Sunday's game against the Broncos had all the look of a trap game for the Texans. Coming off a huge win over New England and with the Titans up next, it would have been easy to overlook Denver. It's an act we have seen before with these Texans. Not only was the trap sprung, the Texans were embarrassed by a bad football team, getting beat 38-24. Rest assured, the game was not nearly that close. They deserve shame bells all around. Here is how it all played out:
Positives: They scored 21 garbage time points!
Negatives: They could not have started any worse. They have scored 3 points in 13 first possessions this year. They not only failed to score on their first drive, they gave up a defensive touchdown on their second to put them in a 14-0 hole. Keke Coutee fumbled after a catch, and the Broncos returned it for a touchdown. They could do nothing for the rest of the half. They went for it on fourth and 1 at their own 34 with two minutes left in the first half, and failed thanks to a terrible play call. It led to another Broncos score and an insurmountable 31-3 halftime deficit. Deshaun Watson was ineffective until garbage time. His numbers at the end would look OK, but it was textbook empty stats.
Positives: Zach Cunningham had 17 total tackles.
Negatives: Like the offense, they started terribly, giving up a touchdown on the opening drive, and things got worse from there. Jonathan Joseph allowed a huge gain on the first play making a poor decision to try to intercept the football. They let Drew Lock march down the field on the Broncos first four offensive drives. The Texans got no pressure and were awful in coverage, giving up 24 first half points to a struggling offense. They of course got defensive holding penalties on the last drive of the half, and did not stop the Broncos once in the first half, and they started out the second half just as badly. It was just a terrible performance across the board. The Broncos had not scored more than 24 points all season. They had 31 in the first half alone. The Texans gave up 309 yards passing to Lock and did not get a stop until 2:37 remained in the third quarter when Tashaun Gipson picked off Lock inside the Texans 5 yard line.
The bottom line
A week after their best win of the season, the Texans followed it up with perhaps their worst performance yet. The Baltimore loss was one thing; the Ravens are the best team in the AFC. The Broncos are a losing team with a rookie quarterback, and they dominated the game. The good news is the Texans tend to bounce back from awful efforts like this one, and they have the Titans in a key AFC South battle next week. The bad news? They still have awful efforts like this. The coaching was bad, Watson was not good when it mattered, the defense was a joke. There was literally nothing positive to take from this game. Other than that...
The Texans fall to 8-5. They can still win the AFC South or earn a wild card spot, but after a performance like this, it is hard to see them being much of a postseason threat.
Luka Doncic had 41 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, and the Dallas Mavericks prevented the Houston Rockets from advancing to the quarterfinals of the NBA In-Season Tournament with a 121-115 victory on Tuesday night.
Kyrie Irving added 22 of his 27 points in the second half for the Mavericks, who had already been eliminated. Their victory allowed the New Orleans Pelicans to win Group B in the Western Conference with a 3-1 record.
Doncic fell just short of his 59th career triple-double. That would have tied him for ninth place all-time with Larry Bird. He shot 15 of 29, 3 of 10 on 3-pointers.
“Sometimes we take him for granted, and we shouldn’t,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “He’s about winning, but it just so happens he’s a walking triple-double.
”The Mavericks, who trailed by nine points in the third quarter, grabbed the lead for good at 99-98 with 6:25 to play on a drive by Irving. Leading 103-100 with 5:25 left, they went on an 8-2 run that included three free throws by Derrick Jones Jr. when he was fouled by Dillon Brooks on a 25-footer with the shot clock about to expire.
Jabari Smith Jr.’s 3-pointer with 8 seconds left pulled the Rockets within 119-115 before Dallas closed it out.
Doncic played after sustaining a low-grade sprain of his left thumb on his non-shooting hand early in Saturday’s game. He wore a wrap on the thumb.
Doncic made a hook shot from the free throw line after recovering a loose ball near the baseline.
“I’m 2 for 2 in my career on the hooks,” Doncic said, saying the other came while playing for the Slovenian national team against Sweden.
Irving shot 2 for 11 in the first half, 1 for 5 on 3-pointers, with no free-throw attempts. He was 6 for 11 in the second half, hitting 1 of 2 behind the arc, and sank all nine free throws.
“I told the team, ‘Played well enough to win, not smart enough to win,’” Rockets coach Ime Udoka said. “We were extra-aggressive, especially at the end of the third quarter. Had multiple players make a few dumb fouls, put Kyrie at the line and got him going when he didn’t have a lot going. You can be aggressive, obviously, but slapping somebody on a 3-point shot on the arm is an unintelligent play. It has nothing to do with aggression.”
Alperen Sengun had a season-best 31 points for the Rockets, who had six scorers in double figures. Fred VanVleet had 10 points and 12 assists.
The Rockets have lost all six of their road games this season. They went into play leading the NBA by allowing an average of 104.4 points per game.
The Mavericks didn’t use the specially built court for either of their home tournament games, citing dissatisfaction with the quality.
Rockets: Will finish a back-to-back at Denver on Wednesday.
Mavericks: Host Memphis on Friday.