Luck’s 2 TDs pro­pel Colts

The News-Times (Sunday) - - Sports -

HOUS­TON — An­drew Luck threw for 222 yards and two touch­downs and the In­di­anapo­lis Colts raced out to a big lead and cruised to a 21-7 win over the Hous­ton Tex­ans in the AFC wild­card game on Satur­day.

Luck put on a show in his home­town, throw­ing for 191 yards and two touch­downs be­fore half­time to help the Colts (11-6) build a 21-0 lead.

Run­ning back Mar­lon Mack had 148 yards and a touch­down for In­di­anapo­lis, which ad­vances to face the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs in the divi­sional round next week­end.

Hous­ton (11-6), which over­came a 0-3 start to win the AFC South, gave up too many big plays and couldn’t get any­thing go­ing on of­fense in the first half to fall into the huge hole.

De­shaun Wat­son, who was sacked an NFL-lead­ing 62 times in the reg­u­lar sea­son, was sacked three times and hit eight more times in a dis­ap­point­ing play­off de­but. He fin­ished with 235 yards pass­ing with a touch­down and an in­ter­cep­tion.

The Colts, who opened the sea­son 1-5, con­tin­ued an im­pres­sive run by win­ning their fifth straight and for the 10th time in 11 games. Satur­day was their first play­off ap­pear­ance since the AFC cham­pi­onship game loss at New Eng­land in the “De­flate­gate” game in the 2014 sea­son.

It was an­other good game in a splen­did sea­son for Luck, who grew up in a sub­urb of Hous­ton. He threw for 4,593 yards and 39 touch­downs in the reg­u­lar sea­son af­ter miss­ing all of 2017 with a shoul­der in­jury.

The Tex­ans didn’t score 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 it to 21-7 with about 11 min­utes left.

They led the NFL with nine come­back wins this sea­son, but their at­tempt at a rally ended on their next pos­ses­sion when Wat­son’s pass on fourth-and-10 from the In­di­anapo­lis 24 fell short with about four min­utes left.

Luck threw for 863 yards with six touch­downs as the teams split two meet­ings in the reg­u­lar sea­son. He picked up right where he left off in this one, when he found Eric Ebron on a 6yard TD pass on their first drive. That play was set up by a 38-yard catch by T.Y. Hilton, who had 63 yards re­ceiv­ing on that drive.

Hilton didn’t have any catches on the next drive, but the Colts still drove down the field eas­ily and made it 14-0 on a 2-yard run by Mack later in the first.

Hous­ton went for it on fourth-and-4 from the In­di­anapo­lis 45 on its sec­ond pos­ses­sion and Wat­son was in­ter­cepted by Kenny Moore II. It was his first in­ter­cep­tion since he threw two against the Red­skins on Nov. 18.

The Colts got to the 17 af­ter that be­fore J.J. Watt de­flected Luck’s pass and he was in­ter­cepted by Bran­don Dunn. But the Tex­ans couldn’t move the ball and had to punt.

In­di­anapo­lis pushed 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 fourt­hand-1 from the 9 late in the sec­ond quar­ter and went for it again in­stead of set­tling for a field goal. The gam­ble didn’t pay off when Wat­son’s pass to De­An­dre Hop­kins was low and bounced in front of him in the end zone.


Colts: Safety Ma­lik Hooker left in the third quar­ter with a foot in­jury. … S Mike Mitchell in­jured his calf in the third quar­ter and didn’t re­turn.

Tex­ans: Safety Justin Reid in­jured his ribs in the sec­ond quar­ter and didn’t re­turn.

Eric Chris­tian Smith / As­so­ci­ated Press

Colts run­ning back Mar­lon Mack breaks free dur­ing In­di­anapo­lis’ 21-7 vic­tory over the Tex­ans in the AFC wild-card round in Hous­ton on Satur­day.

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