Yesterday’s game was a major pile of warm dog poop! How is it possible that we go into the fourth quarter of a football game, put together a TD drive, go up by nine points with less than 10 minutes left in the game, and STILL manage to lose!?
Granted, nobody expected us to win this game. Heck, even half of the fans on the Houston Texans message board were doubting the team’s ability to defeat the New Orleans Saints. Yet the Texans marched into the Superdome and opened a can of whoop@$$ in the first half of the game.
The Texans’ defense kept QB Drew Brees under control in the first quarter of the game, completely shutting him down two drives in a row. Our pass defense was keeping the Saints WRs on lockdown and our run defense managed to keep the rushing to only 11 total yards. The second quarter saw the emergence of Darren Sproles as he was able to bust off a 30-yard dash into the endzone.
What was most pathetic about the first half of this game, however, was that the Texans were in the Saints redzone three times…count them…one, two, three times…and still could not manage to get a TD. What makes it even worse is that each time they were there they stalled within the 10 yard line. Somehow, beyond my wildest imagination, the Texans reached the Saints four yard line, nine yard line, and nine yard line but still could not finish when it mattered most.
So – instead of finishing the first half of the game with a 10 or 14 point lead they only had a six point lead at the half. When you are playing against one of the best teams in the league, against one of the top QBs in the league, in their house…a six point lead means NOTHING!
But wait! It gets even better!
Coming out of halftime the Saints looked like a different team (unfortunately, so did the Texans). Drew Brees took control of his team and began to totally dominate the Texans defense. He completed pass after pass, finding holes in the Texans soft zone defense, and stormed down the field for a TD.
How do the Texans respond? They too begin to roll down the field – but wait! – these are the Texans. They get down inside the Saints redzone (the 18 yard line to be exact) and settle for another field goal. Surprise, surprise!
On the ensuing set of plays Houston Texans FS Danieal Manning intercepts Drew Brees and gives the Texans the ball back in Saints territory. Matt Schaub comes back onto the field with 2:00 left in the third quarter and begins to, once again, lead his team down the field. He gets the Texans down to the 26 yard line and guess what happens?
If you said the Texans stalled again…you are wrong!
He actually throws a pass that is caught by FB James Casey for a TD. Now, when I say that Casey caught this ball I do not mean your everyday hit-me-in-the-numbers or look-over-the-shoulder kind of pass. Casey laid himself out for the ball (he went all-out Superman on that thing) and came away with an amazing play for the highlight reel.
HOWEVER, the Saints were not done with the Texans yet. After the Texans’ next possession the Saints proceed to score two unanswered TDs. If that were not enough, the second TD was followed up with a two-point conversion (the Saints first in four years).
So, now, let us rewind for just a moment. The Texans entered the fourth quarter with a two point lead. They scored a TD putting them up by nine points. Then the Saints turned around and responded with two TDs, a PAT, and a two point conversion. As it stands, with 7:14 left in the game, the Saints are up by six points and the Texans are about to get the ball back…
…now where were we? Oh, right, the Texans have the ball again.
The Texans start their next drive on the 20-yard line and, in less than three minutes, find themselves landing on the Saints 20-yard line. Now this is where things get really weird!
With a 1-10 at the Saints 20, Matt Schaub takes a three-step drop and floats the ball over the middle to TE Joel Dreesen but Saints CB Jonathan Casillas gets to the ball first. So Dreesen, doing what he can to avoid an interception, bats the ball which bounces off of Casillas, then off of Dreesen, gets tipped by Saints CB Patrick Robinson and is snagged out of the air by Texans WR Kevin Walter. Walter then proceeds to turn upfield (in a state of absolute disbelief) and run the ball in for a Texans TD.
This play was so good that it deserves its own highlight video…
So, here we are again, the Texans are leading the Saints by a point and Drew Brees is about to get the ball again. Can you see what is coming? That’s right! Drew takes the Saints down the field (yet again) and scores a TD. But wait! There is more! Once again, the Saints convert a two-point conversion and they are back up by seven points.
Matt Schaub and company get the ball back and the Texans offense immediately crumbles under the tremendous pressure of having to play catch-up yet once again.
As time expires, and Drew Brees takes a knee, the final score ends up Saints 40 – Texans 33.
Not all was bad about the Texans. CB Johnathan Joseph and FS Danieal Manning both had interceptions (Brees had no interceptions going into this game), DE J.J. Watt and Antonio Smith each had a sack, and the Texans won the turnover game.
QB Matt Schaub looked good for the most part. He finished the game with 373 yards, three TDs, and he completed 56% of his passes.
FB James Casey, in my opinion, was the most impressive player in this game, for the Texans. His ability to run block, pass block, and then get down the field and make an amazing catch proves to me that the Texans made the right choice in going with him over Vonta Leach.
Coach Gary Kubiak, in his post-game press release, deflected much of the criticism that everyone had for CB Kareem Jackson. He stated that this loss was the fault of the entire team and not just that of Jackson. However, I still have my qualms with our first-round draft pick. More than just a few times he was seen running down-field, attempting to block his receiver, without ever looking at the QB.
He was beat so many times that I did not feel bad about my childhood…
Our fourth quarter collapse was, in my opinion, partly related to OLB Mario Williams’ injury. After he left the field (and later returned) we never seemed to get the same pressure on Brees that we had before. Mario has suffered great amounts of criticism in regards to his play-making abilities but it was rather apparent that he is a major factor in disrupting opposing offenses.
In conclusion, no one really expected us to lose this game so we really should not be too concerned. However, a playoff team needs to be
able to beat other playoff teams. The Texans have 13 more games left this season, most analyst have us winning another eight or nine meaning that we could finish 10-6 or 11-5. The team needs to bounce back from this loss with a resurgence of passion and determination. They must prove to the NFL, and more importantly to the fans, that they are not the same Texans who collapsed after a bad loss.
This game hurt, it hurt bad, but as the recent Texans mantra goes, “One game at a time”.