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Colts use big 1st quarter to get 33-28 win over Houston Texans and take 1st place in AFC South

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HOUSTON — Andrew Luck tried not to make too much of the Indianapolis Colts' victory over the Houston Texans.

Yet the quarterback couldn't help but be a little excited after the 33-28 win Thursday night gave Indianapolis first place in the AFC South.

"I realize it's only Week 6 so it's not a Super Bowl, and it's not anything too, too special," he said. "But to beat a real darn-good football team like that is huge for us."

The Colts (4-2) led 24-0 after one quarter, but allowed Houston (3-3) to cut it to five points early in the fourth on J.J. Watt's fumble return for a touchdown.

The Texans had two opportunities to take the lead late, but the Colts recovered fumbles by Andre Johnson and Ryan Fitzpatrick in the last five minutes.

"You can finally start to see the type of defense that we envisioned a long time ago to go out there and do that week in and week out," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said.

Luck finished with 370 yards passing and three touchdowns for his fourth straight 300-yard passing game. T.Y. Hilton had a career-high 223 yards receiving with a touchdown.

The Texans were driving with less than 5 minutes remaining when Johnson — called for pass interference two plays earlier — caught a 13-yard pass and fumbled.

Watt knocked down Luck's pass on third down on Indy's next drive to give Houston one last chance. But Bjoern Werner sacked Fitzpatrick and stripped the ball, and D'Qwell Jackson recovered.

"We fought. We gave it a good shot, a good run but in the end we didn't make enough plays," Watt said.

Houston coach Bill O'Brien was at a loss about why his team can't get things going early.

"I don't know," he said. "We haven't started well yet so got to try to figure it out."

Five things to know about Indy's win over Houston:

PHOTO: Indianapolis Colts' Andrew Luck (12) loses the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, in Houston. Houston's J.J. Watt recovered the ball and returned it for a 45-yard touchdown. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Indianapolis Colts' Andrew Luck (12) loses the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, in Houston. Houston's J.J. Watt recovered the ball and returned it for a 45-yard touchdown. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

LUCK ROLLING: Luck is off to the best start of his career and leads the NFL with 1,987 yards passing and 17 touchdowns. He threw touchdown passes of 5, 4 and 33 yards on Thursday night.

WATT A PLAYER: Watt, who was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, has been almost unstoppable this season. Watt had two sacks and swatted down two passes on Thursday night and his 45-yard fumble return for a touchdown was his third score this season.

"He's a great, great player," Pagano said. "He's one of the most dominant players in the game right now. He'll go down as one of the best defensive players ... to play the game."

After getting some grief from his teammates after a failed attempt at a dance called the 'Nae Nae' the last time he scored, Watt tried it again this time and it was much better. He waved one hand in the air and swayed his hips wildly while flanked by A.J. Bouye and Whitney Mercilus, who joined in on the dance.

Watt was disappointed that Houston lost another close game after falling to the Cowboys in overtime last week, but was encouraged by how they played after the first quarter.

"It's a tough loss, it is frustrating," he said. "But it's definitely not time to panic."

HILTON'S BIG DAY: Hilton's career game came in large part because of a huge first quarter, when he had 140 yards receiving.

"He's a game wrecker, a game breaker," Pagano said. "We all know that. He came up big."

Hilton had four receptions of more than 30 yards on Thursday night and said making long plays is always a goal for him.

"Every game we try to hit a chunk," Hilton said. "We always talk about chunk plays, so whenever we get a chance, we want to make sure we hit them."

JOHNSON'S MILESTONE: Johnson finished with 99 yards receiving to give him 13,080, making him the 15th player in NFL history to reach 13,000. But he couldn't celebrate the milestone because of his late fumble.

"I still think we should have won the game," he said. "I think my turnover was probably the biggest mistake of the game, took the momentum that we had going down. I really thought we were going to go down and get points."

ANOTHER 100 FOR FOSTER: Arian Foster had 109 yards rushing with two scores for Houston, his fourth 100-yard game this season and the 29th of his career. It was the 13th multi-touchdown game of his career and he has 50 career rushing touchdowns.


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