Falcon Points

Texans get big win in Los Angeles, knocking off the Chargers 27-20

Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

The Texans played another down to the wire thriller in Los Angeles, holding on for dear life to beat the Chargers 27-20. Let's take a look at how it played out:'

Offense

Positives: The revamped offensive line gave Deshaun Watson more than enough time to make plays. Titus Howard moved to right tackle, and Max Scharping got the start at left guard. This will likely be the lineup moving forward, with Laremy Tunsil, Scharping, Nick Martin, Zach Fulton and Howard. Watson missed some, but also made some big plays, throwing for 351 yards and three touchdowns on 25 of 34 passing. He was only sacked twice, and escaped the pocket several times, including on a beautiful play that led to Jordan Akins' second touchdown. And oh yes, the tight ends made an appearance, with three TDs between Akins and Darren Fells. They were very good on third downs, going 6 of 10.

Negatives: Watson's fumble on the first possession was just a bad football play and put his team in an early hole. The running game, so effective the first two weeks, was nearly invisible, averaging just 2.2 per carry. Watson threw a horrible fourth quarter pick but was bailed out by a defensive penalty. He also had a interception dropped on the same drive. Those mistakes can't happen in the fourth quarter. He also held the ball way too long on too many occasions. Kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn missed a long field goal at the half and an extra point.

Defense

Positives: J.J. Watt had a big game with two and a half sacks and the line was able to get pressure on Phillip Rivers. Whitney Mercilus had another strip sack, and the Texans had five for the game. The pressure was a necessity against a beat-up LA line and the Texans took advantage. They held the Chargers to three points in the second half.

Negatives: The Chargers picked on Jonathan Joseph all day. The veteran has simply lost the ability to play at an even average level. They also were penalized far too often, including three times on the TD drive right before the half. The rest of the secondary was OK, but Joseph was seeing most of the action. They were bad again on third and long, and once on fourth and long on the Chargers fourth-quarter drive. They allowed the Chargers to convert twice on fourth down on the final drive. They could not stop New Orleans on the final drive in week 1. They did not stop Jacksonville last week. But this time, they finally got a stop on fourth down and won the game.

The bottom line

The Texans rarely get road wins against good teams, and even more rarely against top tier quarterbacks. They got both. They dominated the second half, came up with some big plays and exit with a 2-1 record, tied for the lead in the AFC South with the Colts. Make no mistake, this was a very good win, one that shows what they can be. There are still some things to clean up, but this was their best overall effort of the young season.

NFL Week 11

NFL Week 11: Good, bad and ugly

Jenna Watson, Indy Star

Week 11 in the NFL is in the books. We saw great performances, even better celebrations, and perhaps some of the worst calls from officials. Here's how I saw it play out:

The Good

-The Colts' offensive lineman Quenton Nelson thought he scored on a fullback dive and what ensued was a celebration that should be top 5 this season: they simulated a keg stand and used a fellow lineman as the human keg! Was it choreographed? Of course. But these guys get style point nonetheless because it's something we haven't seen before. He didn't get in after review, but the celebration was still awesome.
-Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had himself a game against the Lions. The Cowboys needed all 444 of his passing yards and three touchdowns to beat the hapless Lions who were playing with backup quarterback Jeff Driskel. This was one of those games in which his contract demands went up like a good day at the Stock Market. But just like the market, it can fall quickly.
-The Patriots defense is for real. Despite their one hiccup against potential league MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, they've been lights out. They beat the Eagles 17-10 and held the Eagles to only 255 total yards, sacked Carson Wentz five times, and held them to 3.9 yards per pass and the same per run. The aforementioned Prescott and Cowboys come to Foxboro next week and should present another test.

The Bad

-The Falcons have won their last two games by a combined score of 55-12. Not only did they dominate, but they beat the top two teams in their division. Why would I say this is bad? Because they're only 3-7 after those two wins! This team is way too talented to have that bad of a record after 10 games. Their Super Bowl hangover has lasted two seasons now!

-The 3-6 Broncos were up 23-7 over the Vikings heading into the 4th quarter in Minnesota. They ended the day 3-7 after giving up 20 unanswered points. They only committed one turnover which was a first half interception that the Vikings failed to do anything with. They simply stopped being able to move the ball or stop the Vikings from scoring. Remember when they decided to stand pat at the trade deadline? Wondering if Broncos general manager John Elway is regretting that decision now?

-Here's a reminder that the Bears moved up from #3 to #2 unnecessarily to draft Mitchell Trubisky and passed on Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Trubisky went 24/43 for 190 yards with a touchdown and an interception, as well as getting sacked once. Not only do they have kicker issues, but the guy pulling the trigger for them sucks. Guess having the TVs off at Halas Hall to drown out the noise didn't help.

The Ugly

-Broncos fullback Andy Janovich suffered a gruesome injury Sunday. The injury occurred when he caught a short pass and tried to brace himself for the tackle, but ended up dislocating his elbow. It was so bad, CBS refused to show any replays of the play. Think of the Alex Smith leg injury, but at the elbow.

-Browns defensive end Myles Garrett and Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph were at the center of a melee Thursday night. It started with Rudolph being a jackass and trying to rip Garrett's helmet off after he got hit. Garrett, in turn, ripped Rudolph's helmet off and managed to hit him with it which sparked an all out brawl between the two teams. A number of guys were suspended and/or fined, but Garrett received an indefinite suspension. Sure it's not wise to hit a guy with a helmet after ripping it off, but an indefinite suspension is a bit much NFL.

-Pass interference is the new catch rule. Remember a few years ago when the league tried to define waht was and wasn't a catch, only they never really did and we're still all not sure? Pass interference is now the same thing. In the 49ers vs Cardinals game, Cardinals linebacker Joe Walker was flagged for PI after 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk tackled him! Texans' wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was interferred with at least twice on one play, no flag was thrown and the ruling on the field was upheld upon challenge. Seriously, something needs to be done because the refs simply aren't doing their jobs when it comes to the calls and challenges.

By opening Pandora's Box on being able to review pass interference, I don't think the league and competition committee really took into consideration human nature. How likely is a ref to admit he or one of his crew messed something up? On the other hand, it's been great seeing the celebrations the last couple years. For as much as we bitch and complain about things in the league, it's pretty healthy. Games are good, young players are stepping up as new stars, but there's still much left to be desired. We'll all keep coming back for more because the product is so enjoyable and popular. It's like that one restaurant you go to time and again despite the service not being up to par, but the food is so good, you don't mind paying the prices they charge.

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