AFC South Roundup (Week 7): Colts Alone Atop Division


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With all four AFC South teams playing each other in Week 6, The Colts started the week off on Thursday night with a win against the Texans, and the Titans got their second win of the season against the Jaguars on Sunday.

Here's a detailed look at week 6 and what's ahead in week 7.

Indianapolis Colts: (4-2)


The Colts nearly squandered a 24-0 lead, as the Texans had the ball down 33-28 with 2:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. After a quick Houston first down, Indy sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick for the fifth time and forced a fumble to seal the Colts' fourth consecutive win.

This game started very similarly to the Colts' matchup with the Titans in Week 4. After a 27-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal put the Colts up 3-0, Indianapolis recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. The Colts are now a perfect 3-of-3 on on-side kicks this season.

Andrew Luck had another massive statistical game, throwing for 370 yards and three touchdowns. Luck did have a few blemishes, throwing one interception and losing one crucial fumble that was returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Trent Richardson led the Colts with 41 rushing yards and one touchdown, but ran for a mere 2.4 yards per carry with 17 attempts.

After scoring 27 first-half points, a lone touchdown in the final two quarters was enough to preserve the win.

Star of the Game: T.Y. Hilton – WR

Hilton had a monster day, catching all nine of his targets for a whopping 223 yards and one touchdown. In the first half alone, Hilton hauled in six catches for 156 yards. The touchdown came on a 33-yard pass from Luck in the third quarter.

Hilton now ranks fourth in the NFL with 604 passing yards.

Week 7 Matchup: vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 12:00 p.m. CT

The Bengals are coming off a dramatic 37-37 tie with the Carolina Panthers after kicker Mike Nugent failed to connect on a last-second 36-yard field goal.  Having not won a game since beating the Titans in week three, Cincinnati will have plenty of motivation to end the Colts' four-game winning streak.

Houston Texans (3-3)


Houston's comeback against the Colts was admirable -- the Texans ended the game on a 28-9 run -- but the loss still put them back at .500 on the season.

Arian Foster carried Houston's offense with 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Foster now ranks third in the NFL with 513 rushing yards and second in rushing touchdowns with five. That's despite missing an entire game with a hamstring injury and rushing for only six yards against the Bills.

Andre Johnson paced Houston receivers with seven receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown. The score marked Johnson's first touchdown this season and his first time finding the end zone since week 10 of 2013 (Johnson scored twice against the Cardinals on Nov. 10).

Ultimately Houston was doomed by two fourth quarter fumbles. The first came from Andre Johnson as the Texans were driving into Colts territory and the second came on Houston's final drive by Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The Texans only converted 1-of-8 third downs, which is never a recipe for success.

Star of the Game: J.J. Watt – DE

This could have easily been Foster, but Watt's absurd stat line made him impossible to leave out. Watt recorded seven total tackles (three for a loss), two sacks, four quarterback hits, three passes defensed and a 45-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Watt now has three touchdowns on the season (one receiving, one interception return, and one fumble return.) The last player to score a touchdown in those three fashions in a single season was Billy Stacy in 1961 for St. Louis (per Gil Brandt).

At some point these outlandish performances from Watt will become trivial, but we're not to that point yet. He's sprinting away from the competition for the defensive player of the year award.

Week 7 Matchup: at Pittsburgh Steelers – Monday 7:30 p.m. CT

From Thursday night to Monday night, the Texans remain on prime time this week. The benefit of playing on Thursday is that it's followed by a pseudo bye-week. Houston will have had plenty of time to prepare for Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers.

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6)


The Jags nearly delivered the Titans their second straight heartbreaking loss at LP Field on Sunday. Down 16-7 Blake Bortles threw a 22-yard touchdown strike to Clay Harbor with 37 seconds remaining in the game to pull Jacksonville within two points.

The Jaguars then recovered an on-side kick to give them life. A 13-yard pass to Cecil Shorts, followed by an eight-yard pass to Allen Hurns set up a 55-yard field goal attempt for Josh Scobee to win the game. However, Titans nose tackle Sammie Hill blocked the kick, ending Tennessee's four-game losing skid and keeping Jacksonville without a win in 2014.

The Jaguars dominated the game from a statistical standpoint, but turned the ball over twice in Titans territory, which ultimately became their undoing.

Rookie quarterback Blake Bortles finished with 336 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Shorts led the team with a game-high 10 receptions for 103 yards.

Jacksonville is going to continue to struggle until it can find some semblance of a running game. Bortles led the team in rushing with 38 yards on five attempts. Jags running backs could only scrape up 44 yards on 18 carries (2.44 avg.). The Jaguars are last in the league in both rushing yards per game (69.5) and yards per attempt (3.5) this season.

Star of the Game: Blake Bortles – QB

Most of Bortles' 336 passing yards came late in the contest, but the rookie showed the ability to lead a scoring drive when the Jaguars desperately needed points (nine plays for 83 yards in 2:06). Bortles also marched the Jaguars down the field on game's opening possession for the team's first touchdown.

Without any real contribution from the team's running backs, it's pretty impressive how Bortles has been able to carry the offense this early into his NFL career.

Week 7 Matchup: vs. Cleveland Browns – 12:00 p.m. CT

The Browns own a two-game winning streak and sit at 3-2 after a 31-10 whitewashing of the Steelers in Week 6. The same storyline continues for the Jaguars as they hunt for their first win of the season.

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