HOUSTON — After three lackluster quarters by the Houston Texans on Sunday night, a good chunk of the home crowd headed out early.
Tough luck for them.
Nick Novak made a 33-yard field goal in overtime to give Houston a 26-23 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Houston became the first NFL team to rally from a 14-point deficit in the final 3 minutes since the Tim Tebow-led Broncos did it in 2011 against the Dolphins.
Brock Osweiler threw a 36-yard pass to Jaelen Strong to get Houston to the 12 and Novak’s field goal came two plays later.
“I think a lot of fans tonight missed a terrific performance in the third, fourth quarter by a team,” Osweiler said. “Nothing was perfect early on, I understand why fans were frustrated but I hope they learned tonight that this team is never going to quit fighting.”
Indianapolis (2-4) got the ball first in overtime, but Benardrick McKinney sacked Andrew Luck on third down to force a punt.
Osweiler shook off a tough start to throw two touchdown passes in less than 2 minutes in the fourth quarter as Houston (4-2) tied it at 23 with 54 seconds left. He found Lamar Miller on a 10-yard catch-and-run TD with 2:47 remaining and, after a stop by the defense, connected with C.J. Fiedorowicz on a 26-yarder that tied it.
“When you have them down and have a 14-point lead late in the fourth quarter, you’ve got to be able to close games out,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “We did not do that today.”
Houston’s defense forced a punt by Indianapolis to send it to OT.
“Everybody stood together and everybody did their job and made plays and (was) trying to get the ball back to the offense,” Jadeveon Clowney said.
Luck had a 22-yard touchdown throw in the first quarter and pushed the lead to 20-9 when he dashed into the end zone untouched on a 14-yard run early in the fourth.
Miller scored his first touchdown as a Texan on a 1-yard run on Houston’s first drive of the second half, but the extra point failed to leave the Texans down 13-9.
The Texans stopped the Colts on fourth down after that, but Osweiler’s pass was intercepted two plays later. Luck’s TD run came on the next drive.
The Colts led 13-0 in the second quarter after two field goals by Adam Vinatieri and a touchdown catch by Jack Doyle. Osweiler and Houston’s offense struggled to get going early and Osweiler had negative-9 yards passing in the first quarter. The Texans cut it to 13-3 before halftime on Novak’s 27-yard field goal.
MILLER’S TIME: Miller finished with a season-high 149 yards rushing and added 29 yards receiving.
“We felt like he was the guy throughout the game that was probably playing the best on offense so at halftime we said, ‘Look, we’ve got to keep finding ways to get this guy the ball,'” coach Bill O’Brien said.
CENTURY MARK: Indianapolis’ Frank Gore had 22 carries for 106 yards to end the NFL’s longest active streak of consecutive games by a team without a 100-yard rusher at 55. The last Colt to have 100 yards rushing was Vick Ballard in 2012.
RECORD CHASE: Vinatieri made three field goals on Sunday night to extend his streak to 41 in a row and leave him one away from tying the NFL record set by Mike Vanderjagt from 2002-04. Vinatieri made field goals of 41, 37 and 36 yards on Sunday night.
“I wish one of those points would have been the difference in the outcome of the game,” he said.
FULLER OUT: Houston rookie receiver Will Fuller was active but did not play on Sunday night because of a hamstring injury. He leads all rookies with 327 yards receiving.
Colts: Visit Titans next Sunday.
Texans: Visit Denver on Oct. 24.