HOUSTON (AP) _ The Houston Texans entered Sunday’s game without star receiver Andre Johnson.
By the end of their 30-24 loss to Indianapolis, they were without three more starters on offense and defensive tackle Cedric Killings was in a hospital after suffering a neck injury.
Joseph Addai ran for two touchdowns and Adam Vinatieri added three field goals to lead the Colts (3-0) to the win over Houston (2-1) to remain undefeated.
Johnson sprained his knee last week and running back Ahman Green injured his knee on the first series of the second quarter. Backup Ron Dayne was inactive because of bruised ribs, so the Texans had to rely on third-stringer Samkon Gado for the rest of the game.
Rookie Jacoby Jones, who started for Johnson, left in the third quarter with a separated shoulder, and center Steve McKinney left with a knee sprain in the fourth quarter.
Killings was taken off the field on a stretcher after a headfirst collision with Indianapolis receiver Roy Hall. The 310-pound Killings, playing special teams, hit Hall on a block as Jerome Mathis was returning a kickoff in the second quarter. The Texans said Killings suffered a neck injury and coach Gary Kubiak said he was moving his arms and legs and talking on the field.
“I’ve never really been a part of anything like that before,” receiver Kevin Walter said. “It seemed like guys were going down one right after another like flies. We just need to get healthy. We need to get Andre back and we need to get everyone back and we’ll be fine.”
Said Kubiak: “It was a tremendous effort on everybody’s part and we paid the price for it. We’re pretty beat up.”
Still, Houston got within 30-24 when Vonta Leach caught a 1-yard pass from Matt Schaub with 2:49 remaining in the game. The Texans got the ball back with 19 seconds left, but Schaub was sacked and time ran out.
“They played most of the game without their two best backs and then their best receiver and they continued to fight back,” said Colts coach Tony Dungy. “We just couldn’t get that right play to knock them out of things. But we made enough plays when we needed them.”
Houston cut the lead to 27-17 on a 1-yard run by Gado early in the fourth quarter. That score was set up by a 41-yard catch by Andre’ Davis. Vinatieri’s third field goal of the day had pushed the Colts’ lead to 30-17 in the third period.
Schaub was 27-of-33 for 236 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Houston finished with 40 yards rushing and Gado had 12 and a fumble.
“You want to establish the run,” Schaub said. “You look at the history of this league and the team that is able to establish and maintain the run throughout the game is usually going to win. For whatever reason, we weren’t able to do that today.”