Texans look for first-ever win in Indianapolis
HOUSTON (AP) Thirteen times the Houston Texans have traveled to Indianapolis and each time they've left with a loss.
On Sunday they'll try to change that in an important game, with the winner taking sole possession of first place in the AFC South.
Left tackle Duane Brown is the longest-tenured played on the team and has been through seven of Houston's losses in Indianapolis.
''It would be good to not talk about it, just to have it over and done with and say that I have won in Indy,'' Brown said. ''I don't think about it too much. We are a different team this year. They are a different team this year. They're not concerned about us not winning there at home, and we are not concerned about not winning there. We are going there in 2015 and trying to get a win, trying to extend our record, trying to help our playoff hopes, that is all that matters.''
The two closest games in the series were decided by three points each. The first was a 20-17 loss in 2009 and the second came in a 19-16 defeat in 2011. That game is notable because the quarterback for Houston was T.J. Yates, who will also start for the Texans on Sunday in place of Brian Hoyer who is out with a concussion.
Yates, who was a rookie that year, threw for just 132 yards and was sacked four times in that game.
''It didn't go as planned,'' Yates said. ''We didn't play well that game. It's a different team now, different team up there. A lot of things are different, but it is still the same goal; we are trying to go up there and win in a place that we have never won before.''
Yates talked about the challenges of playing in Lucas Oil Stadium.
''It can get pretty loud, especially on third downs,'' he said. ''They definitely have a good home crowd and good atmosphere. When they are on offense, they are pretty much silent, so they have a good home crowd and it is going to be a good task for us.''
The good news about Houston's terrible history in Indianapolis is that many of the players haven't been around that long, and haven't had to deal with all the tough losses there, the worst of which was 49-14 in 2004.
Though it's tough to believe, third-year player DeAndre Hopkins said Wednesday he didn't even realize that the Texans had never won there.
''This team really doesn't talk too much about history,'' he said. ''It's a lot of new guys on this team, so we really don't even worry about that. I'm not even sure what's the history with us there. I really don't care. It's a new year.''
Defensive end J.J. Watt, part of four of the losses, echoed that sentiment.
''We are playing the 2015 Indianapolis Colts, not any other team, not any other year,'' Watt said. ''That's the past.''
Houston's woes against the Colts aren't just limited to Indianapolis. The Texans have won just four games in the 26-game series and have lost six straight; their last victory over Indianapolis was on Dec. 12, 2012.
With both teams entering the game 6-7, the winner will have inside track to winning the AFC South and its playoff berth. The Texans are trying to get back on track after dropping two straight following a four-game winning streak.
''It is a big game,'' Brown said. ''You always want to win, first and foremost, but we are playing a division game, everything we set out to accomplish this year goes through this game right here. We go in and we get the job done, then our goal is still in front of us. If we don't, then cancel it, so that is how we are playing it.''
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