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Despite 17-point 4th quarter comeback, Colts and Texans game ends in 20-20 tie

Neither team could score on two overtime possessions each.

HOUSTON — Matt Ryan rallied Indianapolis in the fourth quarter to force overtime against the Houston Texans in his Colts debut on Sunday, but neither team could score on two overtime possessions each and the game ended in a 20-20 tie.

The Texans led 20-3 entering the fourth quarter in coach Lovie Smith's debut, but Ryan led three successive scoring drives, culminating with his 15-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman with 1:54 remaining.

Indianapolis got the ball back with 1:19 left in regulation but was forced to punt — a sign of things to come in the extra period.

Houston got the ball first in OT, but Davis Mills was sacked twice, leading to a punt.

The Colts moved into field goal range with a 13-play drive that chewed up 6:30, but Rodrigo Blankenship’s 42-yard attempt sailed wide right with 2 minutes left.

Rex Burkhead was dropped for a 2-yard loss on third-and-1 with 40 seconds left and the Texans punted again, essentially playing for the draw.

The Colts got two more plays in but didn’t get anywhere close to field goal range as time expired and the crowd booed the first tie in Texans history.

Ryan, playing his first game for Indy after 14 seasons with Atlanta, threw an interception and lost a fumble as he struggled early. But he finally got the offense going late, finishing with 352 yards passing and a touchdown. Rushing champion Jonathan Taylor finished with 161 yards and a touchdown.

Credit: AP/David J. Phillip
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan (2) reaches for a fumble during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, in Houston. Houston recovered the fumble.

Mills threw for 240 yards and two scores.

The Texans were outscored 62-3 in two losses to the Colts last season. They looked great through three quarters Sunday.

The Colts trailed by 10 and were driving in the third quarter when Ryan fumbled a bad snap, and it was recovered by Christian Kirksey. The Texans cashed in on the error when Mills found a wide-open O.J. Howard for a 22-yard touchdown to make it 20-3.

That drive was helped by a 15-yard penalty on Yannick Ngakoue for roughing the passer.

Howard, who was a late addition to the team the team after signing on Sept. 2, had two receptions, both for scores. He reeled in a 16-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Indianapolis settled for a short field goal early in the fourth quarter after third overall pick Derek Stingley knocked down a pass on third down from the 4.

E.J. Speed sacked Mills and forced and recovered a fumble on Houston’s next drive. The Colts cut the lead to 20-13 on a 2-yard touchdown run by Taylor with about eight minutes to go.

Game blog

4:34 p.m. - After recovering from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter, the Colts and Texans finished with a tie as neither team scored in overtime.

4:08 p.m. - We're headed to overtime as the Colts recover from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter

3:54 p.m. - The Colts have tied it up after scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter! The Texans have the ball with less than 2 minutes remaining in regulation.

3:38 p.m. - Touchdown from Colts' Jonathan Taylor marks first touchdown of the season, puts game at a one-score game, 20-13 Texans

2:58 p.m. - Texans O.J. Howard with another touchdown. Score is 20-3

2:40 p.m - Texans field goal brings score to 13-3

2:22 p.m. - Texans lead Colts 10-3 going into third quarter

2:01 p.m. - Touchdown by new Texan signee O.J. Howard brings score 10-3

1:56 p.m. - Texans with an interception

1:48 p.m. - Texans field goal brings score to 3-3

1:33 p.m. - Colts lead 3-0 after first quarter

1:15 p.m. - Colts get field goal from last drive, Texans with possession

1:04 p.m. - Houston kicks off to Indy to get the 2022 NFL Season underway! Kickoff goes out of the end-zone. Colts come out on offense

12:15 p.m. - John Doran is in Houston with photojournalist Jim Johnston to cover today's game for WTHR.

11:32 a.m. - Colts star linebacker Shaquille Leonard will not play in today's game.

RELATED: Leonard practices but status for Colts opener still unclear

11:30 a.m. - Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan is preparing for his debut with the Indianapolis Colts Sunday against the Houston Texans after spending his entire 14-year career with the Atlanta Falcons. 

The Colts dominated Houston last season, winning the two games by a combined score of 62-3. 

Houston has a new coach in Lovie Smith and a rookie starter at running back in Dameon Pierce.

Nelson extension

Saturday night, the Colts announced that they have agreed to a contract extension with All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson.

RELATED: Colts exercise 5th-year option on star guard Quenton Nelson

ESPN reported the deal is worth $80 million over four years, with $60 million guaranteed, making Nelson the highest-paid guard in NFL history.

"Everyone knows what great ability he has, but I think what makes Quenton special is how smart he plays and how instinctive he is," coach Frank Reich said in a statement. "I think that's what takes his game over the top. He's a physically dominant player, but it's his instincts and his intelligence that take him I think to another level."

The Colts also elevated cornerback Tony Brown to the active roster from the practice squad for Sunday’s game against Houston. 

Brown signed with the team on Aug. 31, 2022 to be on the practice squad after originally signing as a free agent on March 8, 2022. 

Brown has played in 33 career games with Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Green Bay and the Los Angeles Chargers.

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