INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Brandon Weeden finally gave the Texans some relief in Indianapolis.
With starting quarterback Brian Hoyer not playing Sunday because of a concussion and backup T.J. Yates knocked out late in the first half with an injured left knee, the 32-year-old third-stringer did something no other Houston quarterback could. He won in Indianapolis.
Weeden led the Texans to two field goals, threw a go-ahead 8-yard touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong with 10:36 to play and set up Nick Novak for the sealing field goal with 1:56 left, giving Houston a 16-10 victory and ending a 13-game losing streak on the Colts’ home turf.
By winning for the first time in three weeks, the Texans (7-7) also took over sole possession of the AFC South lead and now have the inside track to their third division title in five years.
And they have Weeden and the defense to thank for it.
Weeden finished 11 of 18 with 105 yards and found Strong on the critical screen play that Strong caught on the right side and took up field, diving into the end zone for the only Texans’ touchdown of the day.
The battle of backup quarterbacks certainly didn’t earn many style points.
Yates was 6 of 10 with 68 yards and one interception as he repeatedly tried to fight out of terrible field position. But he left the game with 1:14 to go in the first half after scrambling for a first down, a play that was wiped out because of a holding penalty on left tackle Duane Brown.
There was no immediate update on the injury.
The Colts (7-7) weren’t in much better shape.
Matt Hasselbeck, who started for the fifth consecutive week as Andrew Luck continues to recover from a lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle, was 17 of 30 with 147 yards, one touchdown and one interception. But he couldn’t generate any offense in the second half and left briefly in the fourth quarter with what the team called a back injury.
Indy finished with only 190 yards of total offense, lost its third straight and will now need help to make a fourth consecutive playoff appearance.
The first half was brutal for Houston, which had two turnovers and lost Yates with the knee injury.
But all the Colts got out of it was an 11-yard TD pass from Hasselbeck to Donte Moncrief early in the second quarter and a 29-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri to take a 10-0 lead.
The Texans finally responded with a 22-yard field goal from Novak on the final play of the half, a 46-yard field goal late in the third quarter and the TD pass from Weeden to Strong early in the fourth to make it 13-10.
Novak’s late field goal forced the Colts to drive the length of the field to try to win, and they had a chance. But Hasselbeck was picked off on the first play of the ensuing series.