For years, the Houston Texans strove to unseat the Indianapolis Colts who were the sole possessors of the AFC South title season after season in the early 2000s. Behind quarterback Peyton Manning and coach Tony Dungy, the Colts seemingly locked up their division midway through the season each year.
As irony would have it the roles have changed.
The Texans, now the perennial powerhouse of the AFC South and arguably one of the best teams in the NFL, are sitting on the throne of the division champion for the second-straight year and do not look to be surrendering that seat anytime soon.
Behind superstars Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and J.J. Watt, Houston has climbed the ranks and entered into elite status, much like the Colts of old.
Indianapolis now plays the part of the blossoming young team looking to make its mark on the league.
Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and his team have been nothing short of inspiring throughout the season, taking up the Chuck Pagano story as their battle cry, and shocking the league by transforming into a playoff contender.
For what was considered a weak division, overall, at the beginning of the season, the AFC South has produced two of the best stories in the NFL during this 2012 regular season.
Sunday, when the teams met for the first time this year, more storylines followed the two squads.
Would Houston bounce back after an embarrassing loss to the Patriots?
Could Indianapolis continue its magical run and surge into the playoffs as a division winner?
Both questions were answered.
By the end of the day the Texans looked to be back to their normal, winning ways and had clinched the division title, while the Colts, still very much in the playoff hunt, were left to figure things out and clean things up with two weeks to go before the postseason.
Despite scoring only one offensive touchdown, the Houston Texans earned the AFC South division crown as they defeated the Colts 29-17 at Reliant Stadium.
Houston has, all year, been a team with the ability to find production from anywhere and that could not have been more apparent in this game.
Special team’s player Bryan Braman accounted for one of the two Texans’ touchdowns when he blocked a punt and returned it eight yards for the score in the second quarter.
Kicker Shayne Graham connected on five field goals, accounting for over half of Houston’s points on the day.
Andre Johnson eclipsed the 11,000 career receiving yards mark as he caught 11 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown. He is the third fastest player to reach that number in league history.
Arian Foster carried the ball 27 times for 165 yards.
With this week’s win, the Texans remain undefeated against division opponents and improve to 3-1 against AFC teams that are likely to make the postseason.
The Texans meet the Colts again in the regular season finale in Indianapolis after hosting Minnesota next week in Reliant Stadium.
The Colts travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in between their meetings with Houston.