Thu, 28 Jan 2021

The Rivals | Vandermeer's View

Houston Texans
05 Dec 2020, 18:02 GMT+10

Marc Vandermeer

John Harris asked me a simple question on the air this week. "Does this one get your blood boiling more than any other game?"

There was a simple answer. "Yes."

This is the Colts. All you have to do is say the name and I start thinking about the pain, the joy, the struggles, the journey. There's so much to this rivalry.

I get asked that a lot too - is this a rivalry?

I think the Texans have earned their way into calling it that lately. The series is still dominated by the Colts 27-9 and a staggering 15-3 in Indy.

But let's look closer, shall we?

Peyton Manning played for the first nine years of this thing and went 16-2. It took 10 attempts and the Texans finally broke through with a win on Christmas Eve in 2006 as Kris Brown hit a field goal to send the fans and players into delirium.

A six game series losing streak followed that day, including the infamous Rosencopter game in '08, another blown 17 point lead at NRG in 2009 and a missed would-be game tying field goal at the buzzer up there in '09.

Arian Foster's 231 yard rushing performance in the 2010 opener started a new era in the series. The Texans would begin to win more. They split in '10, '11 and '12 before losing six straight. But since then, it's a 5-5 series in the regular season over the last five years, with Houston going 3-2 on the road in that span.

Even though the Texans are still technically the defending division champs and the Colts haven't won the AFC South since 2014, no one is ready to say Houston has taken over the series. Not when Indy came into NRG and stunned the Texans in the 2018 season playoffs.

The series, from a Houston perspective, has some quarterback oddities. For instance, Dan Orlovsky, a former Texans QB, engineered a Week 16 win over Houston in 2011. The Colts went 2-14 while the Texans finally took the division. The loss cost the Texans a possible shot at a bye.

In 2015, Matt Hasselbeck was so sick he almost missed the trip but still threw two TDs to Andre Johnson in a prime time victory at NRG Stadium. And Jacoby Brissett, who lost his job to Phillip Rivers this year is 4-1 all time against Houston (3-1 as a Colt), including a victory going head to head against Deshaun Watson up there in 2019.

The other contributor to calling it a rivalry is that these teams have met in the playoffs. Yes, it did not go well for Houston. But rivalries earn more stripes but taking the stage in the post season and there's one round in the books.

The latest installment features a Colts team that's coming off a rough loss to the Titans. Another here really dents their playoff hopes. Houston is hoping to win three in a row and build a magical run.

Whatever the case, all you have to do is see that royal blue uniform on the other side and you know it's big, dramatic and it'll be memorable.

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