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Colts 25, Texans 3

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS - Andrew Luck passed for 180 yards and two touchdowns as the Indianapolis Colts strolled through a 25-3 rout of the Houston Texans on Sunday.

The Colts (9-5) were missing nine starters but breezed past a floundering Houston team that lost its 12th straight. T.Y. Hilton had a career-high eight catches for 78 yards and Griff Whalen, a teammate of Luck's at Stanford, caught his first career touchdown after being signed from the practice squad the day before the game.

Since going 6-2 in the first half of the season, Indianapolis had lost three of its last five, struggling with injuries and unproductive play in the first half of games. But the Colts raced to a 20-3 halftime lead, got two interceptions from cornerback Darius Butler and limited the Texans to 239 yards total offense.

Houston (2-12) played its first game under interim head coach Wade Phillips. Owner Bob McNair fired longtime coach Gary Kubiak after the Texans committed 14 penalties at Jacksonville on Dec. 5. The change did nothing to spark the Texans, who cost themselves 114 yards on 14 more penalties another ugly defeat.

Coming off back-to-back AFC South titles, Houston had ceded the division crown to the Colts, who clinched last week. They improved to 5-0 within the division and 12-0 all-time against the Texans in Indianapolis.

Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis set franchise career and single-season sack records in style in the third quarter. Known for stripping the ball from the hands of quarterbacks, Mathis knocked it loose from Houston's Case Keenum in the end zone resulting in a safety. Mathis reached 16.5 sacks on the season and 108 in his career, besting marks previously held by former rush partner Dwight Freeney.

Adam Vinatieri kicked field goals of 37, 43 and 40 yards for Indianapolis, which travels to Kansas City next week in a possible playoff preview.

Luck completed 19 of 32 passes, while Whalen set career highs with four receptions for 45 yards. He beat cornerback Kareem Jackson for a 14-yard TD on the day's opening drive.

Trent Richardson gained 102 yards from scrimmage, his best effort since coming to the Colts via trade from Cleveland in October. He gave Indianapolis a 17-3 lead on a 9-yard shovel pass from Luck in the second quarter.

The Colts enjoyed their second halftime lead since Oct. 20. They had been outscored in the first half by an average of 16.7 points over their previous six games.

Running back Ben Tate rushed 16 times for 72 yards for Houston. Following cornerback Johnathan Joseph's interception of Luck, Randy Bullock's 49-yard field goal made it 7-3.

NOTES: Colts fill-in RG Joe Reitz left the game in the first half and was evaluated by medical personnel for a possible concussion. ... Hall of Fame RBs Marshall Faulk and Eric Dickerson were inducted into the Colts' Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony. Dickerson played parts of five seasons for Indianapolis, leading the NFL in rushing in 1988. Faulk, drafted second overall by the Colts in 1994, was traded after five seasons with the team. ... Texans WR Andre Johnson, who burned Indy for three touchdowns and 229 yards on nine catches on Nov.3, was held to four receptions for 18 yards.
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