Andrew Luck Leads the Colts to a Wild-Card Win Over the Texans
HOUSTON — A yr in the past presently, Andrew Luck used to be at house suffering with an injured shoulder that price him the whole season.
On Saturday, he wrote a satisfied finishing to the newest bankruptcy of his comeback season, throwing for 222 yards and two touchdowns as the Indianapolis Colts raced out to a giant first-half lead, then cruised to a 21-7 win over the Houston Texans in the A.F.C. wild-card recreation.
Luck placed on a display in his place of birth, in a stadium the place he had attended video games right through youth and performed in since highschool, throwing for 191 yards and two touchdowns earlier than halftime to assist the Colts (11-6) construct a 21-Zero lead.
He denied feeling “at home” at NRG Stadium however admitted to having heat emotions for the town he grew up in, the place his grandparents and lots of pals nonetheless live.
“But it’s still an away stadium,” he mentioned. “It was very loud, very energetic, but fun to win, certainly.”
Running again Marlon Mack had 148 yards and a landing for Indianapolis, which advances to face the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional spherical subsequent weekend.
“We know we have an elite quarterback, and we can throw it for 400 and win when we have to,” Indianapolis Coach Frank Reich mentioned. “But the margin for error in playoff football when you try to do it that way is very thin. When you can win like this — running the football and stopping it — that’s just everything.”
Houston (11-6), which overcame a Zero-Three get started to win the A.F.C. South, gave up too many giant performs and couldn’t get anything else happening offense in the first half of, falling into a massive hollow.
Deshaun Watson, who used to be sacked an N.F.L.-leading 62 occasions in the common season, used to be sacked 3 times and hit 8 extra in a disappointing playoff debut. He completed with 235 yards passing, a landing and an interception.
“Just a lack of execution on our part,” Watson mentioned. “We didn’t make plays. I didn’t make plays. Communication was a little off. You just got to give the Colts the credit.”
The Colts, who opened the season 1-Five, endured an outstanding run by way of profitable for the 10th time in 11 video games. Saturday used to be their first playoff look since the A.F.C. championship recreation loss at New England at the finish of the 2014 season — the so-called “Deflategate” recreation.
Luck performed some other excellent recreation in a ideally suited season. He threw for Four,593 yards and 39 touchdowns in the common season after lacking all of 2017 with a shoulder damage.
The Texans didn’t ranking Saturday till rookie Keke Coutee grabbed a 6-yard landing go to cap a 16-play, 89-yard power that incorporated a fourth-down conversion. That ranking minimize it to 21-7 with about 11 mins left.
Houston led the N.F.L. with 9 comeback wins this season, however their try at a rally ended on their subsequent ownership. Watson’s go on fourth-and-10 from the Indianapolis 24 fell brief with about 4 mins left.
Luck threw for 863 yards with six touchdowns as the groups cut up two conferences in the common season. He picked up proper the place he left off on this one, when he discovered Eric Ebron on a 6-yard landing go on the Colts’ first power. That play used to be arrange by way of a 38-yard catch by way of T. Y. Hilton, who had 63 yards receiving on that power.
Hilton didn’t have any catches on the subsequent power, however the Colts nonetheless drove down the box simply and made it 14-Zero on a 2-yard run by way of Mack later in the first.
Houston went for it on fourth-and-Four from the Indianapolis 45 on its 2nd ownership, and Watson used to be intercepted by way of Kenny Moore II. It used to be Watson’s first interception since he threw two towards the Redskins on Nov. 18.
The Colts were given to the 17 after that, earlier than J.J. Watt deflected Luck’s go and he used to be intercepted by way of Brandon Dunn. But the Texans couldn’t transfer the ball and had to punt.
Indianapolis driven the lead to 21-Zero when Luck hooked up with Dontrelle Inman on an 18-yard landing go in the 2nd quarter.
“It’s very frustrating when they’re able to execute and get their job done,” Watt mentioned. “We had a couple of big penalties early in the game, as well. But you have to overcome it, and you have to find a way to win.”