The up-and-down Indianapolis Colts certainly didn't play like a potential Super Bowl contender in dropping a 27-24 road game to the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.
Kris Brown's 48-yard field goal with no time remaining on the clock was the difference-maker for Houston. It's the second time four weeks that the Colts lost on a last-second field goal on the road.
Despite a franchise-record fourth straight AFC South championship in its pocket, a No. 2 seed in the AFC playoff race in its lap and an opportunity to vie for a first-round playoff bye in front of them, the Colts slipped back into the mistake-prone, poor tackling team that managed to lose its fourth straight game on the road.
Quarterback Peyton Manning completed 21-of-27 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns while rookie running back Joseph Addai added 100 yards in 15 carries to pace an Indianapolis offense that simply didn't get enough chances to do its work.
The Texans, behind the 153-yard rushing performance of RB Ron Dayne, controlled the clock (35:39 to 24:01). Houston had 191 yards rushing as a team against the once-again leaky Colts' defense.
Now 11-4 for the year, Indianapolis has dropped four of its last six games heading into the final week of the regular season. The Colts will play host to the Miami Dolphins Sunday in a game that they absolutely need to win heading into the post-season.
"We didn't play well (against Houston) for whatever reason. We had a lot to play for coming into the game in terms of a first-round (playoff) bye and we were coming off a big win (against Cincinnati on Monday night). But we didn't do a good job of stopping them when we had the opportunities to do so and we didn't do enough to help ourselves," Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy said.
|Texans WR Andre Johnson is tackled by Colts safety Antoine Bethea (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)|
"To have an opportunity to have things in our control and then not do it was a disappointment for us," Colts defensive tackle Anthony "Booger" McFarland said. "We're in the playoffs, but we've got to play better than we played (against Houston). As far as that is concerned, that's kind of what we have to look at.
"Yeah, you'd like to be in a different position. But the bottom line, and I don't care where you play, what you play or who you play, you've got to play better than we did (against the Texans)."
Dungy had hoped to use this week's game with the Dolphins as an opportunity to get injured starters Bob Sanders and Dallas Clark back into a real-game routine as the Colts look ahead to the playoffs.
But now, that plan may be on the backburner. Getting into some kind of positive routine in terms of a wins heading into the postseason is the primary objective now.
"We need to come out and play well," the Colts coach said. "We need to come out and play better than we have been. That's the key for us right now."
--QB Peyton Manning went over the 4,000 yard passing mark in a season for the seventh time in his career. He now holds the NFL record for the most seasons with 4,000 or more yards passing. Manning has 4,115 career passing yards.
--WR Marvin Harrison has caught 90 catches for 1,292 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Harrison had eight catches for 112 yards and a pair of touchdown catches against the Texans.
--RB Joseph Addai now has 1,017 yards rushing this season. It's the first time since his senior year that he rushed for over 1,000 yards. Addai had 100 yards in 15 carries against the Texans.
--Addai is the fifth player in franchise history to rush for over 1,000 yards as a rookie. He joins Edgerrin James, 1,553; Marshall Faulk, 1,282; and Dominic Rhodes, 1,104 on the list.
--WR Reggie Wayne had three catches for 27 yards against the Texans. Wayne now has 80 receptions for a career season-high 1,240 yards and nine touchdowns this season. It's his second season with 80 or more catches in a season and his third straight year with 70 or more receptions.
--WR Aaron Moorehead caught his first NFL touchdown catch with a nine-yard reception in the second quarter of the Houston game.
--OG Ryan Lilja suffered a right knee injury in the first quarter of the Houston game. He did not return. The extent of the injury was not immediately known.