Colts get New England after three straight wins against AFC South teams

Johnson, Hoyer awarded game balls

ESPN reporters Tania Ganguli and Mike Wells award game balls to Texans' QB Brian Hoyer and Colts' WR Andre Johnson.

HOUSTON -- Indianapolis Colts safety Mike Adams was putting the final touches on his suit by straightening his tie when, in a lowered voice, he said, “We needed this.”

“This” being the Colts' 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans on Thursday night. The Colts needed it to extend their winning streak to three games, and also because they need as much momentum as possible with the biggest obstacle of their season -- the New England Patriots -- coming to Lucas Oil Stadium on Oct. 18.

The Patriots have dominated the Colts in the past four meetings, winning by an average of 29 points. The pressure in the footballs New England was using prompted Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson to notify the NFL, setting off the league’s biggest offseason story, also known as Deflategate.

There will be no love lost between the teams.

“I wasn’t ready for it last year, but I’m ready for the magnitude of things this year,” Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said. “I know what to expect. It’s going to be a circus.”

The Colts (3-2) hope they’ll have quarterback Andrew Luck back for that game against New England (3-0).

Some of the victories during the Colts' current streak haven’t been pretty -- a late defensive stand against Tennessee, an overtime win versus Jacksonville -- but they’re not looking for style points. They've simply been looking for ways to win games because they know they can't stagger into their game against the Patriots.

“The momentum, the confidence, everything, is starting to come together,” Adams said. “We’ve been dealing with a lot of injuries. But we’re starting to get back in the groove. Hopefully we’ll have 12 [Luck] at the helm.”

How the Colts played offensively against the Texans is how they envisioned things at the start of the season, with the exception of Luck starting at quarterback instead of 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck. The ball was spread around, with eight different players catching passes, and Frank Gore finished two yards shy of being the Colts’ first 100-yard rusher since the 2012 season.

“I love this football team,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "... I believe we're starting to come together. Sometimes you're going to go through some stuff to make you stronger, to galvanize you so to speak, and not one guy flinched ... We’ll have some time off to get healthy now. We’ve got 10 days before our next game.”

Very few players wanted to talk about the Patriots. Linebacker Robert Mathis, who missed both embarrassing losses last season, changed the subject when asked about facing New England.

“We got the win and we’re going to enjoy it and keep it moving,” Mathis said.

The reality is that the Colts aren’t about to go up against the Texans, Jaguars or Titans. They’re about to go up against an elite team.

Will they be ready for it?

“You remember what happened [last year],” Jackson said. “I’m going to try to load up my iPad before we get back to Indy and take advantage of these next couple of days to watch some extra film.”