The Indianapolis Colts have perfected the art of the comeback in their undefeated march toward the playoffs.
Peyton Manning threw for three touchdowns and the Colts rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit Sunday for a 35-27 win, their 20th straight regular-season victory. Indianapolis (11-0) is one win shy of the New England Patriots' NFL-record 21-game run from 2006-08. The Colts can tie the record if they beat Tennessee at home next weekend.
The Colts improved to 15-1 against Houston (5-6) in their fifth straight come-from-behind win. They became the first team to secure a playoff berth and gained the AFC South title Sunday evening when San Francisco beat Jacksonville 20-3.
"We don't get overexcited certainly when things aren't going the way we want them to," Manning said. "We don't panic, we don't yell, we don't throw helmets. We just try to put the series behind us and move on to the next one. There was a lot of that (Sunday)."
Manning threw two first-half interceptions, but had a pair of second-half TD passes, including a 4-yarder to Dallas Clark that gave the Colts a 21-20 lead with about nine minutes left.
Clint Session stretched the lead to 28-20 when he returned an interception by Matt Schaub 26 yards for a touchdown seconds later.
"That's a good team over there, but we're the Colts," Session said. "We do things the right way and we try to get every win we can get."
Schaub fumbled on Houston's next possession and Chad Simpson's touchdown run put the game out of reach.
"If you doubt, you're done," Reggie Wayne said. "It's just like showing a bad poker face. If they see that, you're in trouble. Guys just stick with it. We knew the defense was going to pick it up. We know we have to take care of the offense and get some drives going."
Houston, which has lost three straight, was all but unstoppable in the first half, and the Texans scored on their first four possessions.