HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans now own the AFC South, and they have a message for the rest of the NFL:
They believe they did so against the Colts, a team that dominated the division for years before Houston's recent rise.
But Sunday's celebrations were more subdued than last year's. This time the Texans expected to win the division, and have much bigger goals ahead.
"It's awesome," J.J. Watt said. "But there's a lot more fun ahead, so I hope everybody is not celebrating too early."
The Colts (9-5) had won three consecutive games and needed a win to clinch a playoff berth a year after going 2-14 in 2011. Before that, they took the division seven times since Houston entered the league in 2002.
"It was a tough loss for us in that we came here with one idea and that was to win the division, and we're not going to win the division -- they did it," Indianapolis interim coach Bruce Arians said.
Thanks in great part to three sacks from Watt, Houston bounced back six days after the 42-14 loss to New England on national television. The Texans will have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs if they win out.
"We came here to win, not put up a respectable showing," Luck said. "We'll move on to next week and hopefully get better."
"It's not really that we bounced back," Foster said. "It's that we played the football that we know we're capable of playing. We feel we're a team that if we play how we know we can ... it's going to be hard for us to get beat."
Watt increased his AFC-leading sack total to 19.5 -- the NFL record for a season is 22.5 -- and finished with 10 tackles. He also forced a fumble for the third consecutive game.
"I don't even know the stats," Houston coach Gary Kubiak said. "But it seemed like every time I looked up, he was making a play."
Luck was sacked five times playing behind a makeshift offensive line missing center Samson Satele (ankle) and right tackle Winston Justice (biceps).
Johnson, who has 11,008 yards receiving in his career, scored on a 3-yard reception to make it 10-0 in the first quarter. The Texans didn't score a touchdown on offense after that, but were helped by Braman's special teams effort.
Braman blocked his second punt of the season, recovered it and returned it 8 yards for his first career touchdown to make it 20-3 just before halftime.
Graham added a 46-yard field goal to push the lead to 26-17 and made his fifth field goal with about a minute left.
On offense, Johnson was dominant. He put Houston up 10-0 when he waltzed into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown reception. Johnson kept things going earlier in the drive when he caught a pass, lost it and then grabbed it again just before it touched the ground for a 10-yard gain on third-and-9.
NOTES: Luck needs 74 yards to break Cam Newton's rookie yards passing record of 4,051 yards. ... Dobbins has recovered four fumbles this season, a franchise record. ... Braman's two blocked punts this season are a single-season franchise record.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press