NFL Nation: Colts-Texans
|James Lang/US Presswire|
|Sage Rosenfels is sent spinning through the air and he coughs up the ball, which is recovered by Gary Brackett who returns the fumble for a touchdown.|
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
HOUSTON -- The Colts are still the Colts; the Texans are still the Texans.
The fourth-quarter clock showed 3:36 and Gary Brackett had just finished a graceful negotiation of the sideline for a 68-yard fumble return touchdown. The Texans were still ahead, still had a chance to wrap the game in a tourniquet and save it.
But deep down everyone in Reliant Stadium knew it had turned irreparably, and that while Houston was still ahead, the Texans were finished.
Texans right tackle Eric Winston stood around the 14-yard line not far from where Brackett scored, both hands on his helmet in a picture that spoke its own caption: "What did we just do?"
What they just did -- allow the Colts to come back from 17 points down with under five minutes left for a 31-27 win -- might have kept Indianapolis from divisional death on an afternoon when the Tennessee Titans moved to 5-0.
"I told the team in the locker room that this can be a season saver if we take this energy and passion and emotion that we played with in the last four minutes and play with that all 60 minutes," coach Tony Dungy said.
Give credit to Marlin Jackson for setting Sage Rosenfels in motion on a helicopter blade spin when the quarterback foolishly tried to hurdle him. Spinning through the air, Rosenfels was lined up for a second hit by Raheem Brock that jarred the ball loose for Brackett to scoop.
But if Rosenfels gave himself up with a slide, or took a left and headed to the sideline, the fuse never gets lit. The whole chain of events was born from Rosenfels' aggression -- a trait that served him well up to that point -- in a moment when he should have listened to whatever warning bells were ringing in his head.
It was third-and-8 from the Colts' 39 and a first down would have kept things moving. He saw a chance to earn a new set of downs, kill more clock, set up another score. Striving for all that, something inside him convinced him to try to leap Jackson.
"We played as good as we're going to play -- as we can play -- for 3 1/2 quarters, and I feel like I let all 53 guys and 15-whatever coaches down," Rosenfels said. "We played a great game. I just made some bad mistakes at the end."
HOUSTON -- What a collapse. What a comeback.
Sage Rosenfels erased an excellent passing day with three fourth-quarter turnovers that blew a 27-10 lead and turned into a 31-27 victory for the visiting Colts.
Indianapolis was not far at all from a 1-3 record and sole possession of last place in the AFC South, a division it has dominated since realignment. Instead the Colts got three big defensive plays as Houston went into self-destruct mode.
It's the kind of game that can catapult the victor and completely sink the loser.
The Colts are breathing at 2-2. The Texans are suffocating at 0-4.
We'll see how everyone is handling it and spinning it downstairs and I'll be back to share as soon as we can.