They left it all alone in first place in the AFC South.
With their defense shutting down the Texans early, the Colts pulled away early and held on for a 30-17 victory over the Houston Texans, in front of 66,363 at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis on Monday night.
The Colts, who have won six of the past seven AFC South titles, now have sole possession of first place for the first time this season. They are 5-2, with the Tennessee Titans at 5-3 and Houston at 4-3. Jacksonville is 4-4.
A few quick thoughts on Texans-Colts:
• The Colts played not only without running back Joseph Addai (neck/shoulder), but without safety Bob Sanders, defensive tackle Antonio Johnson, wide receiver Austin Collie (thumb) and linebacker Kavell Conner. Collie isn't expected back for several weeks. Tight end Dallas Clark (wrist) was placed on injured reserve last week.
• Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney helped set the tone for the Indianapolis defense early. The five-time Pro Bowl selection had a devastating spin move for a sack on Texans quarterback Matt Schaub on the first series and pressured Schaub on the ensuing series. He also effectively ended the game with a strip-sack on Schaub in Colts territory in the final moments.
• The pressure seemed to get to Schaub early. He started slow: 5 of 15 passing for 37 yards and an interception returned for a touchdown in the first half.
• Schaub played substantially better in the second half, leading the Texans to an early touchdown on a drive that ended with a 28-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Andre Johnson.
• The Colts did a decent job stopping Texans running back Arian Foster. He rushed for 231 yards in the regular-season opener against Indianapolis, a 34-24 Texans victory. On Monday, he rushed for 65 yards in the first half, with 33 of those coming on one run. Foster's 6-yard run in the fourth quarter pulled the Titans to within 10, 27-17, with 12:22 remaining.
• Foster now has rushed for a touchdown in four consecutive games.
• The Texans' defense, maligned much of the season, actually did a solid job at times against the Colts' offense Monday. They allowed two touchdown passes by Manning in the first three quarters, but played well enough to stay in the game, had the offense produced at its usual level.
• The Colts' victory was their 11th consecutive in prime time. Their last loss in prime time was at Tennessee in October 2008.
• With the victory, the Colts averted a Texans sweep. The Colts haven't been swept by a team in the AFC South since 2002. Tennessee swept the Colts that season en route to the AFC South title.
• Colts rookie defensive end Jerry Hughes got his most extensive action of the season. A first-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, he had played sparingly on defense until Monday. He was called for a face-mask penalty on the final play of the third quarter.
• The game was the first for the Colts since 2008 without Clark, an All-Pro out for the season with a wrist injury. Third-year veteran Jacob Tamme started and caught an early 26-yard pass that set up the Colts' first touchdown -- a 2-yard reception by Tamme.
• Running back Mike Hart started in place of Addai for the Colts, and made an early impact with a 35-yard run that helped set up the Colts' first touchdown. He was effective throughout the game
• The Colts made a pregame lineup change on defense, starting rookie Pat Angerer in place of third-year veteran Philip Wheeler, a third-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft. Angerer was a second-round selection last April.
• Wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez played for the Colts for the first time since sustaining a high-ankle sprain in the regular-season opener against the Texans. His return is critical with Collie and Clark out, and he caught several key passes for first downs.
• Texans linebacker Brian Cushing, the 2009 Rookie of the Year, made his first career start at middle linebacker after moving to the position in place of DeMeco Ryans, recently placed on injured reserve with a torn Achilles.
• The game was the first for each team in 15 days. The Texans and Colts each had a bye week last week.
• Former Colts coach Tony Dungy was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor Monday night at halftime. He coached the Colts to seven postseason appearances in seven seasons and six AFC South titles. In February 2007, he became the first African-American coach to win the Super Bowl.
Video highlights of the Colts' victory over the Texans on Monday Night Football: