INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard made his final punch count Sunday.
When it landed, Houston was finished — again.
Philip Rivers threw a tiebreaking touchdown pass to Zach Pascal with 1:47 left and Leonard forced Keke Coutee to fumble with 19 seconds to go, sealing Indy's 27-20 victory over Houston. Bobby Okereke recovered the skittering ball in the end zone for the Colts' second win in three weeks over the Texans — in almost the exact same way.
“I always say pressure does one of two things -- it busts pipes or it makes diamonds," Leonard said. “I’m the kind of guy who, when the pressure's there, I want to make the play. Luckily today, I was in the right place to make the play."
He's been making an impact for three seasons, but this game-saving turnover might be his most important play yet.
The Colts (10-4) have won three straight, remain tied with Tennessee atop the AFC South and move a little closer to the Titans in division record, the second tiebreaker. Tennessee beat Detroit on Sunday.
And it may have given Leonard some points in the friendly competition between himself and Indy's other starting linebackers — Anthony Walker, who recovered the bad snap two weeks ago in Houston to preserve a 26-20 victory, and Okereke, who followed suit in Sunday's rematch. Both turnovers were in the red zone.
“I don’t know that I’ve seen that happen before," said Rivers, a 17-year NFL veteran. “Both of them come down to our defense getting a turnover in the final minute."