Colts–Texans rivalry

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Colts–Texans football rivalry
First meetingSeptember 22, 2002
Colts 23, Texans 3
Latest meetingDecember 20, 2020
Colts 27, Texans 20
Next meetingTBD, 2021
Meetings total39
All-time seriesColts, 30–9
Postseason resultsColts, 1–0
Largest victoryColts, 49–14 (2004)
Longest win streakColts, 9 (2002–06)
Current win streakColts, 2
Championship Success
NFL Championships (5)

Conference Championships (7)

Division Championships (22)

The Colts–Texans rivalry is a professional American football rivalry in the National Football League (NFL) between the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans. While being one of the newest rivalries in the NFL due to the Texans' formation in 2002 and the Colts' reallocation to the AFC South division that year, this rivalry has increased in intensity over the late 2010s despite being lopsided in favor of Indianapolis during the 2000s.[1]

Though Colts fans generally view the Texans simply as a divisional opponent, many Texans fans see the Colts as their top rival due to their long period of dominance in the series.[2] Indianapolis won the first nine games in the series as they were a perennial Super Bowl contender under quarterback Peyton Manning while the Texans struggled in their first years in the NFL, finally attaining their first winning season in 2009 and becoming a playoff contender through much of the 2010s. Since then, the Colts and Texans have often squared off for the top spot in their division.[3][4]

The Colts lead the overall series, 30–9. The two teams have met once in the postseason, with the Colts winning 21–7 in the 2018 Wild Card round.[5]


Formation of the Texans and the AFC South[edit]

Houston's first NFL Team was the Houston Oilers, who had moved to Memphis, Tennessee and later Nashville, Tennessee to become the Tennessee Titans. Bob McNair then spearheaded an effort to get the NFL to create an expansion team in Houston to replace the Oilers and even out the league's teams at 32. In 1999, the NFL officially awarded the 32nd franchise to McNair. The Texans began playing in 2002.[6]

The formation of the Texans necessitated the reorganization of the league's divisions. The AFC South was created with the Texans joining as an expansion team, the Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars joining from the former AFC Central, and the Colts joining from the AFC East. The Titans and Jaguars were already rivals coming into the division, but the Colts and Texans would have to develop new divisional rivalries, as Indianapolis would leave behind its old rivalries from the AFC East, including a developing rivalry with the New England Patriots.


Efforts for Houston to develop any heated rivalries in the 2000s were for naught, as the Texans were one of the NFL's bottom tier teams for much of their first nine years of playing. Indianapolis, on the other hand, was one of the NFL's powerhouses, featuring a stellar offense with quarterback Peyton Manning and receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. The Colts won the division 7 out of 9 years during this period and managed to make the playoffs each time.

The Colts and Texans first met on September 22, 2002 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, with Manning passing for 272 yards and two touchdowns while Texans rookie quarterback David Carr struggled, only amassing 99 yards, an interception, and a 47.3 passer rating as the Colts routed the Texans 23–3.[7] The Colts wound up winning each of the first nine meetings between the teams, including a 49–14 victory at the RCA Dome in 2004,[8] before Houston finally beat Indianapolis in week 16 of the 2006 season. Peyton Manning wound up having a 16–2 record against the Texans while with the Colts before being released and signing with the Denver Broncos after sitting out the 2011 season due to injury.[9]

2011–present: Fight for AFC South supremacy[edit]

The Texans routed the Manning-less Colts 34–7 in Houston in during opening day of the 2011 season, but were upset during the rematch in Indianapolis after Colts backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky completed a last-minute pass to Reggie Wayne for a touchdown, allowing Indianapolis to win 19–16.[3] By the second game, both starting quarterbacks had been placed on injured reserve for the teams; in addition to Manning missing the whole season, Texans starter Matt Schaub had been sidelined with a Lisfranc injury, forcing rookie T. J. Yates to play in his stead.[10] Nonetheless, the Colts suffered a 2–14 season without Manning, while the Texans still made the playoffs despite Schaub missing the last six games of the season, winning the AFC South for their first division title and playoff berth in franchise history.

The Colts then obtained the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, which they then used to select Stanford quarterback and Houston native Andrew Luck to fill in the void left by Manning.[11] The Texans dominated the Colts during Luck's first game in the rivalry, clinching a second consecutive divisional title with the 29–17 win in week 15 of 2012. However, this would be Indianapolis' last divisional loss until 2015, as the Colts would win the next six in a row against Houston. Houston broke the streak with a 16–10 win at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 8, 2015, which was the first time the Texans beat the Colts on the road, ironically with longtime Texans receiver Andre Johnson on the Colts.[12][13][3] The following year, quarterback Brock Osweiler led the Texans to their first ever season sweep of the Colts in his only season with Houston.[14]

Despite the growing animosity between the two teams, many players and executives from the Colts organization helped the Texans with donations and fundraising in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey at the start of the 2017 season.[2] After both teams struggled in 2017, they met in the playoffs for the first time the following season. Houston had won the division thanks to strong play from quarterback Deshaun Watson and the defense, while Indianapolis had overcome a 1–5 start, including a 37–34 overtime loss to the Texans in which new head coach Frank Reich called a failed fourth-down conversion that ultimately led to Houston's game-winning field goal,[15] to clinch a wild-card berth at 10–6. The Colts won the game thanks to effective play from Luck, running back Marlon Mack, and their defense, keeping Houston scoreless until the fourth quarter with a 21–7 win.[16] Prior to the playoff game, there had been some banter between Colts receiver T. Y. Hilton and several members of the Texans defensive secondary, as Hilton was called a "clown" after making disparaging comments about the Texans.[17][18][3]

In 2019, the Texans and Colts were both in position to contend for the AFC South title, despite Indianapolis losing Andrew Luck to a sudden retirement prior to the season.[19][20] The Colts won the first meeting 30–23 thanks to four touchdown passes from new quarterback Jacoby Brissett,[21] but the Texans won 20–17 in week 12 thanks to two touchdown passes from Watson to receiver DeAndre Hopkins.[22]

Season-by-season results[edit]

Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans Season-by-Season Results

Connections between the teams[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Haislop, Todd (2019-06-17). "Ranking the NFL's best rivalries in 2019: The most heated of the hatred". Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  2. ^ a b Manfre, Peter (2017-08-31). "Texans' AFC South rivals show Houston compassion". Toro Times. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  3. ^ a b c d "Looking back at the top five moments of the Colts-Texans rivalry". Indianapolis Star. 2019-10-14. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  4. ^ Blystone, Chris (2018-11-20). "Who is the Colts' biggest rival?". Stampede Blue. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  5. ^ Jones, Kaelen (2019-01-05). "Colts vs. Texans History: Head-to-Head Record, All-Time Meetings". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  6. ^ "Texans Team History". NFL Enterprises, LLC. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  7. ^ "Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans - September 22nd, 2002". Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  8. ^ "Texans vs. Colts - Game Recap - November 14, 2004 - ESPN". Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  9. ^ "Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans Results — The Football Database". Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  10. ^ "Texans' Matt Schaub put on IR". Associated Press. November 23, 2011.
  11. ^ "Andrew Luck will be Indianapolis Colts' first pick in NFL draft".
  12. ^ "Texans vs. Colts - Box Score - December 20, 2015 - ESPN". Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  13. ^ "Texans Get First Ever Win In Indianapolis 16-10; Take Division Lead". CBS Houston. 2015-12-20. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  14. ^ "Texans defeat Colts 22-17 in Indy to sweep season series". KPRC. 2016-12-12. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  15. ^ Wagner-McGough, Sean (2018-09-30). "Colts' Frank Reich defends costly fourth-down overtime decision: 'I'll do that 10 times out of 10'". Retrieved 2020-03-18.
  16. ^ Doyel, Gregg (2019-11-05). "Doyel: Colts beat up Texans to take this nasty streak into Kansas City". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  17. ^ Indiana, George Bremer CNHI Sports (2019-10-19). "Colts, Texans fuel up for rivalry revival". Herald Bulletin. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  18. ^ Chipps, Isaac (2019-01-07). "T.Y. Hilton's clown troll is now a T-shirt for Colts fans". Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  19. ^ EST, Dan Cancian On 11/21/19 at 3:00 PM (2019-11-21). "How to watch Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football". Newsweek. Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  20. ^ Wells, Mike (24 August 2019). "Luck retires, calls decision 'hardest of my life'". Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  21. ^ Nardiello, Phil (2019-10-20). "Colts beat Texans 30-23 to take lead in AFC South". FOX59. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  22. ^ Ayello, Jim (2019-11-21). "Houston Texans defeat Indianapolis Colts in game that could decide AFC South winner". The Clarion Ledger. Retrieved 2019-11-30.