INDIANAPOLIS — It's been a long time in coming, a game in which the Indianapolis Colts had a comfortable lead well into the second half.
In fact, up until Sunday's 25-3 win over the visiting Houston Texans, the Colts hadn't had a double-digit lead in the third and fourth quarters since a 37-3 road win over Jacksonville way back on Sept. 29.
This one, though, was pretty much a no-doubter as Indianapolis rolled to a 20-3 halftime lead en route to its ninth win of the season. The Colts (9-5) also improved to 5-0 in the AFC South heading into their final two games of the regular season.
How good was Indianapolis in its win over the Texans? The Colts scored on their first offensive possession of the game, driving 80 yards in 11 plays, as second-year wide receiver Griff Whalen hauled in 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andrew Luck with 9:31 remaining in he first quarter.
It was Whalen's first National Football League touchdown of his career and the first scored by Indianapolis in the first half of a game this season since the team's Oct. 20 home game with Denver.
Ironically, it was Luck connecting with one of his former Stanford teammates each time — tight end Coby Fleener against the Broncos and Whalen in the win over Houston.
A fast offensive start was exactly what the Colts needed. Indianapolis began the game with a quicker pace and was spreading the Houston defense out with multiple receivers.
"Better than the starts we've been having," Luck admitted afterwards. "I thought we did a good job of it as an offensive unit (early in the game). I thought the most stress it puts on (anybody) is probably the (offensive) line. They handled it very, very well.
"What a great job they did in protection all day. We know if its no huddle, or not, or three people or four (lined up outside), it's all about execution. When we can execute and not shoot ourselves in the foot, we give ourselves a pretty good chance of winning games."