Hilton's 2 scores lead Colts over Texans 20-14
By KRISTIE RIEKEN, AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) — An almost-empty bottle of purple Pedialyte sat in T.Y. Hilton’s locker after Sunday’s game, a tangible reminder that the receiver hasn’t been feeling well this week.
While the children’s illness remedy helped him feel better before the game, the best cure for his ailment came in the form of the Texans, a team he’s had plenty of success against.
Hilton had 175 yards receiving with two touchdowns to help the Indianapolis Colts halt a three-game skid with a 20-14 win over a Houston team that struggled without Deshaun Watson.
Hilton continued his dominance against the Texans to allow the Colts (3-6) to avoid their first four-game losing streak under coach Chuck Pagano. He has 1,117 yards receiving and nine touchdowns in 11 games against Houston. He’s been particularly good in Houston where he’s caught seven of those touchdowns.
“It’s just crazy,” he said. “Maybe I just love playing here.”
Hilton broke out of a tough three games where he’d managed just 61 yards receiving combined.
“It’s hard and it can become frustrating. Great players want the ball,” Pagano said. “He’s a guy that wants the football and we’re doing everything we can to get the ball to our playmakers.”
Jacoby Brissett threw for 308 yards filling in for Andrew Luck, who was placed on injured reserve on Thursday and will miss the season after having shoulder surgery in January.
Watson’s stellar season also ended that day when the rookie tore the anterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees in practice.
Tom Savage, who was benched in the opener for Watson, couldn’t move the offense for most of the game, but threw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to get Houston within 20-14.
The Texans had a chance to win it late, but Savage was sacked by Jabaal Sheard and fumbled as time ran out to secure the victory.
“It’s probably the most frustrating game of my life,” Savage said. “It’s one of those deals where you just weren’t making the throws. Guys were open and I’m not going to give you the politically correct answer and say blah, blah, blah and we can do better. I’ve got to make the throws.”
With Watson running the offense, the Texans (3-5) had set a franchise record by scoring 30 or more points in five straight games.
His development had given the team hope that they could finish strong and contend for a third straight postseason berth despite losing J.J. Watt to a season-ending injury for a second straight year.
On Sunday, with Watson relegated to an extra coach on the bench, this Houston offense sputtered.
Houston got a touchdown on a fumble return in the second quarter, but the offense didn’t score until a 34-yard reception by DeAndre Hopkins with about six minutes left in the fourth quarter that made it 20-14.
It was the first touchdown pass for Savage, who made the fourth start of his career on Sunday. He finished 19 of 44 for 219 yards.
Hilton gave the Colts an early lead on Sunday when he hauled in a 45-yard touchdown reception on their first drive.
Houston’s Ka’imi Fairbairn missed his first field goal of the season on a 39-yard attempt early in the second quarter.
Adam Vinatieri, who moved past Gary Anderson for second on the NFL’s career scoring list on Sunday with 2,442 points, added a 22-yard field goal for the Colts to make it 10-0 in the second.
Houston got on the board near the end of the second quarter when Eddie Pleasant sacked Brissett and forced a fumble which Lamarr Houston returned 34 yards to cut the lead to 10-7 at halftime.
Hilton’s second touchdown came when he took a short pass and dashed 80 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-7 in the third quarter. He jumped over Kareem Jackson to avoid his tackle and fell to the turf around the 32-yard line on the run. But Jackson didn’t touch him , so Hilton got up and ran into the end zone with no Texan following him because they all thought he was down by contact.
Houston challenged the play, but it was upheld.
GRIFFIN INJURED: Houston TE Ryan Griffin sustained a concussion in the third quarter. It’s his second concussion this season.
Former President George H.W. Bush was on the field for the coin toss as part of Houston’s salute to service day honoring members of the military. The Texans also welcomed Houston Astros George Springer, Chris Devenski, Joe Musgrove and Tyler White on the field between the first and second quarters to honor them for winning the first World Series in franchise history last week. Springer, the MVP of the World Series, drew a huge round of applause when he hoisted the trophy above his head.
Colts: Host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Texans: Visit the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday.
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