Final

Colts 20

(12-4, 7-1 away)

Texans 17

(5-11, 3-5 home)

1:00 PM ET, December 28, 2003

 

1 2 3 4 T
IND 0 3 0 1720
HOU 0 10 7 017

Perfect season for Vanderjagt, title for Colts

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Indianapolis Colts couldn't back into the AFC South title, so Mike Vanderjagt kicked them in.

Vanderjagt hit his NFL-record 41st consecutive field goal, a 43-yarder as time expired Sunday, leading Indianapolis to a 20-17 victory over the Houston Texans to clinch the AFC South.

"The uprights look pretty big right now," Vanderjagt said. "I told myself, `If you hit it half-decent, it's going to go in more likely than not.' Doubt creeps in, but when you are hitting it this well, you kind of realize as long as you keep doing what you've been doing, it's going to go in."

The Colts host Denver in the first round of the playoffs next weekend. The Broncos, even without star running back Clinton Portis, won impressively at Indianapolis last weekend.

The Colts (12-4) were in trouble down the stretch, trailing 17-10 when Vanderjagt quick-kicked on a fake field goal try, pinning the Texans at their 4-yard line. Three plays later, David Carr threw a tipped ball right to Indianapolis safety Donald Strickland.

Peyton Manning converted on the next play, a 5-yard strike to a leaping Brandon Stokley with 3:55 remaining.

The Texans' offense faltered, but a holding penalty on a punt return forced the Colts to start the final drive from the 10. Indianapolis drove right back, buoyed by a big third-down catch by Marvin Harrison, to set up Vanderjagt's winner.

The Colts needed a win to secure their first division title since 1999 because Tennessee beat Tampa Bay on Sunday. Running back Edgerrin James, who ran for 171 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries, said the Colts kept their poise even when they trailed by two touchdowns in the third quarter.

"We could have had people cursing each other on the sidelines. That never happened," James said. "The defense gave us a chance, and what better opportunity could Vanderjagt have? We've been saying he's the best kicker in he league, even though this was his first Pro Bowl (election)."

Vanderjagt, whose streak began last year, finished the season 37-of-37. He eclipsed Gary Anderson's record of 40 straight field goals set from 1997-98 with San Francisco and Minnesota.

He had the game-winning, record-breaking ball tucked in his locker after the game, but he's not ready to memorialize it quite yet.

"I'm going to keep it until next season, when 42 comes," Vanderjagt said. "Then I'll throw it away."

Manning overcame a slow start to go 26-of-38 for 220 yards with one interception and the touchdown to Stokley, who had nine catches for 67 yards.

Houston (5-11) finished its second season with a four-game skid, but was optimistic after taking AFC South powers Tennessee and Indianapolis down to the wire in the final two games. The Texans' last seven home games were decided by less than a touchdown.

"We've had our share of close games," Texans coach Dom Capers said. "It's a step-by-step process. You wish you could snap your fingers, but it's not that way."

Texans rookie Domanick Davis ran for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Davis, a fourth-round draft choice, finished with 1,031 yards despite not winning the starting job until the sixth week and being inactive for two games.

Houston's other rookie star, third overall pick Andre Johnson, had five catches for 51 yards. He finished with 976 on the season, meaning he and Davis fell short of becoming the first rookie teammates to have 1,000 yards receiving and rushing.

The Texans led 10-3 at halftime because of Davis' first score. He found a hole and broke through four attempted tackles for an 11-yard run.

The teams otherwise traded field goals, including a 36-yarder by the Texans' Kris Brown set up by a 41-yard interception return by Marcus Coleman. The Texans almost had a touchdown moments earlier, but the officials reversed an 18-yard scoring play when replay clearly showed Johnson had just one foot inbounds.

Davis capped Houston's opening drive of the third quarter with a 13-yard TD run through traffic. The Colts perked up later in the period and Edgerrin James made it 17-10 when he ran virtually untouched for a 6-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. ^Notes:@ Mike Vanderjagt's 37 field goals also set the Colts' record for most in a season. Cary Blanchard made 36 in 1996. ... Marvin Harrison failed to extend his own record of consecutive 100-catch seasons to five. He had two catches and finished with 94 receptions for 1,272 yards. ... Texans cornerback Marcus Coleman set a career high with his seventh interception.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Scoring Summary

FOURTH QUARTERINDHOU
indTD4:11Touchdown
Drive info: 1 plays, 5 yds, 0:00
1617
ind4:11
Drive info: 1 plays, 5 yds, 0:00
1717
SECOND QUARTERINDHOU
houFG2:00Kris Brown 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 16 yds, 1:42
310
THIRD QUARTERINDHOU
houTD10:46Domanick Williams, 13 yd run
Drive info: 8 plays, 64 yds, 4:07
316
SECOND QUARTERINDHOU
houTD5:47Domanick Williams, 11 yd run
Drive info: 8 plays, 67 yds, 4:18
36
THIRD QUARTERINDHOU
hou10:46
Drive info: 8 plays, 64 yds, 4:07
317
SECOND QUARTERINDHOU
hou5:47
Drive info: 8 plays, 67 yds, 4:18
37
indFG11:02Mike Vanderjagt 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 54 yds, 15:01
30
FOURTH QUARTERINDHOU
indTD15:00Edgerrin James, 6 yd run
Drive info: 11 plays, 67 yds, 15:32
917
ind15:00
Drive info: 11 plays, 67 yds, 15:32
1017
indFG0:05Mike Vanderjagt 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 43 yds, 3:35
2017