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Colts-Texans game ends in 20-20 tie

The Texans led 20-3 entering the fourth quarter in coach Lovie Smith's debut, but the Colts then had three successive scoring drives to tie it up.

HOUSTON — Matt Ryan rallied Indianapolis in the fourth quarter to force overtime against the Houston Texans in his Colts debut on Sunday, but neither team could score on two overtime possessions each and the game ended in a 20-20 tie.

The Texans led 20-3 entering the fourth quarter in coach Lovie Smith's debut, but Ryan led three successive scoring drives, culminating with his 15-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman with 1:54 remaining.

Indianapolis got the ball back with 1:19 left in regulation but was forced to punt — a sign of things to come in the extra period.

Houston got the ball first in OT, but Davis Mills was sacked twice, leading to a punt.

The Colts moved into field goal range with a 13-play drive that chewed up 6:30, but Rodrigo Blankenship’s 42-yard attempt sailed wide right with 2 minutes left.

Rex Burkhead was dropped for a 2-yard loss on third-and-1 with 40 seconds left and the Texans punted again, essentially playing for the draw.

The Colts got two more plays in but didn’t get anywhere close to field goal range as time expired and the crowd booed the first tie in Texans history.

Ryan, playing his first game for Indy after 14 seasons with Atlanta, threw an interception and lost a fumble as he struggled early. But he finally got the offense going late, finishing with 352 yards passing and a touchdown. Rushing champion Jonathan Taylor finished with 161 yards and a touchdown.

Mills threw for 240 yards and two scores.

The Texans were outscored 62-3 in two losses to the Colts last season. They looked great through three quarters Sunday.

The Colts trailed by 10 and were driving in the third quarter when Ryan fumbled a bad snap, and it was recovered by Christian Kirksey. The Texans cashed in on the error when Mills found a wide-open O.J. Howard for a 22-yard touchdown to make it 20-3.

That drive was helped by a 15-yard penalty on Yannick Ngakoue for roughing the passer.

Howard, who was a late addition to the team after signing on Sept. 2, had two receptions, both for scores. He reeled in a 16-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Indianapolis settled for a short field goal early in the fourth quarter after third overall pick Derek Stingley knocked down a pass on third down from the 4.

E.J. Speed sacked Mills and forced and recovered a fumble on Houston’s next drive. The Colts cut the lead to 20-13 on a 2-yard touchdown run by Taylor with about eight minutes to go.


The Texans started three rookies in RB Dameon Pierce, Stingley and safety Jalen Pitre. It’s the most rookies Houston has started in Week 1 since first overall pick DE Mario Williams, TE Owen Daniels, RB Wali Lundy, LB DeMeco Ryans and OL Charles Spencer all started the 2006 opener.


The Texans used their opener to honor and remember the victims of the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers.

The Texans hosted the Uvalde high school football team and wore “Uvalde Strong” decals on their helmets.


Colts: Visit Jacksonville next Sunday.

Texans: Visit Denver next Sunday.

Key plays and highlights

First quarter

The Colts took an early lead over Houston on a Rodrigo Blankenship 45-yard field goal. According to sports reporter Daniel Gotera, Texans fans are already booing after two Texans' series stalled.

The Uvalde football team is in attendance, special guests of the Texans. They were honored in the first quarter.

First quarter ends with the Colts up, 3-0, and in the red zone, threatening to score again.

Second quarter

Two plays into the second quarter, the Colts went for it on fourth and goal and the Texans stopped 'em and will take over on downs.

Houston took over deep in their own territory, but QB Davis Mills led the team on a drive that ended in a 45-yard Ka'imi Fairbairn field goal. Colts and Texans tied at 3.

The Colts got the ball back and drove to the Texans' 25, but then Matt Ryan's pass was tipped and picked off by Jerry Hughes. 

After the interception, Davis Mills connected with new Texans OJ Howard for the score. Houston leads 10-3.

Third quarter

Houston got the second half kickoff and drove into Colts territory for a 43-yard field goal, giving Houston a 13-3 lead. The key play in the drive was this flea flicker.

The Texans got another turnover on third down halfway through the third quarter as LB Christian Kirksey recovered his sixth career fumble. Four plays later, Howard scored his second touchdown of the game on a 22-yard catch.

The Colts scored on their next possession -- a field goal that made the score 20-6. 

On the Texans' next possession, Davis Mills was hit and fumbled, setting Indianapolis up in the red zone.  The Colts' Jonathan Taylor punched it in, making it a one-score game. 20-13 Texans.

The Texans' drive stalled again, and Indianapolis got it back and drove down the field for a game-tying touchdown. Texans got the ball back with under two minutes.  


The game is going into overtime tied at 20. After the Texans' drive went backwards, they punted away to the Colts, who drove down deep into Texans territory, but missed the game-winning field goal.  

Game preview

Will the Houston Texans be a much-improved team in 2022 under a new head coach in Lovie Smith?

The Texans will get their first chance to answer that question on Sunday against Indianapolis in the season opener at NRG Stadium (Noon, KHOU-TV).

Indianapolis is favored by 7.5, according to FanDuel SportsBook.

Rookie running back Dameon Pierce was the star of Houston’s preseason camp and should improve the league’s worst rushing attack in 2021. The Texans, by adding veterans Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison and Rasheem Green, as well as rookies Derek Stingley Jr. and Jalen Pitre, believe they’ve boosted a defense with finished second-to-last in the National Football League.

Quarterback Matt Ryan will make his Colts debut and the NFL’s defending rushing champ Jonathan Taylor will see his first action as he sat out the preseason. Indianapolis has announced star linebacker Shaquille Leonard is out with a back injury.

He’ll face a familiar foe in new Texans coach Lovie Smith, who was hired this offseason to replace David Culley, who lasted one season. Ryan’s history facing Smith goes all the way back to 2008 when he coached the Bears.

“Played against him quite a few times and he’s been one of the best quarterbacks in our league,” Smith said. “He can make all the throws. ... He knows the game, smart. It’s not like we’re going to trick him an awful lot.”

The Texans are hoping to perform much better against the Colts than they did last year, when they lost two games by a combined score of 62-3.

Some information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Heading out to NRG Stadium?

The Texans announced they are lowering prices on the most ordered items by fans ahead of the 2022 season.

"In a world of increasing costs, we chose to decrease the price of select items on gameday," President Greg Grissom said. 

He also added that the price changes come after conversations with fans, and insight into the four most-ordered items inside NRG Stadium.

Hot dogs saw the biggest price change, down near 32% to $3.75 each. Next up was the chicken tender basket, which usually cost more than $10, down to $7.75.

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If you need something to wash the food down with, the price of 20-ounce sodas was slashed by nearly 22%, matching the price of hot dogs. Finally, for the adults, the price of bottled domestic beer was cut by 8.5%, down to $7.95 each.

The deals don't end there. The team will continue to offer $2 bottled water and $2.50 domestic beers outside of the stadium.

Cutting prices on concessions isn't a new trend. After the Atlanta Falcons began the trend in 2017 after opening the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The stadium offered $2 sodas and $5 cheeseburgers during Falcons and Atlanta United FC games, which led to a 50% increase in spending.

This year's Texans may be tough to watch on the field, but with cheaper food and drinks, at least they'll be easier to stomach.

Get parking and tailgating information here.

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