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HOUSTON鈥?Indianapolis receiver T.Y. Hilton missed multiple practices with a shoulder injury in the week leading up to Sunday's trip to NRG Stadium for a critical AFC South matchup. The Colts said his status was up in the air.Hilton knew he couldn't possibly miss a game at a place where he's had more success than any receiver since the stadium opened in 2002.He played Martinas Rankin Color Rush Jersey , and in Indianapolis' 24-21 win over Houston, Hilton had 199 receiving yards and Andrew Luck threw for 399 yards and two touchdowns."This is my second home, man," Hilton said, laughing. "This is my second home. I don't know. Every time I come here, I just go off. I don't know what it is."Hilton entered as the all-time leader in receiving yards per game at NRG Stadium with 122.3 yards and finished Sunday just shy of 200 yards with nine catches on 12 targets. In seven career games in Houston, Hilton has topped 100 yards four times, with three of those for more than 175 yards.The Colts (7-6) snapped a nine-game winning streak by the Texans (9-4), trimming Houston's lead over the AFC South to two games with three remaining.Luck said throughout the week, the Colts were seeing things in the Texans' defense that led them to believe Hilton's "speed and maneuverability" could again be a key to success in Houston."Once we got that first one, it was like, ‘OK, here we go,'" Luck said. "When T.Y.'s in the zone, he's in a zone, man. It's fun to play with him and it's an honor to play with him."Hilton's performance gave him his 11th 150-yard game, setting a franchise record. He has also topped 800 receiving yards for a seventh consecutive season, the longest active streak in the NFL.The Colts started slow and didn't have a first down until early in the second quarter. They went to a no-huddle offense and found momentum on that drive before a pass from Luck was tipped by Kareem Jackson and intercepted by Andre Hal.Indianapolis finally ended a lengthy scoring drought after a 60-yard completion to Hilton set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Marlon Mack. The Colts entered Sunday having allowed just 14 sacks, second only to New Orleans. Houston's usually menacing pass rush was largely neutralized with just two sacks from J.J. Watt and Christian Covington after being held without a sack against Cleveland last week."They did a good job, they played good football," Watt said. "T.Y. obviously had a huge day. We knew going in that's a guy we had to stop and we didn't. That's on everybody. Luck did a good job spreading it around, guys got open and he found them. We have to play better."Indianapolis' defense, on the other hand, gave Houston fits both in the passing and running game. The Colts sacked Watson five times for a loss of 41 yards and held Houston's rushing offense to just 89 yards on 25 carries."There was a confidence all week," Reich said. "What was best about this was, we expected to win this game. We really did."Watson had 267 yards passing and 35 yards rushing. Tight end Ryan Griffin led Houston receivers with 80 yards on five catches, while Hopkins was held to 36 yards on four catches."We're good. I mean Kareem Jackson Color Rush Jersey , it's the NFL 鈥?every game is tough," Watson said. "It's tough to go on a two-game winning streak. We went on nine. Today it ended, but it's a new task to put this game behind us. Next week, we're 0-0 and we'll try to get 1-0. It's no panic button for us. We'll keep moving and try to flip the script next week and get back to the winning column."Houston cut Indianapolis' lead to 24-21 with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson to DeAndre Hopkins with less than three minutes remaining. With the Colts facing a critical third-and-1 at midfield, Luck drew Jadeveon Clowney offside to secure a first down and the win.Clowney refused to comment when approached by reporters.Houston scored first on a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Alfred Blue. The Colts then scored 17 straight before Houston opened the third quarter with a long drive to a 1-yard touchdown run on a direct snap to Lamar Miller to cut the Colts' lead to 17-14.The Colts took a 14-7 lead late in the first half on a 14-yard pass from Luck to Eric Ebron. It was Luck's fourth straight touchdown pass to a tight end, three of which went to Ebron.Luck had not thrown a touchdown pass to a non-tight end since the Nov. 18 win over Tennessee until the third quarter, when he found receiver Zach Pascal for a 12-yarder to put the Colts up 24-14.Indianapolis had a 54-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri as time expired in the second quarter to take a 17-7 halftime lead. During Houston's winning streak, the team never trailed at halftime."I don't like what happened today, but I'm fine with where we are," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "This is the NFL. We did not do a good enough job today. The Colts did a much better job than us. There's a lot of football left."PLAYOFF RACEIndianapolis will host the Cowboys and Giants before closing out the season in Tennessee, while Houston visits the Jets and Eagles before hosting Jacksonville in the finale.HOPKINS' MILESTONEWith a 10-yard reception in the third quarter, Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins topped 7,000 receiving yards in his career. At 26 years, 6 months, 3 days, Hopkins became the second-youngest player in NFL history to surpass 7,000 yards, behind only Larry Fitzgerald who was 26 years, 3 months and 20 days when he reached the mark.EBRON IN THE END ZONEWith his 12th receiving touchdown of the season, Colts tight end Eric Ebron set a franchise record for the position. The record was previously held by Dallas Clark. Ebron also has one rushing touchdown on the season. In four seasons with the Lions, Ebron totaled 11 touchdown catches and one rushing touchdown.ASTROS IN ATTENDANCEHouston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, infielder/outfielder Marwin Gonzalez and pitcher Lance McCullers were all in attendance, with Bregman wearing a custom No. 2 Texans jersey with his name on the back. Bregman also briefly played catch with Watt on the sidelines during pre-game warmups.INJURIESTexans receiver and kick returner Deandre Carter left in the first quarter and was later ruled out with a concussion. . Colts right guard Mark Glowinski was carted to the locker room in the second quarter with an ankle injury.UP NEXTColts: Host the Cowboys next Sunday.Texans: Visit the Jets next Saturday. For the first time in a decade, the top seed in the AFC playoffs goes to a team not led by Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.The Kansas City Chiefs earned the No. 1 seed for the first time since 1997 after switching from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes , the sensational second-year star who reminds so many of Brett Favre.The New England Patriots lost five times on the road but still managed to win their customary first-round bye, slipping past the Houston Texans to earn a week off to rest for the 10th consecutive year. They're the only teams back in the AFC playoffs following a year of comebacks.The Texans return from a year's absence thanks to the remarkable rebounds of J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson . The Chargers rode a refined Philip Rivers to their first playoff berth in five years, and the Colts crashed the playoff party for the first time since 2014 behind Andrew Luck's rousing return .The Colts visit the Texans on Saturday in the wild-card round Benardrick McKinney Color Rush Jersey , and on Sunday the Chargers play at Baltimore, where the Ravens ended a four-year drought by rallying behind Lamar Jackson , the last of the "Big Five" rookie QBs drafted in the first round, but the first to make it to the playoffs.Strength and weakness of each of the six AFC playoff teams:1. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (12-4). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 4. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 4, 23-7 over Minnesota on Jan. 11, 1970.SHOOTOUT: The Chiefs haven't had a true franchise QB since Len Dawson led them to their only Super Bowl title. But after letting him learn the ropes under Alex Smith, Mahomes broke out with one of the best seasons in NFL history for a first-year starter (5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns ). K.C. scored at least 26 points in every game, the only team ever to do so.STRIKEOUT: The defense is a dud. Their four losses this season came when they put forth as much resistance as tissue paper: shootout losses to the Rams, Patriots and Seahawks and a fourth-quarter meltdown against the Chargers. Of course, those are all playoff-bound teams. Don't forget on offense the ouster of RB Kareem Hunt , who had 14 TDs. The Chiefs have gone 3-2 since cutting last year's rushing champ.SHOUTOUT: "I always feel like there is a bull's-eye every week, and that's OK. That's the way you want it. We've earned the right to be in this position." — Coach Andy Reid.2. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-4). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 5 (tie). Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 51, 34-28, OT, over Atlanta on Feb. 5, 2017.FAR OUT: At 41, he finally showed signs of age this season. But having Tom Brady on their roster makes the Patriots a title contender. Coming off an MVP season, Brady fell off — by his lofty standards — with 4,355 yards, 29 TDs and 11 interceptions. Getting a week off to rest is important because the Patriots have not been a wild-card team since 2009, when they were blown out by Baltimore.FLAME OUT: Every time Brady has won a Super Bowl ring, he had a star-studded defense helping him. The Patriots have given up 30 or more points five times this season, going 2-3. They haven't been able to get to the quarterback like last year, when they were tied for seventh in the league with 42 sacks. This season, they tied for 30th with just 30 sacks.SHOUTOUT: "11-5 is nothing to be sad about. I mean, we fought pretty hard and put ourselves in a decent position here Jordan Akins Color Rush Jersey , and now we've got to go try to take advantage of it." — Brady.3. HOUSTON TEXANS (11-5). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 7. No Lombardis.ROUT: QB Deshaun Watson is healthy again as evidenced by his eight TD throws and no interceptions in the last six games while running for 276 yards and four TDs. DeAndre Hopkins was second in the NFL with a career-high 1,572 yards receiving. J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney combined for 25 sacks and 34 tackles for loss. Watt also forced seven fumbles after playing just eight games over two injury-shortened seasons.POUT: The Texans enter the playoffs thin at receiver behind Hopkins after losing Will Fuller (knee) midseason and Demaryius Thomas , a trade deadline pickup from Denver, to a torn Achilles tendon last month. There is also concern about the porous O-line after Watson was sacked an NFL-leading 62 times this season. That kind of duress can negate any franchise QB. Adding to the pressure is a less-than-impressive ground game.SHOUTOUT: "This team is one of the few teams to come back from 0-3 and to qualify for the playoffs and win the division. We have a tough football team." — Coach Bill O'Brien.4. BALTIMORE RAVENS (10-6). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 9. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 47, 34-31 over San Francisco on Feb. 1, 2013.BREAKOUT: The Ravens are dangerous if rookie QB Lamar Jackson shows the same poise he displayed in leading Baltimore on a 6-1 streak after taking over from an injured Joe Flacco. With Jackson efficiently operating the run-pass option , Baltimore controlled the clock and the rested defense manhandled opponents. John Harbaugh's Ravens boast the NFL's second-ranked rushing attack and No. 1 defense.DROPOUT: Baltimore beat the Chargers in L.A. on Dec. 22, but QB Philip Rivers should be ready for the rematch against a defense that last week was burned by Baker Mayfield for 376 yards and three TDs. Jackson ran for nearly 700 yards, but with only one career game of 200 yards passing, there's still some question whether he can bring Baltimore back from a deficit with his arm.SHOUTOUT: "This is what a real team looks like. They block out all the outside, turn to each other for strength and are there for one another. … This is the best team I've been around." — Harbaugh.5. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (12-4). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 5 (tie). No Lombardis. Lost Super Bowl 28 to San Francisco 49-26 in 1995.CLOUT: Philip Rivers had a 105.5 passer rating in 2018, equaling his career best. Melvin Gordon had 1,309 yards from scrimmage and 14 TDs and Austin Ekeler emerged as a change-of-pace back. Keenan Allen led the team in catches again but Mike Williams developed into another big-play receiver. The Chargers also aren't fazed by hitting the road , where they were 7-1 with wins at Seattle, Pittsburgh and Kansas City.DOUBT: The Chargers head into the playoffs with only one healthy starter at linebacker. Denzel Perryman and Jatavis Brown are out with season-ending injuries and their replacements are undersized, something opponents will certainly scheme to exploit. They've been outscored 43-14 in the first quarter of the past six games as Rivers has thrown an interception on the first drive in each of the last three games.SHOUTOUT: "We just had to be in the playoffs. Our goal is to try to make a run and try to get to the Super Bowl." — CB Casey Hayward Jr.6. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (10-6). AP Pro32 Ranking: No. 8. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 41, 29-17 over Chicago on Feb. 4, 2007.BLOWOUT: The Comeback Colts got into the playoffs with a three-pronged combo they've rarely had: balanced offense, stout defense and championship-caliber QB. Andrew Luck came back from a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder with the best overall season of his career. The revamped O-line allowed a league-low 18 sacks and the Colts have allowed 16.4 points over last eight games.BURNOUT: The Colts will spend the playoffs on the road with a roster that lacks much postseason experience. Only four players from Indy's last playoff team in 2014 will be active Sunday: Luck, T.Y. Hilton, Anthony Castonzo and Adam Vinatieri. Take out three players who own Super Bowl rings — Vinatieri, Jabaal Sheard and Najee Goode — and the other 46 players on the roster have a total of six playoff wins.SHOUTOUT: "That's every team's goal at the beginning of the season, to get into the dance, and we have climbed the mountain far enough to get into the playoffs. But our ultimate goals are still out there." — Vinatieri.
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