INDIANAPOLIS — After suffering through 13 miserable years in Indianapolis, a third-string quarterback finally gave the Texans some relief Sunday.
Brandon Weeden also put them in the AFC South lead.
With Houston's top two quarterbacks out, Weeden was pressed into service late in the first half, and the 32-year-old responded by giving the Texans their first win on the Colts' home turf.
Weeden led Houston to two field goals before his 8-yard touchdown to wide receiver Jaelen Strong with 10:36 left to put Houston ahead in a 16-10 victory.
"He's a pro, he acts like a pro, he carries himself like a pro, he is a pro," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "Look, I'm not sure he has the whole offense down pat, but I think he has enough that he can go in there and function."
The 2012 first-round draft pick and one-time starter was released after two seasons in Cleveland. He signed with Dallas, was benched in October and cut in November. Houston claimed him off waivers Nov. 18 as an insurance policy — one that paid handsome dividends in an ugly win.
Houston won for the first time in three weeks, snapped a six-game skid in the series and improved to 1-13 all time in Indianapolis.
Thanks to a stifling defense, which allowed 190 yards, and Weeden's resurgence, the Texans have the inside track to their third division crown in five years.
"I've only been here a month, but I found out early in the week that we had never won here, and I think guys were hungry," Weeden said. "I think guys kind of knew what we were playing for and all that was at stake."
Starting quarterback Brian Hoyer missed the game with a concussion. His replacement, T.J. Yates, left with 1:14 to go in the first half with an injured left knee. He was hurt on a scramble run that was wiped out because of a holding call on tackle Duane Brown.
O'Brien said he didn't expect Yates to play next week and didn't provide a specific update on the injury. The game's CBS broadcast said initial reports indicated it was an ACL injury.
Hoyer's status for next week remained unclear, O'Brien said.
This battle of backup quarterbacks didn't earn many style points.
Weeden finished 11-of-18 for 105 yards, but he found Strong on the critical screen play on the right side. Strong caught the ball, raced up the field and dived into the end zone.
Yates was 6-of-10 for 68 yards and one interception.
The Colts weren't in much better shape.
Matt Hasselbeck, starting for the fifth consecutive week as Andrew Luck recovers from a lacerated kidney and a partially torn abdominal muscle, threw for 147 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
He couldn't generate any offense in the second half and left briefly in the fourth quarter with what the team called a back injury. Hasselbeck said later he hurt his jaw.
"It was just a tough, tough day," he said. "I'm disappointed because we had a chance. We had many chances, and we didn't take advantage of them."
The Texans wouldn't allow it.
Houston had two turnovers and terrible field position in the first half, but all the Colts managed was an 11-yard touchdown pass from Hasselbeck to Donte Moncrief and a 29-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri for a 10-0 lead.