The Colts forced another punt, but Matt Gay’s 57-yard field goal doinked off the upright – Houston responded with Ka’imi Fairbairn drilling a 51-yarder late in the third quarter to give the Texans a 17-14 lead.
Gay got redemption with a field goal in the beginning of the fourth quarter to tie the game, but the Texans marched down the field in response, and Devin Singletary scored from three yards out with 6:20 – but Fairbairn missed the extra point, so Houston was up, 23-17.
But thankfully for them, the crisis was averted.
Collins picked a good time for the best game of his career – he tied a career-high with nine catches (a mark he set last month) and had 195 yards (he had 191 yards in that same December game).
It’s Houston’s first playoff berth since 2019 after their 10-7 season – they will clinch the AFC South if the Jacksonville Jaguars lose on Sunday. The Colts finish the year 9-8, but with a bright future, as Anthony Richardson will return under center.
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