Two interminable streaks were on the line today in Houston: the Texans’ unbroken history of playoff humiliations, and Deshaun Watson not having lost a game by more than one score since high school. The fragrance of ass that exudes from the Texans and Bill O’Brien was more powerful by far, as the Colts won 21-7 in a game that felt over by halftime. Frank Reich’s squad will have go on the road again to play the top-seeded Chiefs in the divisional round, although traveling wasn’t remotely a problem in Houston.
Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton wore a clown mask to the stadium after Texans corner Johnathan Joseph called him, uh, a clown, which in turn came after Hilton said that the Texans’ stadium was a “second home.” Hilton was certainly right: coming into today, Hilton had 41 catches for 933 yards and seven touchdowns in just seven games at Houston. He came out hot with three catches for 63 yards on the Colts’ first drive, which, like most of the Colts’ early drives, ended in a touchdown. (Hilton only ended up with five receptions and 85 yards.)
The Texans’ pass defense was propped up by facing weak quarterbacks all year, and Luck and the Colts shredded it in the first half, racking up 20 first downs and three touchdowns. Only a batted ball and a smart penalty stopped it from being five touchdowns.
Indianapolis came back down to earth in the second half with only six first downs, and the Texans put one score on the board to avoid a shutout. But the touchdown drive took a painfully long six minutes, and the Texans couldn’t generate anything on subsequent drives other than Deshaun Watson’s scrambles. Watson himself deserves some blame here, too: down two scores on the Texans’ final drive, he badly missed on multiple throws. Bill O’Brien’s only playoff win* remains over a Connor Cook-led Raiders team, and the other two in franchise history are over the Bengals.