HOUSTON 鈥?A year ago at this time Andrew Luck was at home struggling with an injured shoulder that cost him the entire season.On Saturday he wrote a happy ending to the latest chapter of his comeback season Justin Reid Jersey White
, throwing for 222 yards and two touchdowns and the Indianapolis Colts raced out to a big lead and cruised to a 21-7 win over the Houston Texans in the wild-card game.Luck put on a show聽in his hometown in a stadium where he’d attended games throughout childhood and played in them since high school, throwing for 191 yards and two touchdowns before halftime to help the Colts (11-6) build a 21-0 lead.He denied feeling “at home” at NRG Stadium, but admitted to having warm feelings for the city he grew up in and where his grandparents and many friends still reside.“But it’s still an away stadium,” he said. “It was very loud, very energetic, but fun to win, certainly.”Running back Marlon Mack had 148 yards and a touchdown for Indianapolis, which advances to face the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round next weekend.“We know we have an elite quarterback and we can throw it for 400 and win when we have to,” Indianapolis coach Frank Reich said.“But the margin for error in playoff football when you try to do it that way is very thin. When you can win like this 鈥?running the football and stopping it 鈥?that’s just everything.”Houston (11-6), which overcame a 0-3 start to win the AFC South, gave up too many big plays and couldn’t get anything going on offense in the first half to fall into the huge hole.Deshaun Watson, who was sacked an NFL-leading 62 times in the regular season, was sacked three times and hit eight more times in a disappointing playoff debut. He finished with 235 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception.“Just a lack of execution on our part,” Watson said. “We didn’t make plays. I didn’t make plays. Communication was a little off. You just got to give the Colts the credit.”The Colts, who opened the season 1-5, continued an impressive run by winning their fifth straight and for the 10th time in 11 games. Saturday was their first playoff appearance since the AFC championship game loss at New England in the “Deflategate” game in the 2014 season.It was another good game in a splendid season for Luck. He threw for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns in the regular season after missing all of 2017 with a shoulder injury.The Texans didn’t score until rookie Keke Coutee聽grabbed a 6-yard touchdown pass聽to cap a 16-play, 89-yard drive that included a fourth-down conversion that cut it to 21-7 with about 11 minutes left.They led the NFL with nine comeback wins this season Womens Ryan Griffin Jersey
, but their attempt at a rally ended on their next possession when Watson’s pass on fourth-and-10 from the Indianapolis 24 fell short with about four minutes left.Luck threw for 863 yards with six touchdowns as the teams split two meetings in the regular season. He picked up right where he left off in this one, when he found Eric Ebron on a 6-yard TD pass on their first drive. That play was set up by a 38-yard catch by T.Y. Hilton, who had 63 yards receiving on that drive.“We didn’t have a lot of guys that made the playoffs so the guys that made the playoffs wanted to go out there and set the tone early, try to get the crowd out of the game,” Hilton said. “That’s what we did.”Hilton didn’t have any catches on the next drive, but the Colts still drove down the field easily and made it 14-0 on a 2-yard run by Mack later in the first.Houston went for it on fourth-and-4 from the Indianapolis 45 on its second possession and Watson was intercepted by Kenny Moore II. It was his first interception since he threw two against the Redskins on Nov. 18.The Colts got to the 17 after that before J.J. Watt deflected Luck’s pass and he was intercepted by Brandon Dunn. But the Texans couldn’t move the ball and had to punt.Indianapolis pushed the lead to 21-0 when Luck connected with Dontrelle Inman on an 18-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.“It’s very frustrating when they’re able to execute and get their job done,” Watt said. “We had a couple of big penalties early in the game as well. But you have to overcome it and you have to find a way to win.”The Texans had a fourth-and-1 from the 9 late in the second quarter and went for it again instead of settling for a field goal. The gamble didn’t pay off when Watson’s pass to DeAndre Hopkins was low and bounced in front of him in the end zone.INJURIESColts: Safety Malik Hooker left in the third quarter with a foot injury. … S Mike Mitchell injured his calf in the third quarter and didn’t return.Texans: Safety Justin Reid injured his ribs in the second quarter and didn’t return. … Hopkins said he played most of the game with a Grade 3 AC sprain of his right shoulder after injuring it in the first half.UP NEXTColts: Travel to Kansas City where the Chiefs were 7-1 in the regular season.Texans: The Texans have some decisions to make in the offseason with defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and safety Tyrann Mathieu both becoming free agents. They might use the franchise tag to keep Clowney, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft. Barring ties in Week 17 — and there are some wild scenarios should certain games end in draws Sunday — the road to the playoffs is quite straight in the NFC. The path to a first-round bye in the AFC has a bunch of curves in it.Already in are NFC division winners Dallas (East), New Orleans (South), Chicago (North) and the Los Angeles Rams (West). AFC divisions clinched belong to New England in the East and, well, nobody else. But there are clear leaders .Seattle owns an NFC wild card, and the LA Chargers have one in the AFC, though they can still win the AFC West.“You either believe in something or you don’t,” says coach Pete Carroll, whose 9-6 Seahawks made the postseason in what was considered a rebuilding year. “I think just staying the course and knowing we’re on to something. Believing in the history. We know what we’re capable of doing. We’ve shown it over a lot of years. You’re always adapting, but it’s staying what you’re true to. I think that’s what is happening. We look like a team that we have seen before, and that’s powerful.”Most powerful so far has been New Orleans Womens Stephen Anderson Jersey
, with the league’s best record at 13-2, and a dynamic offense led by Drew Brees. The Saints have home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.The Rams (12-3) get the other opening-round bye if they beat San Francisco on Sunday. If they lose and the Bears win at Minnesota, Chicago (11-4) earns the week off and Los Angeles drops to the third seed.A Bears win also could keep the Vikings (8-6-1) out of the postseason, providing defending champion Philadelphia (8-7) wins at Washington. Only the Vikings or Eagles can get the second NFC wild card.“We’ve got to empty the bucket, and that’s the way we’ve got to play next week at home,” Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph says. “I’m really looking forward to that environment.”In the AFC, seeding is more muddled. Any of four teams could be the top or second seed.The simplest route is if Kansas City (11-4) and New England (10-5), currently the top two in the conference, both win Sunday. But if the Chiefs lose at home to Oakland and the Chargers (11-4) win at Denver, Los Angeles moves into the top spot.Houston (10-5) also could wind up No. 1 in the AFC with losses by the Chiefs, Patriots against the Jets, and Chargers. New England, the only unbeaten team at home this year, would get the first seed with a victory and losses by the Chiefs and Chargers.And get this: Houston doesn’t even own a division title. If the Texans fall at home to Jacksonville, the winner of the Colts at Titans game in Tennessee takes the AFC South, and the Texans become a wild card, joining either the Chiefs or Chargers.Texans coach Bill O’Brien, whose club began the season 0-3 www.thetexanslockerroom.com/authentic-senio-kelemete-jersey
, is intrigued by the division being so ensconced in the playoff picture this year.“I think that’s an interesting question because I can remember the question was, two years ago, ‘Why is the AFC South so bad?'” he says. “Now, ‘Why is it so good?’“…I’ve never thought it was bad. I think every year it’s been extremely difficult to win games in the division. I just think there’s a lot of great coaches. You’ve got Frank (Reich) in Indy, Mike (Vrabel) in Tennessee, Doug (Marrone) in Jacksonville. You’ve got a lot of great players, quarterbacks, so you’ve got a tough division.”The AFC division often looked at as the toughest has been the North, which, not surprisingly, has come down to Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh. Except the Ravens (9-6) host the Browns, while the Steelers (8-6-1) must beat visiting Cincinnati and hope their archenemies from Cleveland sidetrack Baltimore, either beating or tying the Ravens.Neither the Ravens nor the Steelers can be a wild card — except if Pittsburgh ties the Bengals, then Indianapolis and Tennessee also tie. Then the Steelers are in.Of course, Pittsburgh also can win the North with a draw and a loss by Baltimore.Your head spinning yet?