Texans tie Colts after squandering a commanding lead

Squandering a commanding lead, the Texans finished with a 20-20 tie to open the season following a scoreless overtime Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium.

Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, whose field goal sent the game into overtime in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, shanked a potential game-winning field goal wide right.

That set the stage for Texans second-year quarterback Davis Mills to try to position Texans kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn, but the drive never gained momentum as the Colts defense rose to the occasion and the Texans punted with Cameron Johnston punting 43 yards down to the Colts' 6-yard line with 20 seconds left.

The Texans built a 20-3 lead through three quarters, but were outscored 17-0 in the fourth quarter as Colts quarterback Matt Ryan engineered an epic comeback.

Colts Pro Bowl running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for 161 yards and one touchdown in this AFC South division matchup.

Ryan completed 32 of 50 passes for 332 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Led by an opportunistic defense and Mills, the Texans were competitive against a Colts team that swept them last season in the annual AFC South division series by a combined margin of 62-3.

Mills completed 23 of 37 passes for 240 yards, two touchdowns and one interception and a 98.9 passer rating. He was sacked three times.

Throughout the past two weeks, those lopsided defeats were characterized as embarrassing by the Texans' players and coaches.

On Sunday, the Texans, in their first game under new head coach Lovie Smith, displayed a much better brand of football.

Mills connected twice with new tight end O.J. Howard for touchdown passes.

Defensive end Jerry Hughes, a Sugar Land native and Willowridge graduate, acquired in the offseason and a former Colts first-round draft pick, diagnosed a screen play and intercepted Ryan.

The Texans' running game was unproductive.

They rushed for just 77 yards on 28 carries, averaging just 2.8 yards per run. Veteran runner Rex Burkhead rushed for 40 yards on 14 carries, averaging 2.9 yards per run. Rookie running back Dameon Pierce, a preseason sensation, gained 33 yards on 11 carries with a long run of eight yards.

After finishing 4-13 a year ago, the Texans look like they've made some definite improvements.

Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and a contributor to KPRC 2 and click2houston.com

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans

Photo: Getty Images

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