Matt Hasselbeck again shows age is just a number in Colts' victory

HOUSTON – Matt Hasselbeck and Andre Johnson continue to show that age is just a number.

Hasselbeck, starting in place of the injured Andrew Luck for the second straight week, led the Colts to their second consecutive victory, 27-20 over the Houston Texans on Thursday.

In those two starts, the 40-year-old Hasselbeck has completed 48 of 76 passes for 495 yards and three touchdowns. What made his performance even more impressive is that he has been battling an illness that had him in the hospital earlier this week.

Hasselbeck choked up after the game and said, during a television interview, "I got nothing left."

Hasselbeck’s solid play has allowed the Colts to not rush Luck back into the lineup. Now Luck will have had three weeks off by the time the Colts play the New England Patriots on Oct. 18.

Hasselbeck later said he had a bacterial infection and was determined to play even though quarterback coach Clyde Christensen told him he didn't have to play.

"He knew that everybody was counting on him and I think it would have taken something really, really severe to keep him from playing in this one,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “That was one heck of a performance for a guy that was ailing big time.”

Hasselbeck got help from Johnson, a 34-year-old receiver motivated to show that he can still contribute. Johnson, who the Texans didn’t think could start anymore, had six catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns.

What it means: The Colts, despite losing their first two games of the season, are on a three-game winning streak. All three victories have been against AFC South teams. The Colts have won 16 straight games against teams in their division. That surpasses Miami's 15-game run, set during the 1972-73 seasons, when the AFC East had more teams in it.

What were they thinking? There was only one second remaining in the half and the Texans had 42 yards to go. That means they only had one option: a Hail Mary. Everybody knew that -- except for the Colts, evidently. Texans receiver Jaelen Strong went up between five defenders to catch the pass. Colts cornerback Greg Toler had his back turned on the play.

One reason to get excited: The offensive line, which had performed poorly at the start of the season, didn’t give up a sack for just the second time this season. What made their performance even more impressive is that they did against a Houston defense that features defensive end J.J. Watt.

Fantasy watch: Frank Gore fell just shy of giving the Colts their first 100-yard rusher since the 2012 season, finishing with 98 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.

What were they thinking, Part II? Linebacker Robert Mathis, still knocking the rust off from missing the entire 2014 season, was called for holding and for being offside.