The man with the expiring contract caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Dan Orlovsky with 19 seconds left, giving the Colts their only lead of the game in a 19-16 victory over AFC South champion Houston 19-16.
It’s the second straight win for the Colts (2-13), who will now have to fight off St. Louis and Minnesota for the No. 1 overall draft pick. Orlovsky, who played the last two seasons with Houston, also won his second straight game after losing his first nine NFL starts.
Houston was in a position to come to Indianapolis and simply tune up for the postseason.
Not a chance.
The Texans looked anything but playoff-ready. They settled for two field goals in the red zone, didn’t convert a third down until getting a lucky bounce late in the fourth quarter, its running game was stymied late and the defense helped the Colts with three penalties on the decisive drive.
Houston (11-4) is now 0-10 in Indianapolis and still hunting for a first-round bye. The Texans still haven’t scored more than 20 points in a game since Nov. 27.
Brian Cushing broke through the line on the game’s first play, sacking Orlovsky and stripping the ball. Arian Foster ran for 8 yards on the next play, then scored on a 9-yard burst off the left side to give Houston a 7-0 lead.
Nobody got into the end zone again until Orlovsky took the Colts 78 yards in the final two minutes and finally hooked up with Wayne, who outmaneuvered a defender for the winning score.
In between, Neil Rackers and Adam Vinatieri traded field goals.
It may go down as the final home game for not only Wayne and Orlvosky, but also cornerstones such as Jeff Saturday and Robert Mathis – and maybe even Peyton Manning, though Colts owner Jim Irsay told NFL Network that if Peyton Manning plays in 2012, it will be in Indianapolis.
“If the situation is where he’s back and he’s healthy, then I see him coming back and playing here,” Irsay said before the game. “I think there is a lot of speculation about the draft pick and those sorts of things, but I think what you have to realize is this — is the likes of Peyton Manning going to be seen again? It is not coming, if ever, for a very, very long time. You’re not going to go in this draft or the next draft and get another Peyton Manning.”