Andrew Luck continued his comeback season on Saturday as the Indianapolis Colts cruised to their largest road victory in 23 years, defeating the Houston Texans 21-7 in the first AFC Wildcard game.
The Colts sprinted to a big lead at the NRG Stadium in Houston, scoring touchdowns on three of their opening four offensive possessions, with quarterback Luck throwing two touchdowns either side of a Marlon Mack two-yard scoring run. Playing on the road didn’t seem to bother the Colts at all.
Luck finished the game 19 of 32 passing for 222 yards, finding tight end Eric Ebron and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman in the endzone. His only blip on the night was a J.J. Watt tipped interception early in the second quarter.
The Texans were unable to get anywhere on offence and gave up big plays early on to fall behind.
In his playoff debut, Deshaun Watson faltered as he was sacked three times and hit a further eight in an overall disappointing playoff debut. He finished with 235 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception.
Houston went for it on fourth-and-4 from the Indianapolis 45 on their second possession and Watson was intercepted by Kenny Moore II. It was his first interception since he threw two against the Redskins back in November.
The Colts got to the 17-yard line after that before Watt deflected Luck’s pass and he was intercepted by Brandon Dunn. But the Texans couldn’t move the ball and had to punt.
The Colts increased the lead to 21-0 when Luck connected with Dontrelle Inman on an 18-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
The Texans had a fourth-and-1 from the 9-yard line late in the second quarter and the team went for it again instead of settling for a field goal. The gamble ended up not paying off for the Texans when Watson’s pass to DeAndre Hopkins was low and bounced in front of him in the end zone.
The Texans didn’t put any score on the board until rookie Keke Coutee grabbed a 6-yard touchdown pass to cap a 16-play, 89-yard drive that included a fourth-down conversion that cut the deficit to 21-7 with 11 minutes left.
Winning means the Colts continue their impressive run by winning their fifth game in a row (and ten of the last eleven games) to advance to face top seed Kansas City Chiefs next week in the divisional round.