Ryan, Colts rally but stall in OT for 20-20 tie with Texans

Mills threw for 240 yards and two scores.

HOUSTON (AP) — 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.

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.

ROOKIE STARTERS

The Texans started three rookies in RB Dameon Pierce, Stingley and safety Jalen Pitre. It’s the most rookies Houston has started in Week 1 since first overall pick DE Mario Williams, TE Owen Daniels, RB Wali Lundy, LB DeMeco Ryans and OL Charles Spencer all started the 2006 opener.

UVALDE STRONG

The Texans used their opener to honor and remember the victims of the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers.

The Texans hosted the Uvalde high school football team and wore “Uvalde Strong” decals on their helmets.

UP NEXT

Colts: Visit Jacksonville next Sunday.

Texans: Visit Denver next Sunday.