Texans 28, Patriots 22

Finally, Texans knock off Patriots with one of the most impressive, complete performances of the season

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The Texans pulled off one of the biggest regular season wins in their history, finally beating the New England Patriots 28-22 on Sunday night football. It was one of their most impressive performances in a long time, and the game was not as close as the final score. Here is how it all played out:

Offense

Positives: Deshaun Watson was terrific against the best defense in football. He completed 18 of 25 passes for 234 yards, three touchdowns and ran for another on one of the more awesome trick plays you will ever see. The best part? No turnovers. Duke Johnson was a weapon both running the ball and catching passes out of the backfield...They scored a first-quarter touchdown for the first time since Oct. 27 against the Raiders, thanks to an early interception. Their second touchdown drive was a thing of beauty, a 13-play, 88 yarder. That the Texans had two long drives against a Patriots defense that was on a historic pace was quite the accomplishment.

Negatives: They continue to struggle on first possessions of games, going three and out on their first try in this one; they have scored just three points on 12 opening drives this season. Once again, they had trouble protecting Watson, who was sacked three times and narrowly avoided a couple others. Will Fuller dropped a touchdown pass in the third quarter. Other than that, not many complaints.

Defense

Positives: Despite some struggles in the second half, the defense had one of its best games of the season. They made life miserable for Tom Brady, the secondary played very well, and they came up with play after play. Bradley Roby announced his return with authority, picking off Brady to set up the Texans first touchdown. He also got a dumb 15-yard penalty afterward, but the offense bailed him out. He had another interception, but it was erased by a holding call on him. But later that same series, he sacked Brady on a a blitz. They sacked Brady three times and held him to barely over 50 percent passing on the game.

Negatives: On the Patriots first touchdown drive, the Texans were a mess. They gave up a third and 17, gave up a first down on first and 30 and then failed to cover James White on the touchdown. For a defense that had been terrific all night, the drive was a disaster. The Patriots added two garbage time touchdowns but it was too little too late. Still, whatever Romeo Crennel is doing with the prevent defense needs to stop. They basically folded up as though the game was over and let the Patriots have two easy scores. It didn't matter, but it has before this season and likely will again.

The bottom line...

This was a terrific win for the Texans. Bill Belichick was 5-0 against O'Brien before Sunday night's game. The Texans had an excellent game plan, executed it well, and moved to 8-4 on the season, keeping pace with the Chiefs for the three seed and staying a game ahead of surging Tennessee. The Texans also checked off another box on the season. They beat a good team on the road in Kansas City. They beat a Colts team that has had their number. And finally, they have slain the Patriots dragon. In a primetime game, no less. They have two almost gift wins left on the schedule, so 10-6 would get them at least a wild card. The Ravens game aside, this team is really playing well and will only get better. The secondary, a weakness to start the season, has become a strength, and Watson is improving every week. Also, some credit to O'Brien and Crennel, who had terrific game plans (up until Crennel started up his prevent defense).

This was just a great all-around win, and the Texans are now 19-6 in their last 25 games. That's strong.

NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship

NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship good, bad and ugly

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The NFL Conference Championship Weekend is their Final Four. You don't get the games played in the same place, but there is a buzz in both stadiums because each team knows theyarethisclose to a Super Bowl. Here are my observations:

The Good

-Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the real deal. We gawk at his arm strength and ability to make throws in spaces and from angles that'll challenge physics. But his athleticism and escapability are underrated. Prime example was his 27-yard touchdown run right before halftime. Not only did he evade the rush and scramble to the outside, but he tightroped along the sideline, cut back inside, then carried a couple defenders across the goalline. He led the Chiefs in rushing yards with 56.

-49ers running back Raheem Mostert has played on five different teams in his five year career. In his second stint with the 49ers, he's turned himself into an valuable piece of that offense. Although they use a stable of backs, it was Mostert who set a new team postseason rushing record with 196 yards and there was still almost 20 minutes of football left to play!

-We will have a great matchup of coaches in the Super Bowl. Head Coaches/Playcallers: Chiefs' Andy Reid vs 49er's Kyle Shanahan; defensive coordinators: Chiefs' Steve Spagnuolo vs 49er's Robert Saleh. The meeting of the minds with two weeks to prepare should give us a good game. Key word: should. Please guys, no blowouts.

The Bad

-Derrick Henry was dubbed "King Henry" after his recent rushing performances. He was unceremoniously removed from his throne by the Chiefs' defense. 69 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown with a long run of 13 backed up the tough talk from Chiefs' defensive end Frank Clark who said earlier in the week leading up to the game that Henry wasn't hard to tackle.

-Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers looked a little off. He missed a few key throws, including an interception that ended any hope they had of coming back because it led to the 49ers having a short field and going up by four scores instead of the Packers being down by two scores. It was a minute before halftime, but the way the 49ers were running the ball, that pick was a backbreaker.

-The NFL fined Chiefs' offensive lineman Eric Fisher $14,037 for an unsportsmanlike conduct for his double-fist beer touchdown celebration during last week's win over the Texans. I thought they turned the corner when they started allowing more touchdown celebrations. So let me get this straight: you can choreograph a dance routine with the whole team, but can't pretend to chug beer from a league sponsor? Talk about hypocrisy.

The Ugly

-With the score 28-17 Chiefs with 7:44 left in the game, 3rd&6 on the Chiefs' 40-yard line. Titans' corner Tramaine Brock Sr. fell down and was called for a holding penalty on Sammy Watkins as he was falling. The worst part of that play: Watkins broke open and Mahomes found him for a 60-yard touchdown. Later when they were down by 11 with 3:59 left, Brock was called for a 41-yard pass interference on 3rd&10 with the Chiefs on their own 19-yard line. Those plays sealed the deal for the Titans.

-49ers running back Tevin Coleman was carted off the field in the 2nd quarter with an injury to his right elbow. An arm injury must be pretty damn bad if you're carted off. Thoughts and prayers to the running back I thought the Texans should've signed. Major props to him wanting to come back to the sidelines to be with his teammates wearing a sling.

-The 49ers outrushed the Packers 185 to 51...IN THE FIRST HALF! They were up 27-0 and had "only" passed for 40 yards. That's all they needed since the Packers couldn't stop the run. Mind you, they ran the ball 22 times to get the 185 yards. Packers defense looked like wet brown grocery bags trying to hold two gallons of milk.

And then there were two. Through all the strife and struggle, we have our Super Bowl 54 will be a matchup of arguably the best on their respective sides of the ball: 49ers and their defense vs the Chiefs high octane offense. However, don't sleep on the 49ers' ability to score, or how well the Chiefs' defense has been playing as of late. Ultimately, I have the sads. We only have one meaningful football game left. Hopefully the 49ers and Chiefs give us something to talk about. I won't mind seeing a 24-21 or 31-27 game. As long as we don't get a multiple score blowout, I'm good. Props to the Titans and Packers for putting up a good fight. It just wasn't good enough. From 32 to two. And there will only be one.

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