TEXANS 29, BROWNS 13

Texans dominate start to finish in 29-13 win over Browns

Andre Hal had a big pick. Tim Warner/Getty images

Houston dominated their ninth consecutive victory from start to finish with a 29-13 win at home against the Cleveland Browns. While the offense was good once again, it was the destruction of Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield that made this game one-sided. While the Texans’ offense played well, they finished five drives with a field goal, going 1-for-2 in the red zone. Clearly this game was about Houston’s defense.

The Texans defense ended the Browns last three drives of the first half with an interception. Zac Cunningham started it off with his first interception of the year and ran the ball back 38 yards for a touchdown, giving his team a 17-0 lead. The very next pass thrown by Mayfield was picked off by Jonathan Joseph, his second of the year. That led to a 42-yard field goal from Ka’imi Fairbairn, who went 5 for 5 on the day.

The Browns drove the ball into Houston territory on the next drive, but the end result was the same. This time it was Andre Hal who made a great-over-the shoulder interception on a pass in the end zone to halt Cleveland’s drive. It was his first interception of the season and a great play from someone who spent the first part of the season battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

The Texans offense kept rolling like it has all through this win streak. Deshaun Watson was 22 of 31 for 224 yards and a touchdown with an additional six rushes for 31 yards (forget about his kneel down for -1-yard to end the game). The NFL’s No. 4 rushing offense had another solid game on the ground with 187 total yards. Lamar Miller continues his pace for another 1,000-yard season with 103 today giving him 876 for the year and his fourth 10-yard rushing game of the season.

DeAndre Hopkins led all receivers with seven catches for 91 yards but was once again held without a touchdown. That honor went to rookie tight end Jordan Thomas, who continues to impress. He finished with three receptions for 32-yards and the lone touchdown reception, an 11-yard grab in the first quarter.

The offense wouldn’t have been able to do what it did without the effort defensively. In addition to the three interceptions, Houston forced a fumble on what looked like a long Browns' touchdown near the end of the third quarter. Baker Mayfield threw a 76-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Callaway only to have it called back on a holding penalty. Two plays later he found Callaway again for a 71-yard pass that was surely headed for a touchdown. Rookie Justin Reid had other plans. He was able to strip the ball at the one-yard line and it was recovered by Aaron Colvin in the end zone and returned to the two-yard line.

The Browns never got close again. The Texans defense was able to knock away eight of Mayfield’s 43 passes, while forcing a lot of check down throws for short yardage. They weren’t able to get any sacks and had just one quarterback hit, but that was due to Mayfield’s ability to extend plays with his legs. The excellent coverage downfield led him to finish with 397 yards passing but only one touchdown against the three interceptions.

Houston’s dominance in this game was necessary for a team attempting to keep momentum going the right way at the end of the season. They have won an unprecedented nine in a row after starting 0-3. They are starting to run away with the division and have nothing but winnable games from here on out. They have a three-game lead in the division thanks to a loss by the Colts today and could easily finish 13-3 or 12-4. Next week the second place Colts come to Houston for a very important divisional game. Houston won the first meeting in overtime after a questionable fourth down play call in overtime by Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich gave Houston a chance to win the game with a field goal. They likely won’t get a chance like that again.

 

Every-Thing Sports

Texans vs Chiefs: Good, bad & ugly

Getty Images

The Texans and Deshaun Watson won the battle of the two best quarterbacks from the 2017 draft over Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs 31-24. Here are my observations:

The Good

-Although both young quarterbacks had two turnovers each, it was Watson who outdueld Mahomes. He had a total of 322 yards and three touchdowns to Mahomes' 272 yards and three touchdowns. It was his ballsy playmaking ability on two fourth down conversions, as well as his timely rushing touchdowns in a big time road win that put him over.

-Rookie defensive lineman Charles Omenihu had a crucial strip sack of Mahomes just before halftime. Linebacker Benardrick McKinney recovered the fumble and the Texans scored on the next play to go up 23-17 with their 20th unanswered points of the first half. This was a huge momentum shifter.

-Tashaun Gipson caught the first Mahomes interception of the season in the second quarter. The Chiefs were driving again and in field goal range when Mahomes took a shot at the end zone thinking he had a free play because of a potential pass interference/defensive holding call. The refs remarkably overruled the original call and ruled it an interception. Shocker!

The Bad

-Whitney Mercilus jumped offsides and Mahomes took a deep shot knowing he had a free play. Tyreek Hill won the jumpball over Justin Reid and Phillip Gaines. Hill is listed at 5'10, but looked as if he was 6'7 when he leaped to catch the ball. Reid appeared to have the ball in his grasp, but came up empty.

-Carlos Hyde fumbled on the first play from scrtimmage where he appeared to have simply lost his grip on the ball. The no-contact fumble was recovered by the Chiefs and led to a field goal to put the score at 10-0 about five minutes into the game.

-Watson threw a pick into double coverage trying to go for DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone while thewy were in field goal range down 24-23. It was his second pick of the day. It also came after Hopkins dropped a potential touchdown catch uncharacteristically taking his eyes off the ball before securing the catch.

The Ugly

-Horrible missed call on an offensive pass interference on the Chiefs opening drive! Travis Kelce basically threw a pass block that opened up Damien Williams for a huge 52-yard gain. The Texans challenged the call and the refs upheld it. This was the epitome of ref C.Y.A.

-The two teams combined for 14 penalties for 114 yards in the first half. That was most in a half this season. In an offensive shootout, penalties can kill you. They ended the game with 21 combined penalties for 149 yards.

-Rookie offensive lineman Tytus Howard was carted off with a leg injury on the third play of the 3rd quarter. It looked to be somewhat serious as his leg was rolled on and bent in a weird way. Bradley Roby gingerly walked off the field mid way throught he 3rd quarter and left the Texans with four healthy corners. Few plays later, Chiefs went up 24-23 on another Hill touchdown catch.

The Texans put together a great gameplan and it went as well as one could expect against a juggernaut like the Chiefs. Bill O'Brien deserves come credit. He gambled on a couple key 4th down conversions because he trusted Watson to do the right thing. He also committed to the run to the tune of 192 yards on the ground, despite Hyde's early fumble. Hyde himself ended up with 116 yards rushing. If O'Brien and Watson keep this up, there could be big things on the horizon. Next week's matchup against the Colts in Indy will tell us who's the big dog in the AFC South. Can O'Brien and Watson make magic again?

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome