NFL Football

20
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Houston 0 10 3 7 20
Indianapolis 14 0 3 10 27
27
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 AM MST1:00 PM EST12:00 PM CT22:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00 , December 20, 2020
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana  Attendance: 9,992

Texans-Colts Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts

  1. Each of the last 13 games between the Texans and Colts have been decided by single digits, the longest such streak of any matchup in NFL history. The Colts have won three of the last four including Week 11 this year, 26-20, as the teams combined for 44 points in the 1st half but just two points in the 2nd half.
  2. The Texans fell at the Bears last week, 36-7, their largest loss of the season. They failed to generate a takeaway for the ninth time this season, most of any team (1-8 record in those games). They have forced zero turnovers in nine of their last 10 halves of football.
  3. The Colts won at Las Vegas last week, 44-27, racking up 456 yards of offense with no turnovers. It was their second game this season with at least two passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns and an interception return touchdown -- the rest of the NFL has combined for two such games.
  4. Last week, Deshaun Watson reached 25 passing touchdowns for the third straight year. The only other Texans QB with even one season with 25 pass TD was Matt Schaub in 2009 (29).
  5. Jonathan Taylor rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders, the fourth Colts rookie all-time with 150+ rush yards and 2+ rush TD in a game. He is the first Colts player to do so, rookie or not, since Joseph Addai on November 26, 2006 at Philadelphia.
  6. After ranking third in the NFL in total rush yards allowed in 2018, the Texans have slipped to 31st this season, allowing 152.3 rush yards per game. The Colts have rushed for at least 100 yards in six of their last seven games including a season-high 212 last week against the Raiders.
Team Comparison

Houston
 
Indianapolis
22.7 Points 28.6
289.3 Pass Yds 271.1
86.2 Rush Yds 113.0
8 Takeaways 22
(AP Photo/David Becker)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Philip Rivers has settled nicely into his new home.

He's completing passes, avoiding turnovers and developing a rapport with four-time Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton. The wins are adding up, too, and a few more could put Rivers and the Indianapolis Colts back in the playoffs.

So, naturally, the 39-year-old Rivers sees Sunday's AFC South showdown with Houston as another chance to show everyone he's still got it.

"To be in December and to have a chance and to be playing meaningful football, I don't know if that was the expectation but that was certainly the hope and the desire," Rivers said, explaining why he signed with Indy in March. "Here we are."

The Colts (9-4) are tied with Tennessee for the AFC South lead, but the Titans hold the tiebreaker because of current division records. Indy also is tied with Cleveland for the top wild-card spot but the Browns hold the tiebreaker based on their October win over the Colts. Indianapolis leads Miami and Baltimore by one game and Las Vegas by two.

For the 39-year-old Rivers, this is familiar territory - making a playoff push and a potential Super Bowl run. But the Texans (4-9) understand something else: Indy might be playing its best football, as they learned two weeks ago in Houston. The Colts have won two straight and four of six, while the Texans' lackluster performance last week against Chicago creates concern for interim coach Romeo Crennel.

"They're playing for the division lead, so they'll bring all of their guns into this game and they'll be ready to go," he said. "As far as the way that we will respond, I hope we will respond like we did two weeks ago and play a tremendous game."

Rivers has been hot, too. In the last eight games, he has thrown four interceptions and 16 TD passes, including four straight games with at least two scores. If he gets three more in his 238th consecutive start, he would tie Hall of Famer Dan Marino (420) for fifth on the league's career list for TD passes.

And Rivers has plenty of help around him.

Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor has rushed for 90 or more yards in four consecutive games and Hilton has three straight games with 80 yards receiving, including an eight-reception, 110-yard, one TD performance at Houston.

To Rivers, it's no surprise.

"We're on a mission and we have our mindset and goals for what we want to accomplish," he said. "It's what we've been hired to do for lack of a better word. But it's the people (in the locker room) that make it special."

PROTECTING WATSON

Houston's offensive line has struggled all season, especially the last two weeks.

After giving up five sacks to the Colts, Chicago had six last week. Deshaun Watson has gone down 39 times, third most in the NFL, and each of the last two opponents have recorded a safety.

"I'm definitely concerned about that because one, you don't want to give up sacks," Crennel said. "You talk about your quarterback getting beat up - you don't want that to happen. Everybody is involved, but most of it is on the offensive line because they're the ones who are tasked with the responsibility to protect the quarterback."

SAFETY VALVE

When the teams last met, Colts defensive end Justin Houston made three sacks and got the fourth safety of his career to tie a league record.

Houston, the 2014 NFL sacks champ, begins this week needing three sacks for 100 in his career. And if another safety would not only give him the all-time record, it would also give him a record-breaking third this season. Nineteen players have two in one season.

Watson won't make it easy, though.

"He's pretty special," defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus said. "We just have to stay after him, do some different things with games and stunts, and maybe bring some more pressures.

GROUNDED

RB David Johnson returned to practice this week and is expected to play after missing the Bears game because he was deemed a "close contact" with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Johnson was acquired in the DeAndre Hopkins trade and has struggled in his first season with the Texans.

Johnson missed three games with a concussion and has 452 yards rushing on a team running for a league-low 86.2 yards per game. As a result, the Texans have had to rely more on Watson.

"We know what he's capable of and we've had success throwing the ball and not as much success running the ball," Crennel said. "Sometimes when you're doing something you feel is successful, you keep doing it."

---

AP Sports Writer Kristie Rieken contributed to this report.

---

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Updated December 17, 2020

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2021 by STATS PERFORM.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS PERFROM is strictly prohibited.