March 19, 2018

The Rundown: Texans vs. Lions

Possibly one of the oddest games we can remember from the Houston Texans history of games, but how amazing is it to see them sitting at 10-1? After a grueling stretch of three games and a short week to play in their first Thanksgiving game, they pulled out another overtime victory over the Detroit Lions. After what could be called a game of some odd plays and situations, the Texans finally caught some big breaks that resulted in a win.

Sometimes luck is involved in winning, but good teams find a way to win and that is exactly what the Texans did. The Texans kicked the elusive field goal in overtime to knock out the Lions, 34-31.


The Rundown


– Talk about the play of the game, Justin Forsett’s 81 yard touchdown run to shift the momentum was the longest touchdown run in team history. Despite Forsett’s knee and forearm being down after a decent gain, the whistle did not blow and he got up and raced to the end zone. With all scoring plays being reviewed, Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz threw his challenge flag which is a penalty and negated a review of the play. Clearly down, Schwartz gave the Texans a free touchdown for not knowing the rules with his challenge of the play.

– Barrett Ruud checked in for an injured Bradie James and made a huge play breaking up a sure first down when he knocked the ball loose from Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew. With the Lions driving late, that play put them in a 3rd and long situation which resulted in a punt. Throw in Danieal Manning’s strip of Pettigrew at the beginning of overtime, which was a big play with the Lions driving for a short chance for a score. Those were key plays the Texans were able to put together to save the game late.

– Andre Johnson put together another stellar game for the Texans when he caught 9 balls for 188 yards and set the Texans up the entire afternoon for key scores. Johnson put together 461 yards in back to back games. That is the best in NFL history, which is not bad for a player who has lost a step. With his big day, he has jumped to #2 overall in the NFL in receiving yards with 1058.

– J.J. Watt was a difference maker late in the game with some big sacks on Matt Stafford and a big quarterback hit that stunned Stafford. He posted five total tackles, three sacks, 4 tackles for losses, two pass deflections and five quarterback hits. He started the game with a sack, but proved to be the only viable pass rush option for the Texans.

– Talk about a lack of pass rush, Antonio Smith, Connor Barwin, Whitney Mercilus and Brooks Reed totaled 1 quarterback hit the entire game. This is a big concern for the Texans moving forward and the Texans can’t rely on just Watt for the pass rush. Quarterbacks are getting too much time to scan the field and chew up the Texans secondary. The passing yards are racking up but the secondary needs some help up front to slow these big passing plays.

– The Defense of Megatron

The Texans were without Johnathan Joseph and used Alan Ball in the first half to cover Calvin Johnson. Johnson was having a big day and catching everything over Ball and posted 103 yards in the first half. Wade Phillips made a gutsy adjustment and put Kareem Jackson on him and the tide turned for the Texans and made Stafford find underneath options in the passing game. Jackson with safety help at times kept Johnson to three receptions for 37 yards. With much criticism coming Jackson’s way, this was more than enough to prove to Texans fans that he is a real player in the NFL. He might have some letdowns at times, but he has put together an impressive season and made himself a key piece of the secondary.

– One of the biggest disappointments of the season has been Brice McCain, especially after a great 2011 campaign. McCain was abused by the bigger tight ends and slot wide receivers of the Lions and let them work him in the middle of the field for gains the entire game. Throw in some missed tackles, the struggles continue for McCain in 2012. Opposing teams have stopped attacking the perimeter of the defense and making McCain cover has been hurting the Texans’ defense.

– The quietest day for the Texans had to be Arian Foster despite having 20 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns.  He also eclipsed the 1,000 yard plateau for the third straight season. He came up big in overtime when he was running with ease and getting to the second level with some key blocks. He does such a good job of making people miss and breaking tackles.

– Also Matt Schaub hasn’t been too bad for the Texans. Take a look.


– Shayne Graham is pretty darn good from 45 yards and closer in field goal attempts. The Texans are going to need a 50+ field goal to win a game and Graham’s distance issues are a growing problem. He has gotten better on kickoffs, but the distance on the field goal should concern the Texans. Let’s hope we really don’t have to find out this season.

– The Texans came out with some injury concerns with Derek Newton (knee), Bradie James (Hamstring), Antoine Caldwell (Hamstring) and Brooks Reed (Groin). The biggest concern looks like Reed with his groin, who needed a cart to take him back to the locker room after a battery of tests on the sideline. Reed looked like he was in some serious pain when being tested which is not a good sign.





You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans.


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