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(Sunday, September 12th)
Final Score: Houston 34, Indianapolis 24
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Arian Foster set a Texans franchise record with 231 rushing yards on 33 attempts, and Houston notched a rare victory over the defending AFC champion Colts, 34-24, at Reliant Stadium.
Foster scored three touchdowns and broke the single-game record for rushing yards against the Colts. The second-year Tennessee product appeared in just six games last year and nearly doubled his career rushing total after gaining 254 yards in 2009.
Matt Schaub threw for 107 yards and a touchdown with one interception on 9-of-17 passing for the Texans (1-0), who improved to just 2-15 all-time against the Colts. Andre Johnson caught only three passes for 33 yards, but Houston's top-ranked passing attack from a year ago wasn't needed with the emergence of its running back.
The Texans set a franchise record with 257 total rushing yards as a team.
"At halftime, we talked about the key to the game - who was going to be the more physical team," said Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. "Our offensive line, after that first series, (told me to) run the ball. That's what (we) did, and we did it well today."
Peyton Manning, the reigning league MVP for the fourth time, completed 40- of-57 passes for 433 yards and three touchdowns for the Colts (0-1), who have lost three consecutive regular season games and are coming off a loss to the Saints in the Super Bowl. Austin Collie set career-highs with 10 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown, while Reggie Wayne had seven receptions for 99 yards and a score.
Dallas Clark hauled in 11 balls for 80 yards and a touchdown in defeat, the Colts' first to Houston since December 24, 2006.
"There were a lot of areas where we just didn't execute," Clark said. "Give credit to them. They played well and didn't make many mistakes. There were too many uncharacteristically mistakes that we made that we usually don't make. There are things that are correctable, so that is a positive, but this is a hard way to start the year."
Houston's offense and defense both got off to a good start, scoring early and often to build a lead.
The Colts went three-and-out to begin the game, and Jacoby Jones returned Pat McAfee's punt 39 yards to the Indianapolis 31-yard line. The Texans drove down inside the 10 before settling for Neil Rackers' 30-yard field goal.
Manning and the Indianapolis offense sputtered once again on the next drive, and Houston got the ball back at its own 16. The first play of the series saw a 53-yard pass interference penalty, putting Houston as the Colts' 31, and Rackers added a 49-yard field goal for a 6-0 lead.
The visitors finally seemed to get going on their next drive, with the ball on the Houston 28. A holding penalty forced the Colts into a 3rd-and-13, and Manning appeared to have a wide open Anthony Gonzalez near the 10-yard line, but the receiver's left heel was out of bounds, forcing another punt.
The Texans then bridged the first and second quarters with their best drive of the first half, a seven-play, 80-yard march that ended on Schaub's 22-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Kevin Walter for a 13-point advantage two minutes into the second. The set ended with three consecutive plays of over 20 yards.
The Colts were forced to punt yet again, but Melvin Bullitt jumped a route and intercepted a Schaub pass to put Indianapolis deep into Houston territory. Seven plays later, Manning found Wayne in the back left of the end zone from 14 yards away for a 13-7 contest.
The Texans went three-and-out, and Indianapolis quickly moved downfield to add an Adam Vinatieri 20-yard field goal seconds before halftime.
Houston went to its run attack to start the second half, running the ball 13 times on a 15-play drive. The strategy worked to perfection, as the Texans added a touchdown on Foster's one-yard burst through the middle for a 20-10 lead eight minutes into the second half.
The Colts were able to get to the Houston 22 on their next drive, but a sack drove them out of field goal range, and they punted. On Indianapolis' next drive, Manning hit Pierre Garcon at the Texans' nine-yard line, but Garcon fumbled the ball away.
Houston responded by going to the running game again, needing only four plays to go 91 yards. Foster began the series with a 49-yard run and ended it with a 25-yard sprint to the end zone for a commanding 27-10 margin with 8 1/2 minutes to play.
"It was tough," Colts linebacker Gary Brackett said on how frustrating it was to not stop the run. "I think we did a pretty good job in the first half. In the second half, they did a good job of cutting us off the back side. They broke some long runs, and we just have to get better."
Manning answered with a 10-yard touchdown toss to Clark, but the onside kick attempt failed, and the Texans quickly restored their 17-point lead on an eight-yard scoring run from Foster.
"I mean, we ran the ball. Against the Colts, you have to keep (Manning) off the field, and you have to be effective in the run game, and we did that consistently," Foster said. "We were heavy on the run in the second half, and it paid dividends."
A Collie 73-yard touchdown reception in the final moments accounted for the final margin.
The Colts outgained the Texans, 463-355...Indianapolis defensive lineman Dwight Freeney recorded a sack, the fourth straight game against Houston in which he has done so...Dating back to last season, the Texans have won five straight games...These two teams were the top two passing offenses in the NFL last season...Houston's Connor Barwin was carted off the field in the first quarter with a right leg injury...The Colts were 4-of-12 on third down conversion attempts, compared to 6-of-11 for Houston...Oft-injured Colts safety Bob Sanders exited the game with what was reported as an elbow injury. He was replaced by Bullitt.
09/12 18:40:45 ET