CODY STOOTS PLAYERS OF THE GAME

Texans safeties Mathieu, Jackson come to play in loss to Patriots

Tyrann Mathieu (left) and Kareem Jackson played well. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Tyrann Mathieu and Kareem Jackson had quite the debut at safety for the Texans despite the team failing to capture a win on the road in New England. The Texans lost 27-20 but the new safety duo impressed. 

Mathieu pulled down the first of what Texans fans hope is many interceptions with a few minutes left on the clock in the first quarter. Defensive lineman Angelo Blackson deflected a Tom Brady pass intended for James White allowing the trailing Mathieu to come up with the ball. The interception led to a Texans field goal. 

Jackson was thumping players early and often. As the clock ticked down in the first half Jackson darted in on Rex Burkhead and forced the ball to shoot out but the Patriots recovered. 

Later Mathieu found the ball in his hands again thanks to Jackson. As Rob Gronkowski galloped down the field Jackson came in and punched the ball out. Mathieu who was giving chase scooped the ball. The ensuing Texans drive came up empty but the fumble recovery was a huge play slowing a Patriots offense which was humming down the field. 

Despite being new to the defense Mathieu also displayed some knowledge about the scheme. Kevin Johnson failed to listen to Mathieu in a coverage communication where moments later Johnson gave up a touchdown. Mathieu was seen very animated seated next to Johnson on the bench 

Jackson finished the day as the team's leading tackler with eight tackles. Mathieu added five from his spot. 

It was an impressive day from the safeties for the Texans especially considering the Texans struggles at cornerback in the first half from Johnathan Joseph and the second half from Kevin Johnson. There is something there for Romeo Crennel to work with. If the defense can come together in front of them the safety play can get even better.

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Texans fans won't have to worry about inflation at NRG in 2022. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

You want to repeat that? Are you seriously telling me that the Houston Texans are lowering the price of hot dogs and beer for the entire 2022 season at NRG Stadium?

Swear?

The Texans and their concession partner Aramark are taking this extraordinary, actually shocking, step to lure fans back into NRG Stadium. They’re not only lowering the price of dogs and beer, they’re also slashing the cost of chicken tenders baskets and Cokes. These are the four major food groups of stadium cuisine – the building blocks of “gotta support the team.”

These “Fan First Deals” start with Saturday night’s preseason game against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are favored by 1-1/2 points and the over/under number is 33-1/2. However, if you put any money on an NFL exhibition game, particularly the first one, you need to be committed to the home for the terminally dumb.

Here’s Texans president Greg Grissom explaining the how and why of lowering prices on concession prices.

“We’re excited to unveil an innovative approach to concessions pricing this season. In a world of increasing costs, we chose to decrease the price of selected items on game day. Based on conversations with our fans and insights from our analytics team, we identified the four most-ordered items and adjusted their pricing,” Grissom said on the Texans website.

Here’s the Fans First Deals lineup:

All beef hot dog – was $5.49, now $3.75.

Crispy chicken tender basket - was $10.09 now $7.75.

20-ounce Coca-Cola in a cup - was $4.79, now $3.75.

16-ounce domestic beer - was $8.69, now $7.95.

On average, that’s about a 20-percent, pre-tax saving from last year. While not looking a gift horse in the mouth, obviously this is a ploy to lure Texans fans back to NRG Stadium and turn the page from recent performance and public relations disasters. You know what they say, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” The same goes for female football fans. Dig in.

I caught up with Chris Devore, the Baron of Beer Nuts for Aramark at NRG Stadium. His last name sounds very close to “devour,” so he’s in the right job.

How did the Fan First Deals happen? Did the Texans come to you or the other way around?

Devore: The Texans came to us with the idea and we worked together to bring this to life.

When did you start the process of lowering certain concession prices?

Devore: It started with the Data Analytics vice-president looking at our units sold and determining these four items would have the most impact on fan cost and overall value.

How much back and forth did you do figuring out which items to discount?

Devore: We agreed from the get-go on the four items for this year.

Are these really the four most-ordered items at Texans games?

Devore: Yes.

How did the Aramark home office react when you told them you were cutting the price of the favorite food items?

Devore: Our collective priority is to be the best possible partners to the Texans as well as the fans. So we were all aligned that this would be a beneficial program.

What does Chris Devore order at a football game?

Devote: My go-to is a footlong chili cheese dog. But lately I have been digging the Nacho Grande.

As Dr. Rick says, people expect high food prices at movie theaters and sports stadiums. What’s been the response to NRG Stadium and the Texans lowering prices?

Devore: Since it was announced on Monday, I’ve had colleagues and friends reach out to me asking about the program. I'm hopeful that indicates the same buzz is also generating throughout our fan base.

What brand of hot dogs do you sell at NRG Stadium?

Devore: Holmes Smokehouse.

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