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Texans’ late TD, two-point conversion enough to topple Colts

Jan 8, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Amari Rodgers (19) slips through the grasp of Indianapolis Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke (58) on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, during a game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

Davis Mills hit Jordan Akins for a 28-yard touchdown pass and a 2-point conversion with 50 seconds left Sunday, lifting the Houston Texans to a 32-31 win over the host Indianapolis Colts.

Mills, who was 22 of 38 for 298 yards with three scores and two interceptions, led a 14-play, 83-yard drive that enabled Houston to finish 3-13-1. It also cost the Texans the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft as the Chicago Bears lost to the Minnesota Vikings to end up 3-14.

Mills found Akins on a fourth-and-20 play over the middle for the touchdown. Then they connected again as coach Lovie Smith eschewed a potential game-tying extra point to go for the win.

The Colts’ final drive ran out of steam at their 46 as time expired.

Sam Ehlinger completed 23 of 35 passes for 209 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for Indianapolis (4-12-1), which finished the season with a seven-game losing streak under interim coach Jeff Saturday.

Zack Moss ran 18 times for 114 yards and a touchdown for the Colts, his first 100-yard game of the year.

Indianapolis led 31-24 with 3:33 left in the game after a 54-yard field goal by Chase McLaughlin but couldn’t protect the lead.

It was hard to tell that both teams struggled to score points all season, judging from the combined 63 points they rang up. Houston initiated scoring on the game’s first drive, with Mills finding Brandin Cooks (five receptions, 106 yards) for an 11-yard touchdown at the 11:17 mark.

Ka’imi Fairbairn made it 10-0 less than two minutes later with a 37-yard field goal, four plays after the Texans recovered a fumble on Indianapolis’ kickoff return at the 18. But the Colts answered on Ehlinger’s 1-yard scoring strike to Michael Pittman with 3:56 left.

The only scoring in the second quarter also came off Ehlinger’s arm, but to the wrong team. His pressured pass was picked by defensive lineman Jonathan Greenard and returned 39 yards to the end zone with 10:30 remaining, giving Houston a 17-7 halftime lead.

Akins, who finished with four catches for 70 yards, caught a 19-yard touchdown to give Houston a 10-point lead in the third quarter. But Rodney McLeod’s 27-yard pick-6 in the final minute of the period kickstarted a 17-0 Colts run that gave them the late lead.

–Field Level Media

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