Lamar Miller led the way when the Houston Texans finally got the ball moving late Sunday night.
Now, he and the Texans just have to work on getting going before the game’s final minutes.
Miller scored two touchdowns and his 10-yard catch-and-run TD in the fourth quarter helped Houston cut a 14-point deficit to tie the game and force overtime. The Texans got a field goal in OT to beat the Indianapolis Colts 26-23.
“Lamar was offensively one of the big differences in the game,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “He just kept at it, he’s a heck of a football player and he had a good night.”
Miller finished with a season-high 149 yards rushing and added 29 yards receiving.
Houston (4-2) trailed 23-9 when he took a short pass from Brock Osweiler and cut one way before running into three defenders changing direction and evading four more Colts on his way to the end zone.
“I was just trying to make a play for this team,” he said. “I knew we were down two scores so once Brock got the ball in my hands, I was just trying to make a play.”
His first touchdown was a 1-yard run in the third quarter that was his first as a Texan.
Osweiler threw another TD pass moments after Miller’s catch-and-run, and then Nick Novak’s 33-yard field goal gave Houston the win in overtime.
Miller’s teammates raved about his performance.
“Lamar ran his tail off tonight,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be that easy early on, but we just wanted to keep chipping away at it, and eventually we could break open some big runs. We were able to that.”
Miller was especially effective after halftime when he piled up 83 yards rushing.
“We felt like he was the guy throughout the game that was probably playing the best on offense, so at halftime we said, ‘Look, we’ve got to keep finding ways to get this guy the ball,'” O’Brien said.
Some things we learned from Houston’s overtime win against Indianapolis.
CLOSE CALLS: Three of the four losses by Indianapolis (2-4) have come by four points or fewer, leaving coach Chuck Pagano looking for things his team can do to close out close games.
“It’s right there,” he said. “You cannot leave points out on the field. You’ve got to be able to score touchdowns, and you can’t settle for field goals … you can’t have penalties, you can’t have poor play.”
CLOWNEY KEEPS CONTRIBUTING: Houston’s Jadeveon Clowney, who was the top overall pick in the 2014 draft, continues to contribute in his first healthy season after struggling to stay in the field in his first two years in the NFL. He finished with four tackles and two quarterback hits on Sunday in his sixth straight start after not playing more than four straight games in his first two seasons.
“He’s very disruptive,” O’Brien said. “I really think that he’s coming into his own. People ask me a lot about moving positions; he plays all over the front … he’s a very difficult guy to block.”
TOUGH LUCK: Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had 252 yards passing with a touchdown and ran for 53 yards and another score, but was unable to move the offense in overtime. Luck, who had been sacked an NFL-most 20 times entering Sunday’s game, was sacked three times against the Texans, including one by Benardrick McKinney to force a punt in overtime.
“If you have the opportunity in this league, you have to put people away,” he said. “It’s too hard to win games when you’re surviving your mistakes. We had our opportunities … (the Texans) did what they needed to do to win a game — we didn’t.”
STRONG CATCH: Houston receiver Jaelen Strong didn’t have a reception in regulation but had perhaps the biggest catch of the night when he hauled in a 36-yard reception in overtime that set up the winning field goal. Strong, who is in his second season, has had limited playing time this year with the emergence of rookie first-round pick Will Fuller. But with Fuller managing a hamstring injury, Strong came through with the big grab.
“He just kept fighting,” Osweiler said. “He kept doing his job, and I’m so proud of his effort.”