Peyton Manning had a milestone day, Joseph Addai produced the winning play for the second straight week and Houston's Kris Brown missed a 42-yard field goal as time expired as the Colts survived with a 20-17 victory Sunday.
The implications of this win were monumental.
Indy became the fourth team in league history with a 17-game winning streak. New England did it twice -- winning 21 straight from 2006-08 and 18 in a row from 2003-04 -- and Chicago achieved the feat in 1933-34.
Jim Caldwell became the first rookie coach to start 8-0 since Potsy Clark in 1930, while Manning earned his 125th victory, tying him for fourth with Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton on the career list. Manning, the three-time MVP, also became the first player in league history to throw for 40,000 yards within a decade.
The most important result from Sunday: The Colts now hold a commanding 3 1/2 game lead in the AFC South over second-place Houston. The Texans (5-4) dropped to 1-14 all-time against the Colts, including 0-8 in Indianapolis.
It was a strange day indeed.
Manning opened the game with 25 passes in the first quarter, the most by any quarterback in the first quarter since 1991. And after running 37 of the first 44 offensive plays, Indy led only 13-0.
Things started to change with another odd situation as the first half ended.
Brown came in to try a 56-yard field goal attempt, which Indy blocked. But the Colts had called timeout to put a returner underneath the goal post, and when Brown got a second chance, he knocked it through to make it 13-3.
Houston turned the tables on Indy in the second half, taking more than 6 1/2 minutes off the clock with their first possession and capping the drive with a 1-yard TD pass from Matt Schaub to Ryan Moats.
After a rare three-and-out, Houston spent the rest of the quarter driving again. Steve Slaton then opened the fourth with a 1-yard TD run to give the Texans a 17-13 lead.
When the Colts got the ball back with 10:51 left, Manning took them 61 yards in eight plays, the last being Addai's 2-yard TD run to give Indy the lead. It was Addai's second score of the day against his hometown team, and the second straight week he was a part of the winning score.
Twice, Houston had chances to force overtime.
Schaub threw an interception under pressure in Colts territory to take away the first chance. Houston then forced another three-and-out, and Schaub took Houston from his own 15 to the Colts 22, setting up Brown to force overtime.
He pushed the kick left and the Colts survived.
Manning finished 34 of 50 for 318 yards with one TD and one interception. Dallas Clark had 14 receptions for 119 yards, and Reggie Wayne caught eight passes to move past Hall of Famer Raymond Berry for second on Indy's career list.
Schaub was 32 of 43 for 311 yards with one TD and two interceptions, and Andre Johnson had 10 receptions for 103 yards.