By Michael Marot
AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS Carson Wentz threw two touchdown passes, Jonathan Taylor ran for two more and the Indianapolis defense held up in the second half Sunday as the Colts blew out Houston 31-3.
Indy rebounded from an embarrassing fourth-quarter collapse at Baltimore by winning for the second time in three weeks. The Colts can now move within one game of the AFC South lead — if Buffalo beats Tennessee on Monday.
Houston has lost five straight overall and six of the last seven against the Colts.
And this one changed quickly in the second half — in the exact opposite direction of the Monday night fiasco.
Two-time All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard picked off rookie quarterback Davis Mills on Houston’s first play of the third quarter. Wentz capitalized two plays later with a 28-yard TD pass to Mo Alie-Cox to make it 17-3.
Taylor started Indy’s next series with an 83-yard run and capped it with a 4-yard TD rush to make it 24-3, and the reeling Texans spent the rest of the game futilely playing catch-up and getting nowhere.
Taylor added an 11-yard touchdown run with 4:47 left to make it 31-3. He finished with 14 carries for 145 yards while Wentz was 11 of 20 for 223 yards.
Mills was 20 of 43 with 243 yards and two interceptions. Mark Ingram II had 18 carries for 73 yards and Brandin Cooks caught nine passes for 89 yards.
Texans: Receiver Danny Amendola was expected to return from a thigh injury but instead missed his fourth straight game. Starting center Justin Britt (knee) was replaced by Justin McCray and left tackle Laremy Tunsil did not play after having surgery on his left thumb earlier this week. Texans safety Terrence Brooks suffered a chest injury on Parris Campbell’s TD catch and did not return. Receiver Chris Conley left briefly after hurting his neck.
Colts: Right tackle Braden Smith missed his fifth straight game with foot and thumb injuries but receiver T.Y. Hilton (neck surgery) helped open up the offense in his season debut. Kicker Michael Badgley was perfect after replacing Rodrigo Blankenship (hip), who went on injured reserve Saturday. Campbell left in the first half (foot) after catching the 51-yard TD pass. He did not return. Cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (ankle) and Hilton (quad) were held out after getting hurt late.
Giovanni Hamilton, the teenage boy who developed a special relationship with Carson Wentz when he was in Philadelphia, attended Sunday’s game as Wentz’s guest.
They first met at training camp in 2019 and Hamilton later unveiled Wentz’s new No. 2 jersey following a March trade that sent Wentz from Philadelphia to Indy. Hamilton has Schwartz-Jampel Syndrome, which causes permanent muscle stiffness and bone abnormalities. Wentz promised he would bring him to a game in Indy.
He watched pregame warmups from the Colts sideline and even got a pregame hug from Wentz.
“Giovanni, you da man! You inspire me to be a better man and better fighter!” Wentz wrote on a football he gave Hamilton. “Much love and respect. God bless you buddy!”
Texans: face former receiver DeAndre Hopkins next Sunday at Arizona.
Colts: head to San Francisco next Sunday night.