Hous­ton clinches its sec­ond South ti­tle


Austin American-Statesman - - NFL - C eric Gay /ap 49ers re­ceiver Randy Moss cel­e­brates his first-quar­ter touch­down catch against the Pa­tri­ots on Sun­day. The game did not end in time for this edi­tion. Go to states­man. com for cov­er­age. Steven Senne / ap

idea and that was to win the di­vi­sion, and we’re not go­ing to win the di­vi­sion — they did it,” Indianapolis in­terim coach Bruce Ari­ans said.

Thanks in great part to three sacks from Watt, Hous­ton bounced back six days af­ter the 4214 loss to New Eng­land on na­tional tele­vi­sion. The Tex­ans will have home-field ad­van­tage through­out the AFC play­offs if they win out.

Luck threw for 186 yards with two touch­downs in the re­turn to his home­town. He had led the Colts to a rook­iere­cord six wins on drives in the fourth quar­ter or over­time this sea­son, and he got the Colts within six points late in the third quar­ter.

“We came here to win, not put up a re­spectable show­ing,” Luck said. “We’ll move on to next week and hopefully get bet­ter.”

Hous­ton’s de­fense shut Luck down af­ter he made it close, and the Tex­ans used Arian Fos­ter to eat up the clock. Fos­ter ran for a sea­son-high 165 yards to leave him with 1,313 yards rush­ing, giv­ing him his third straight year with at least 1,200.

“It’s not really that we bounced back,” Fos­ter said. “It’s that we played the foot­ball that we know we’re ca­pa­ble of play­ing.”

Watt in­creased his AFClead­ing sack to­tal to 19½ — the NFL record for a sea­son is 22½ — and fin­ished with 10 tack­les. He also forced a fum­ble for the third straight game.

“I don’t even know the stats,” Hous­ton coach Gary Ku­biak said. “But it seemed like ev­ery time I looked up, he was mak­ing a play.”

Luck was sacked five times play­ing be­hind a makeshift of­fen­sive line miss­ing cen­ter Sam­son Satele (an­kle) and right tackle Win­ston Jus­tice (bi­ceps).

John­son, who has 11,008 ca­reer re­ceiv­ing yards, scored on a 3-yard re­cep­tion to make it 100 in the first quar­ter. The Tex­ans didn’t score a touch­down on of­fense af­ter that, but were helped by Bra­man’s spe­cial teams ef­fort.

Bra­man blocked his sec­ond punt of the sea­son, re­cov­ered it and re­turned it 8 yards for his first ca­reer touch­down to make it 20-3 just be­fore half­time.

Vick Bal­lard had 60 yards rush­ing on a Colts drive that ended with an 8-yard touch­down re­cep­tion by Dwayne Allen to cut Hous­ton’s lead to 2317 in the third quar­ter. Bal­lard had a ca­reer-high 105 yards rush­ing.

Hous­ton couldn’t do any­thing on its next drive and punted. But Indy sput­tered, and in­terim coach Bruce Ari­ans even drew an un­sports­man­like con­duct penalty on a punt, giv­ing Hous­ton the ball at the Colts 39.

Gra­ham added a 46yard field goal to push the lead to 26-17 and made his fifth field goal with about a minute left.

Arian Fos­ter ran for a sea­son-high 165 yards, sur­pass­ing 1,200 yards for the third straight sea­son.

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