Hilton's big day helped the Colts sneak out a 24-21 win over the Texans, ending Houston's nine-game win streak on Sunday at NRG Stadium. The Texans' loss came at the worst time especially with the New England Patriots losing to the Miami Dolphins. A win would have put the Texans sitting in the second spot in the AFC.
"Give the Colts a bunch of credit. Frank [Reich] had that team ready to play," Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said after the loss. "They did a nice job and we were ready to play but we didn't do a good job of coaching or playing today."
O'Brien continued, "If you don't coach well enough, you don't play well enough, you're going to have a hard time beating anyone."
The Texans have relied on their running game to get their offense going, but they were only able to average 3.6 yards per carry on the ground. Lamar Miller rushed for 33 yards (2.4) and Alfred Blue had 21 yards (3.5) on the ground. It was the Texans' lowest output since their win over the Buffalo Bills in early October when they rushed for 74 yards.
"We didn't play well as an offense. It is always going to be the quarterback, the head coach," O'Brien said. "I totally understand that but it just wasn't very good as an offense. We were not able to get into a rhythm, our first down offense was terrible. It was awful."
Deshaun Watson had a day that had some critical mistakes even though he completed 71.1 percent of his passes for 267 yards and a touchdown. Watson missed wide-open scoring chances on deep passes to both Demaryius Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins, both who had clear runs to the end zone.
Also, Watson missed a key check down late in the game with a high pass to Miller that would have put the Texans into field-goal range.
Watson took some sacks that could have been avoided and O'Brien knows that Watson has to correct those mistakes, especially on getting the ball out on time.
"We have to find that balance, no doubt about it," O'Brien said of Watson's play. "Got a little out of whack today. Some of it is blocking, some of it is route running. It is just not one thing. There are times where he needs to get rid of the ball, we have to continue to work on it."
The Texans' offense had one of their worst outputs of the season and it started with a suspect running game. Add in a defense that could not slow the Colts' offense when it started waking up, and it was a recipe for disaster for the Texans that they could not recover from.
"Today we did not combine the coverage and rush like we have been doing in previous games," O'Brien explained. "If we're not covering well, the rush isn't getting home, maybe one is happening, something else isn't happening, we're going to have a hard time. We've got to get back to that. We've got to get back to doing a better job of coaching that, executing it on the field."
The Texans' defense could not slow the Colts' offense, which amassed 436 total yards.
Andrew Luck threw for 399 yards and two touchdowns, one to Zach Pascal and another to Eric Ebron. The Colts' big plays victimized the Texans' defense and were able to produce six pass plays of 20-plus yards and the biggest coming to Hilton when he beat Texans safety Justin Reid for a 60-yard completion to get the Colts into scoring position.
Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu is not worried about the lack of coverage the past two games.
"I'm not worried at all," Mathieu said. "Obviously, it's something you want to cut down. Teams are going to come in here, they can't run the football. They going to throw the football 50-60 times a game. We have to do a great job at really discussing covering, rolling coverage and put ourselves in position to where we can make plays on the ball as well."
Now sitting at 9-4 with a two-game lead in the AFC South, the Texans' loss stings but it keeps them in control of their own destiny on making the playoffs.
"Look, I do not like what happened today but I am fine with where we are," O'Brien said of his team after the loss. "This is the NFL, we did not do a good enough job today. The Colts did a much better job than us. There is a lot of football left. Again, we have a good locker room. We have guys that are going to show back up and get back to work."