HOUSTON – The Indianapolis Colts are perfect despite a less-than-thrilling performance against the winless Houston Texans.

The Colts beat the woeful Texans 38-20 on Sunday and improved to 7-0 for the first time in franchise history. But the Colts were looking for a better showing against Houston (0-6) as they head into their bye week before a matchup with New England.

The Colts reeled off 24 straight second-half points and held the hapless Texans to minus-4 yards after halftime after allowing Houston to head into halftime tied at 14.

Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy became the 34th NFL coach to win 100 games, while the Colts won for the 70th time since 1999, tops in the league. They improved to 7-0 against Houston.

The Texans are off to the worst start in their four-season history.

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, uncharacteristically sloppy at times, fumbled for the first time this season and was intercepted on a poorly thrown pass that led to Houston’s tying touchdown just before halftime.

He finished 21-of-27 for 237 yards and two touchdowns.

Edgerrin James scored on a 9-yard run on the Colts’ first possession of the second half that put them ahead 21-14. The AFC rushing leader finished with 139 yards and two touchdowns.

The Colts scored on their next two possessions to stretch the lead to 31-14, and defensive end Montae Reagor – a Texas native – scooped up a fumble and ran 37 yards for their final score.

Houston used a steady dose of running back Domanick Davis in the first half to eat up the clock. He had 85 of his 98 yards and a touchdown before halftime.

The Texans attempted five passes in the first half and David Carr was sacked just once. With Davis bottled up in the second half, Houston tried to pass more but found little success.

At one stretch, Carr was sacked three times in a row and fumbled twice, but the Texans recovered both times. On the next drive, Robert Mathis got to Carr and forced the fumble that Reagor returned all the way.

With that sack, Mathis – the NFL leader – set a franchise record by recording one in his seventh straight game.

That touchdown prompted a small group of Texans fans to don paper bags with eye holes and elicited streams of boos from the restless crowd.

Carr was 6-of-9 for 48 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He lost 42 yards on five sacks.

Houston, last in the league in offense, had 143 yards at halftime and finished with a miserable 139 – compared to 437 by Indianapolis.

The Texans got their only points of the second half in the fourth quarter when rookie Jerome Mathis, a former track star, returned a kickoff 89 yards for the TD. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown in Texans history.

AP-ES-10-23-05 1642EDT


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