Growing up, we sports fans all rooted for our certain teams, and unless you rooted for the equivalent of the modern day New England Patriots or Alabama Crimson Tide, you rarely had your hearts ripped from your chest on a regular basis. Me, I didn't root for these teams, so I knew what loss felt like, watching my beloved Hartford Whalers routinely fall short against in gut wrenching fashion to the Montreal Canadiens, or my Philadelphia 76ers get done in by Larry Bird for most of the '80s.
I didn't grow up in Houston, but I got here in 1994, as a young adult, and immediately took to the local teams. I didn't experience the heartbreak of the Oilers "Luv Ya Blue" era, or the Astros' postseason failures in the '80s, but I heard the stories, and inherited our teams' histories and cultures unconditionally. I say all that to say that I know there are young Houston children who are experiencing the Houston Texans right now, and they view the Indianapolis Colts the same way I did the Canadiens or Larry Bird.
The Colts are the team, more than any other that the Texans play regularly, where it feels like "what can go wrong WILL go wrong," punctuated by two nearly identical losses the last three weeks, both ending with the Texans driving for a go-ahead score in the final minute, and fumbling that chance away. Man, it hurts just to TYPE that.
Hopefully, those two losses harden the Texans' resolve in future seasons against the Colts. If you've got the stomach for it, and if you're a Houston Texan player and you want to further said resolve, here is the definitive anthology of the heartbreak inflicted by the arch-est of arch nemeses for the Houston football fan: the Indianapolis Colts:
2008, Week 4 - THE ROSENCOPTER GAME
The Texans started the 2008 season 0-3, in the wake of Hurricane Ike, but in Week 4, it looked like they would finally rise up and give Houstonians something to smile about. Leading 27-10 with four minutes to go in the game, the Texans managed to give it all back and then some, losing 31-27, with the fulcrum of the Colts' comeback this infamous gaffe by QB Sage Rosenfels....
2009, Week 9 - THE "KRIS THE MISS, PART 1" GAME
The Texans would actually pull out of that 0-4 nosedive to go 8-8 in 2008. The following season, the Texans kept the momentum going, and began 2009 with a 5-3 record at the halfway point. In Week 9, they travelled to Indy, where they had never won, and with a chance to send the game to overtime at the gun, Kris Brown missed a 42 yard field goal attempt:
This miss would be replicated in the very next game by Brown, with a late miss versus the Titans, and the Texans would eventually fall to 5-7 before winning four in a row to close out the season with an above .500 record for the first time in franchise history.
2011, Week 16 - THE JEROME BOGER GAME
With their first ever division title and playoff berth clinched, the 10-4 Texans traveled to Indy in Week 16 to try to get the monkey of "winning in Indy" off their backs. If ever it were going to happen, 2011 was the year, as Peyton Manning missed the whole season with a neck injury, and the Colts were on the express lane to the No. 1 overall pick. The game was much closer than the experts predicted, and with the Texans leading 16-12 late in the fourth quarter, former Texans backup QB Dan Orlovsky led the Colts on a game-winning drive, a drive that included three iffy penalties (two personal fouls on rookie DE J.J. Watt and a pass interference by Glover Quin), the making this the "Jerome Boger Game," named after the lead referee on that night. Fast forward to about the 50:00 mark of the video below to relive the magic:
2012, Week 17 - THE "BYE BYE, BYE" GAME
The Texans would build on their 2011 success with what would become their best record in franchise history, a 12-4 mark in 2012. unfortunately, that season will be better remembered for the team's 11-1 start leading to a 1-3 falter down the stretch, including a road loss to the Colts (and rookie QB Andrew Luck, a native Houstonian) in week 17 that knocked the Texans out of the No. 1 seed overall in the AFC. Highlight package below:
2013, Week 9 - THE KUBIAK STROKE GAME
In one of the darkest seasons in Texans history, the 2-14 debacle in 2013, the darkest day of them all was probably November 3, a Week 9 Sunday night game between the Texans and the Colts. It all started out phenomenally, as Case Keenum threw three first half TD passes to Andre Johnson, staking the Texans to a 21-3 halftime lead. Then it all went bad, and like not even football bad (that would come later). Fans in the building will never forget this scene, with head coach Gary Kubiak suffering a mini-stroke:
Then the team would collapse in the second half, with T.Y. Hilton matching Johnson's three touchdowns with three TD catches of his own, and the Colts would win the game, 27-24:
2018, Week 14 - THE CLOWNEY OFFSIDES GAME
It was December of 2018, and the Texans had pulled out of an 0-3 start with a nine game winning streak, putting them in the conversation for their first ever playoff bye in the first round. Unfortunately, 9-3 would turn into 11-5, and the catalyst for the faltering down the stretch was a home loss to the Colts in which Jadeveon Clowney's jumping offsides on a third and short late in the game sealed the deal for the Colts. Here is Marc Vandermeer's call:
2020, Week 13 - THE NICK MARTIN "SNAPPER LEE" GAME
Now to recent history. Not much needs to be said here....
2020, Week 15 - THE KEKE COUTEE GAME
THE DEFENSE DID IT AGAIN!!!— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) December 20, 2020
???? CBS pic.twitter.com/pU0F7WVOow
Two weeks left, and then we can all flush this horrific nightmare down the toilet, and move on with our shiny new head coach and general manager. Merry freaking Christmas.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.