HOUSTON -- Sometimes it's the little things that help a player get back on track when his team is in a rut: extra reps after practice, more time in the weight room, extra film sessions.
For T.Y. Hilton, though, it's playing a game in Houston at NRG Stadium.
The Indianapolis Colts receiver ended his recent funk (five catches for 61 yards over the past three games) by adding to his previous history of success against Houston, catching five catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns to help the Colts end their three-game losing streak with a 20-14 victory.
Hilton almost became a footnote in the game because the Colts almost, well, pulled off a very Colts-like move. Indianapolis had a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead when they fell back into their season-long trend of attempting to give the game away.
The Texans had an 11-play drive in the final two-plus minutes, getting them all the way to Indianapolis' 7-yard line with only two seconds remaining. But Colts linebacker Jabaal Sheard got around the edge and stripped Texans quarterback Tom Savage of the ball on the final play of the game. Sunday's win was just the second time in six tries this season that the Colts got a victory after leading at halftime.
"We've been in these situations before," Colts safety Darius Butler said. "We've lost some of them, sometimes we've won them. Today we found a way to get the win. That's the only thing that counts."
Hilton added to his résumé when it comes to games played in Houston. He had seven catches for 121 yards and three touchdowns against the Texans in November 2013. He topped it the next season with nine catches for 223 yards and a touchdown. And then there was Sunday, when he was back to having fun again.
"I don't know, it's just crazy," Hilton said. "Maybe I just love playing here."
Hilton is now tied with Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown for the NFL lead this season with his third game of at least 150 receiving yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In Hilton's other six games, he's averaging 32.8 receiving yards a game.
Hilton nearly surpassed that total on one catch on the Colts' opening series on Sunday. He was lined up in the slot when Chester Rogers went underneath to draw two Houston defenders, which opened up the seam for Hilton, who had Houston's defense beat by several yards on the 48-yard touchdown.
"A great player, they want the ball," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "He's a guy that wants the football. We're doing everything we can to get that ball to our playmakers."
Hilton sealed his afternoon when he took an underneath pass and raced up the field past several Houston defenders. Hilton, seeing that Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson slipped, leaped over the defensive back to avoid contact. Hilton, knowing he didn't get touched, got off the ground and scored on the 80-yard touchdown. Texans safety Andre Hal didn't realize that Hilton wasn't touched and just ran by the Colts receiver.
"I was determined not to go down," Hilton said. "I saw one-on-one with [Jackson]. But before I got to him, Chester [Rogers] made a great block, and Donte [Moncrief] was running with me in there. I cut back and kind of dove over [Jackson], so I knew he didn't touch me. I was just hoping nobody else touched me and I just got up and ran."
That's the type of afternoon it was in a city that's been like a second home for Hilton.