After spending yesterday grilling steakburgers and bacon-wrapped hot dogs, eating watermelon, and watching fireworks in an uncomforably crowded park, I wanted to incorporate the 4th of July into today's post.
After some brainstorming I came up with a few potential themes:
- Red, White and Blue
- Victory in the face of overwhelming odds
- Ridiculous flying things
After combining all of those things, I landed on the obvious choice, and one that I recently had been thinking about due to some interactions on Twitter: the Colts' unbeaten streak against the Texans in Indianapolis.
The Colts' dominance over the red, white and blue-clad Texans has been one of the most entertaining elements of the past 10 years for Colts fans. Over the past eleven years, the Texans have managed just four wins in 22 tries, three of which have come in the past three years.
The series has been everything a fan could want: improbable comebacks, emotional victories and, of course, the Rosencopter:
While the Texans have managed four wins, all four of those came at home, while the Colts have always managed to pull out the victory in Indianapolis.
In the past two years, it seemed that the Colts' streak would come to an end.
WIth Peyton Manning's injury in 2011, it seemed that the Colts, who had managed just one win heading into Week 16, would get rolled over by the 10-4 Texans, who were playing for a bye in the first round of the playoffs (Even with T.J. Yates as the starting quarterback). It looked like it would head that way when Dan Orlovsky fumbled the ball on the first play of the game, which would lead to a quick touchdown run by Arian Foster. But for the rest of the game, the defense would limit Houston to just nine points, powered by huge performances by Pat Angerer, Antoine Bethea, Robert Mathis and Jamaal Anderson.
But, despite the defense's success, the team still trailed by four after a Neil Rackers' field goal with just two minutes left. The offense struggled to move the ball in the first half, and their two sustained drives in the second half had resulted in two field goals.
Down 16-12, the Colts' got the ball at their own 20, and drove down the field, converting three third downs, including this beautiful grab by Reggie Wayne on 3rd-and-7.
After a couple penalties on J.J. Watt and a pass interference on Glover Quinn, the Colts were set up at the one-yard line with 24 seconds to go. What happened next would be one of the most emotionally-charged moments in the Lucas Oil Stadium's short history.
Despite the Colts' horrible season, Reggie Wayne managed one more great performance in what many assumed to be his final home game in a Colts' uniform. The entire Luke screaming "Reg-gie, Reg-gie" was one of the best moments in Lucas Oil Stadium history.
The Colts had nothing to play for at this point, while the Texans were still playing for a bye, but somehow the Colts still became the first team in NFL history with just one win to defeat a team with at least 10.
The next year, the Colts would once again take an emotionally-charged night that meant nothing in the standings and turn it into a victory against a Texans team fighting for a bye.
This time it was Chuck Pagano's return to the sidelines after missing most of the season battling leukemia that had the crowd emtionally invested from kickoff on. The Colts controlled the game in the first half, with a couple of touchdowns powering a 14-6 lead going into halftime. But with 10 straight points to start the second half, the Texans took a 16-14 lead.
After the field goal that gave them the lead, however, Deji Karim took back the ensuing kickoff 102 yards to give the Colts a 21-16 lead. The Texans still had plenty of time to take the lead, however, especially with their offensive dominance to start the second half.
But, after a missed Shane Graham field goal, the Colts took the ball with a chance to go up by two scores. After a holding penalty on Anthony Castonzo, the Colts were looking at a 3rd-and-23. All the Texans had to do was sit back and keep the Colts from getting behind them, and they'd have an opportunity to win the game. But, T.Y. Hilton did what he did best, and Andrew Luck hit him with a perfect pass.
With the TD, the Colts took a two possession lead that they would not give up, and the Colts' undefeated streak at home against the Texans continued.
While it won't last forever, you have to admit, the Colts' chances to continue the streak look a lot better under Andrew Luck than they did under Dan Orlovsky. And hey, they managed to pull that one out.