Saturday, March 2, 2024

Texans-Colts game ends in tie: Here’s how often a deadlock has occurred in Week 1

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans
/ Getty Images

Week 1 of the NFL season can bring with it great hope, or great disappointment. Come away with a win, and you can feel good about the way your team’s season is going to shake out. Lose, and maybe you don’t feel so great. 

Of course, not every game ends in a win or a loss. Sometimes, you tie. And that’s exactly what the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts did in Week 1 of the 2022 season. The Texans jumped out to a surprising 20-3 lead by the end of the third quarter … then let up 17 unanswered points in the final period as the Colts stormed their way back into the game. 

Indy had a pretty good chance to win the game in overtime, but Rodrigo Blankenship pushed a 42-yard field goal attempt wide to the right at the tail end of a 13-play, 45-yard drive that took 6:30 off the clock. Houston then had a chance to go drive for the win, but stalled out just over midfield. Rather than try to convert a fourth-and-3 with 20 seconds remaining, new Texans coach Lovie Smith decided to punt it away, pinning Indianapolis on its own 6-yard line.

Two plays later, the game was over, and the two teams tied 20-20, each beginning their season with a record of 0-0-1. It was just the 15th tie in Week 1 history, according to a Pro-Football-Reference search, the first since 2019, and the fourth since the AFL-NFL merger prior to the 1970 season. Overtime was not instituted until 1974.

Team Opp Date Result
HOU IND 9/11/21 T 20-20 (OT)
ARI DET 9/8/19 T 27-27 (OT)
CLE PIT 9/9/18 T 21-21 (OT)
DEN MIA 9/9/71 T 10-10

This game also marks just the 13th regular-season tie overall since 2002, when the league expanded to 32 teams and its current eight-division format. There has now been at least one tie in each of the last five seasons, with 2017 being the most recent campaign that did not include at least one game that ended in a tie. The most recent tie prior to Texans-Colts was last season’s Steelers-Lions contest in Week 10, which ended in a 16-16 deadlock. 

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