Texans 28, Patriots 22

Texans vs Patriots: Good, bad and ugly

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In a Sunday Night Football matchup, the Texans managed to impress a lot of people with a huge win over the Patriots. They handed the Patriots their second loss of the season. Here are my observations:

The Good

-Deshaun Watson outdueled Tom Brady. Sure the defenses play a major part in this, but it's clear who won this battle and it's not even close. He also knows magic or something. Former Texan John Simon had him wrapped up and was dragging him down, but Watson managed to escape, throw the ball away, and keep 2nd down at 10 yards instead of 20 or more. That drive ended in a touchdown some 10 plays later.

-The defense had Brady so frustrated, he was visibly shook and seen yelling at teammates after their second possession. While the Patriots' offense hasn't been anything to write home about this season, it was still an impressive performance by a unit that lost JJ Watt for the season, traded Jadeveon Clowney, and has resembled a MASH unit at points this season. Not only did they sack Brady three times, they also picked him off once.

-Bill O'Brien deserves some credit. He went up against Bill Belichick, his mentor of sorts, and came out a winner. This doesn't happen often when it comes to Belichick's coaching tree. O'Brien had a great gameplan on both sides of the ball. Although the reverse option with Watson and DeAndre Hopkins scared me, I was impressed. When things work, you're a genius. When they don't, you're an idiot. Won't call him a genius, but he gets kudos for putting together a great game.

The Bad

-Run defense continued to get gashed this game like they have recently. 145 yards on 29 carries averages out to five yards per carry. They weren't hit with homeruns, but gave up a bunch of singles and occasional doubles. Good thing the pass defense stepped up, or this could've gotten out of hand.

-Speaking of the run game, where the hell was the Texans' rushing offense?!? Must've been on a milk carton because it was definitely missing. 21 runs for 54 yards is what I'd call non-existent. That was the one area I thought they could make hay against the Patriots.

-Way too many missed tackles and a couple blown assignments in coverage. Missed tackles are the flat tire when you're running late of football. Blown coverage assignments are the forgot to pay a bill and something is in danger of getting cut off of football. Good thing the Texans were two hours early for work and had a bill credit or else they were in danger of having a bad day.

The Ugly

-The two loosies included with the 3rd round pick for Clowney each made an "impact" on the game early. Barkevious Mingo got a personal foul penalty after Julian Edelman was stopped for a loss. It extended their drive and got them in field goal range for an early 3-0 lead. Jacob Martin whiffed on a sack of Tom Brady. It took Brady about 30 minutes to scramble the 13 yards for a 1st down, but it shows how badly he missed. I know I was a town crier for trading Clowney, but that was when he had his highest value. Martin redeemed himself with a sack and a half, while Mingo did register two tackles.

-On their second possession of the 1st quarter, Laremy Tunsil let Kyle Van Noy run by him and sack Watson like he owed him money. Van Noy didn't even have to make a pass rush move. It was so bad, it looked like point shaving. Somebody check and see what the over/under was on when the first sack would take place or who would get it. Watson was sacked only three times this game. Tunsil better get it together if he's wanting the type of contract extension he's looking for.

-For as good as the defense played against Brady and the pass game, they sure missed sacking him a bunch. The three sacks they recorded were impressive, but that number should've been higher. Brady is nowhere near a Watson when it comes to escapability, but I'm still flabbergasted at how he manages to escape so many sacks. His footwork in the pocket had the Texans' pass rush flabbergasted as well.

If I would've told you the score at halftime would be 14-3 of this game, most people would think it would be in favor of the Patriots. If I said one quarterback looked fairly average while the other looked like an All Pro, you would've thought Brady was the All Pro most lilely. And if I said someone was out-coached, you would've undoubtedly thought it was O'Brien. My how the tables turned in this game. The Texans are now 8-4 with a game lead on the Titans in the AFC South, and are in third place in the AFC playoffs by virtue of a tiebreaker over the Chiefs. This means they'll get the 6th seed at home in Wildcard round instead of the 5th seed. Every win means something, especially in the playoff race. Texans fans have a lot to be happy about. They deserve it. Especially those that have supported this franchise unwaveringly over the years. Up next are the hapless, but dangerous Broncos. Don't slip on thew banana peel after walking past the oil slick.

Bears 31, Cowboys 24

Cowboys vs Bears: Good, bad and ugly

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In a must win game, the Cowboys did the unthinkable. They lost to a team with a quarterback who may not even be a starter next year. The game on paper didn't look bad, for the Cowboys only lost by seven points. But the game was dominated by the Bears after the Cowboys scored their opening touchdown. This was very similar to their game against Buffalo last Thursday. The Cowboys started hot then faded into obscurity as the game progressed.

The Good

- Ezekiel Elliott was once again the best player on the Cowboys offense. Sure Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup were able to each acquire 6 catches for 83 yards and 109 yards respectively, but most of their receptions came in garbage time when the Bears where playing a prevent defense, Elliot on the other hand was doing his best to carry the Cowboys offensively. He gained 81 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns. However, his efforts weren't enough, for the Cowboys offense looked stagnant when Elliott wasn't being fed the ball.

- Just like last week, the Cowboys offense did not get off to a slow start. On their opening drive, the boys looked like they had game planed properly for the Bears' defense, and Dak Prescott was able to march down the field with ease. This lead to a touchdown run by Elliott and gave the Cowboys a quick 7-0 lead. After this drive though it's as if Prescott and the Cowboys couldn't get first downs or convert simple offensive plays. The defense was able to pitch a shutout until garbage time in the 4th quarter.

- The Cowboys' defense was not great either giving up 31 points to the Bears. However, the one Cowboy who could not be blamed on defense was Jaylon Smith. He was second on the team with 8 tackles and had two miraculous stops in the end zone to prevent the bears from scoring a touchdown twice. He has become the leader of the Cowboys defense and plays his heart out every game. He has stepped up the most since Leighton Vander Esh's injury, and Jerry Jones is starting to look like a smart man for giving Smith his extension.

The bad

- Do not let Prescott's numbers fool you. Most of his completions came in the 4th quarter with the Bears playing prevent defense. Prescott looked great in the opening drive, but afterwards looked as though he couldn't quarterback to save his life. Just like last week when the Cowboys played the Bills, Prescott and the Cowboys looked atrocious after their initial score. Prescott went 1-9 after their first touchdown and did not look good until the 4th quarter. Troy Aikman said it best when he exclaimed that Prescott's numbers were "fake stats." His numbers suggest he had a good not great game, but to those who watched the game know Prescott had a Blake Bortles like game in which he didn't accumulate good QB numbers until garbage time. This is three subpar games in a row for Prescott, and if he is not careful, he can kiss that long-term extension good bye.

- Brett Maher wasn't terrible like he was last week, but he wasn't good either. He missed one field goal on Thursday from over 40 yards for the 6th time this season. He is now 1-7 on field goal attempts from 40 yards or more. He has now missed 10 field goals this season total, more than any kicker in the last four years according to FOX Sports. His job security now comes into question, and it's easy to see the Cowboys replace Maher this offseason. The Cowboys have reportedly worked out multiple kickers before this week, so It would also not be surprising if Maher is replaced before the season is over.

- There was only one thing worse than the Cowboys' offense and that was their defense. As previously mentioned, Jaylon Smith was by far the best player on defense, but everyone else was pretty much a no show on defense. They allowed the Bears to score 31 points and Mitch Trubisky looked like a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback for the first time this season. To put some perspective on his performance, Trubisky's QBR was 80.6. He is averaging a QBR around 40 this season, meaning he played twice as good as he was expected to against this Cowboys' defense. In addition to their inability to stop Trubisky, the defense as a whole had an exceptionally hard time tackling all night, which lead to the Bears gaining extra yardage and extra opportunities to score. Injuries to Vander Esh and Jeff Heath have derailed this Cowboys' defense, and their matchups between the Rams and the Eagles don't bode well for this struggling defense.

The Ugly

- Costly penalties killed the Cowboys Thursday night. Xavier Woods got called for holding on Allen Robinson on a 3rd and 9. This would have forced the Bears to kick a long field goal on 4th down, but instead the Bears scored shortly thereafter to go up 24-7. Michael Bennet also got called for an avoidable penalty. On 3rd and 2 in Cowboys' territory he jumped off sides which caused the Bears to get an easy first down. This penalty also resulted in a Bears touchdown. In total, the Cowboys had 6 penalties for 52 yards. That can be blamed on bad coaching and a lack of discipline.

- The ugliest part of the game took place on the sidelines. Jason Garrett didn't look liked he cared that he was losing to the Bears. He looked as though as if he knew this would be his last season with the Cowboys, so he is just going through the motions of his job until his inevitable departure comes to fruition. The Players on the sideline didn't seem emotional affected either, but rather in shock. Michael Bennett's face after the bears scored their third touchdown was pure shock. It's clear the Jason Garrett has lost the locker room, and his players respect.

- Let's face it, the Cowboys don't even look like a playoff contending team. If it wasn't for the fact that they play in a bad division, the Cowboys could have been written off after their loss to the Jets. Time and time again they constantly fall under pressure, and when their games become must win games, they fold like a house of cards. Despite all of the talent this roster has, they have continued to underperform and shot themselves in the foot time and time again. This was a must win game, but for a multitude of reasons the Cowboys just can't seem to win the big game when it matters the most. To quote a famous ESPN personality "They are an accident waiting to happen. What can go wrong will go wrong for the Dallas Cowboys."

Even though the Cowboys have lost three games in a row, they are still in first place in their division due the NFC East being a joke, They look to defend their pity title when they square off against the playoff contending Rams next Sunday in what looks to be a lopsided affair. The Rams have bounced bag since their slow start, and look to claim a Wild Card spot as the season comes to a close. It will be a rematch of the 2019 NFC Divisional Playoff Round matchup, but this Cowboys' team is a lot different for last year's team.

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