Sports

Former UConn Standout Leads Colts to Second Straight Win

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 22: Dan Orlovsky #6 of the Indianapolis Colts throws the ball during the NFL against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 22, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – DECEMBER 22: Dan Orlovsky #6 of the Indianapolis Colts throws the ball during the NFL against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 22, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Reggie Wayne will always remember Thursday
night’s catch.

The man with the expiring contract caught a 1-yard touchdown
pass from Dan Orlovsky with 19 seconds left, giving the Colts their
only lead of the game in a 19-16 victory over AFC South champion
Houston 19-16.

It’s the second straight win for the Colts (2-13), who will now
have to fight off St. Louis and Minnesota for the No. 1 overall
draft pick. Orlovsky, who played the last two seasons with Houston,
also won his second straight game after losing his first nine NFL
starts.

“Reggie certainly had a spectacular game. Caught it well, was
active in the running, just all around a terrific game,” Colts
coach Jim Caldwell said.

Houston was in a position to come to Indianapolis and simply
tune up for the postseason.

Not a chance.

The Texans looked anything but playoff-ready. They settled for
two field goals in the red zone, didn’t convert a third down until
getting a lucky bounce late in the fourth quarter, its running game
was stymied late and the defense helped the Colts with three
penalties on the decisive drive.

Houston (11-4) is now 0-10 in Indianapolis and still hunting for
a first-round bye. The Texans still haven’t scored more than 20
points in a game since Nov. 27.

When Brian Cushing broke through the line on the game’s first
play, sacking Orlovsky and stripping the ball, it looked like it
might be a replica of the teams’ first meeting, a 34-7 blowout.
Arian Foster ran for 8 yards on the next play, then scored on a
9-yard burst off the left side to give Houston a 7-0 lead.

Foster carried 23 times for 158 yards but repeatedly stopped the
Texans’ runners in the red zone.

“We didn’t turn the ball over nearly as much as we did in that
(first) game,” Caldwell said. “But beyond that, I think we were
pretty good at protecting the ball. I think our defense played
extremely well even though they ran for 171 yards. It was kind of a
bend but don’t break defense, but when they had to stop them in the
red zone, they stopped them in the red zone.

Nobody got into the end zone again until Orlovsky took the Colts
78 yards in the final two minutes, thanks in part to three costly
Houston penalties, two of them against rookie defensive end J.J.
Watt. After a pass interference call against Glover Quinn put the
ball at the Texans 1, Orlovsky lobbed the ball into the corner of
the end zone and Wayne beat the coverage to make the catch.

“All in all, it was a great team win,” Caldwell said. “When
the offense needed a drive, we got it. When we needed a field goal
we got it. When we needed a stop we got it.”

Orlovsky was 23 of 41 for 244 yards with the one TD. Joseph
Addai ran 19 times for 59 yards.

T.J. Yates wound up 13 of 16 for 132 yards in a return to his
hometown.

And this one go down as the final home game for not only Wayne
and Orlvosky, but also key Colts cornerstones such as Jeff Saturday
and Robert Mathis _ and possibly even Peyton Manning, though Colts
owner Jim Irsay told NFL Network that if Peyton Manning plays in
2012, it will be in Indianapolis.

“If the situation is where he’s back and he’s healthy, then I
see him coming back and playing here,” Irsay said before the game.
“I think there is a lot of speculation about the draft pick and
those sorts of things, but I think what you have to realize is this
— is the likes of Peyton Manning going to be seen again? It is not
coming, if ever, for a very, very long time. You’re not going to go
in this draft or the next draft and get another Peyton Manning.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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