INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Looking to get one step closer to the franchise's first winning season, the Houston Texans are now hoping to break even for the year.
The Texans were routed 38-15 on Sunday by the Indianapolis Colts, dropping the team to 7-8. A victory would have given Houston a franchise record eighth victory and a chance to play next week for a winning record.
“We were dominated,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “We had been playing some pretty good football, and we came in here expecting to continue to play well. We got outplayed, outcoached. We got our butts kicked big time.”
Darius Walker, an undrafted rookie running back who made his second consecutive start on Sunday, said the team is still looking to get that franchise record eighth victory.
“I think that’s our focus now, trying to finish up the season 8-8 and go from there,” said Walker.
After an impressive opening drive capped by Sage Rosenfels’ 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kevin Walter, Houston fell apart.
“We came out very fast, like we wanted to, but we just couldn’t keep it going,” Walker said.
Rosenfels was 22-of-36 for 233 yards and three interceptions, including one in the Colts’ end zone.
Rosenfels closed out the scoring with a 6-yard TD pass to Andre Johnson with 1:07 left.
“Every chance we had to come back in this game, we blew it,” said Texans right tackle Eric Winston. “There’s no excuses. They played better than us. They played harder than us.”
The result had little significance to the Colts (13-2), who had already clinched their fifth straight AFC South title, the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. Instead, Indy was more concerned about working out kinks before it starts defense of its Super Bowl title.
Did they ever.
The Colts had a season-high 458 yards, tied the second-most first downs in a game in franchise history with 33 and three running backs helped produce Indy’s first 100-yard rushing day since Thanksgiving night.
All that was accomplished without perennial Pro Bowl receiver Marvin Harrison, who was out for the ninth straight game, and with most of the starters pulled after three quarters.
“I think it says a lot about guys taking their jobs seriously and being professional by coming out and getting a win today,” Peyton Manning said.
Manning was his typical self, finishing 28-of-35 for 311 yards with three TDs and a rating of 132.3. Joseph Addai, Kenton Keith and Clifton Dawson finally got the Colts’ sagging ground game back in sync. Indy ran 31 times for 120 yards, its highest total since Oct. 28.
Reggie Wayne caught 10 passes for 143 yards, and Dallas Clark broke two franchise records. With six catches, two for TDs, Clark surpassed John Mackey’s single-season marks for tight ends in both categories. Clark has 57 catches and 11 TDs. Mackey’s bests were 55 receptions and nine TDs.
It wasn’t just the Colts offense dominating, either.
Bob Sanders, Matt Giordano and Melvin Bullitt all had interceptions. The Colts defense, playing for the second straight week without any of this season’s projected starters on the defensive line, allowed Houston to drive as deep as the Colts 40 only once the first three quarters.
There were some flaws for the Colts, however.
They lost tight end Ben Utecht with a shoulder injury and receiver Anthony Gonzalez with a bruised foot in the first half. Defensive back Tim Jennings also left in the final minute of the game with an undisclosed injury. None of the three returned, and coach Tony Dungy had no immediate updates.
Addai played sparingly after the first quarter when he reportedly sustained back and shoulder injuries. The report was later denied by Colts spokesman Craig Kelley who said Addai was out because of a coach’s decision.
After the game, Dungy said Addai and Gonzalez could have returned.
“Those guys are not nicked up too bad,” Dungy said.
Manning led the Colts on first-half drives of 54, 92, 92 and 26 yards setting up a short field goal, Addai’s 2-yard TD run and Clark’s TD receptions of 6 and 11 yards to make it 24-7 at the half.
Dawson scored on a 4-yard run to open the second half, and Manning threw a 27-yard TD pass to Wayne in the third quarter, prompting Dungy to pull most of his starters, a situation likely to be replayed next week against Tennessee.