The Texans look to solidify their spot in the playoff race facing a Buffalo team that’s desperate for a win to keep their hopes alive for a postseason berth.
The Texans were on offense first in Buffalo and immediately shot themselves in the foot with a holding call on their first play of the game.
It came back to bite them, as the Bills forced a 3rd and 9. They all-out blitzed and Hoyer was forced to throw away the pass followed by a punt on 4th down and long.
The defense came out facing a short field to defend, as the Bills started on their own 47 yard line.
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They allowed a chunk play early, and it was due to a missed tackle at the line of scrimmage. They broke contain and let the Bills into the red zone early.
They allowed Sammy Watkins to catch an easy fade route on a great offensive scheme with stacked receivers to the left, leaving rookie cornerback Kevin Johnson 1 on 1 with Watkins. He was wide open right off of the snap, and Houston couldn’t recover in time to stop the touchdown. Buffalo took a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
The Houston offense returned to the field, and got the running game going early. Chris Polk got a 20 yard rush after Houston garnered 1 first down on the drive, and got into Bill’s territory.
They kept moving the ball on a play action pass on 3rd and shot to rookie lineman Kendall Lamm. He reported as eligible and it was executed perfectly on a beautiful play call for a first down.
Hoyer made a great audible at the line of scrimmage on the subsequent 3rd and 7 and ran a quick draw to Jonathan Grimes for a first down after he carried half of the Bills defense on his back.
Two plays later, Houston ran a quick screen to Ryan Griffin off a quick snap where the Buffalo defense was not ready and was not covering that entire side of the field. It resulted in a walk-in touchdown, but unfortunately Nick Novak missed the PAT wide right. The Texans trailed the Bills 7-6 with 3:58 remaining in the first quarter.
They looked like they were in week 7 form again when they played Miami. Poor pursuit and poor tackling, allowing for chunk plays to get allow the Bills to get into a goal-to-go situation.
John Simon again broke outside contain AND missed a tackle, allowing Tyrod Taylor to get outside and bust a run for a touchdown. The Bills took a 14-6 lead with 14:53 to go in the second quarter.
DeAndre Hopkins committed a rare drop on 3rd and 17, which would have been a first down had he completed the catch. They were then forced to punt the ball away.
The Texans defense came out, finally held Buffalo, and forced a 3 and out.
Hopkins and the offense came out and drove the ball into Buffalo territory with ease. They got into scoring territory after Grimes drove his way down to the 5 yard line, but they shot themselves in the foot yet again and got it called back on a block in the back. It was luckily only 2nd and 5 due to the long gain.
Houston capped off the drive with an amazing 2nd effort by Chris Polk, diving into the endzone after receiving a pass from Hoyer. Houston was down 14-13 with 3:57 to go in the first half.
Buffalo came right back and fired a deep 53 yard completion to Watkins to get right back into scoring territory yet again. It was great coverage by Kevin Johnson, just a better throw from Tyrod Taylor.
Yet again, Kevin Johnson gave up a touchdown. It was perfect coverage too, but he missed with his arm swipe and the ball squeaked into the hands of Robert Woods for the touchdown. The Bills took a 21-13 lead with 30 seconds left in the first half.
The Texans then just kneeled out the rest of the clock to get into the locker room.
The Texan defense was on the field to start the second half of the game. They bounced back from their sub-par first half performance and forced a quick 3 and out.
Recently signed rookie running back Akeem Hunt got some carries to start off their offensive drive in the second half, and netted an early first down. It was good to see him continue to develop within this offense and gain some more trust from the coaching staff.
They had a chance to continue moving the football, but Brian Hoyer just made a terribly inaccurate throw and they were forced to punt. Luckily, long time veteran punter Shane Lechler was able to pin Buffalo deep at their own 4 yard line.
The defense did give up a first down, but were then aided by a holding penalty. They got into a 3rd and 18 situation, and held the Bills to force a punt.
Houston’s offense returned to the field, and drove down again into Buffalo territory. They then shot themselves in a foot with another bad penalty. Ryan Griffin was called for a 15 yard chop block, pushing them back behind the 50 yard line and into a 1st and 25 situation.
They then were forced to punt again due to moving backwards. The offense couldn’t get out of their own way in the third quarter.
The defense fortunately tightened the noose again, and got themselves into a 3rd and long situation early.
They couldn’t do anything to stop another long bomb to Sammy Watkins though, and gave up another 50 yard completion. This time it was against veteran Johnathan Joseph.
Luckily enough, the Texans got a gift from Buffalo kicker Dan Carpenter by way of a missed field goal.
Yet again though, Hoyer was responsible for ending Houston’s drive with an inaccurate throw on 3rd and short. The Texans were forced to punt the ball away trailing by 8 points early in the 4th quarter.
Jadeveon Clowney came out and made a great play on the start of the next Buffalo drive, notching his second career NFL sack. It helped the defense get into another 3rd and long situation. The Texans got another gift as Charles Clay dropped a wide open pass over the middle for a first down. The Bills had to punt the ball back to the Houston offense.
DeAndre Hopkins made his mark when it mattered most. He made 2 huge catches early to advance the ball deep into Bills territory and scoring position with 10 minutes to go in the game, and Houston trailing by 8. He capped off the drive with a 19 yard touchdown catch to draw within 2 points.
The Texans went for two to tie the game due to the missed PAT, and they tied the game at 21 with 9:12 remaining in the contest.
Houston’s defense came out and after stopping the Bills on 3rd and short with offsetting penalties, negated J.J. Watt’s sack in his 6th straight contest and gave Buffalo another shot on 3rd down.
Kevin Johnson then redeemed himself, almost nabbing a pick-six, but breaking up the pass to force a punt nonetheless.
The Houston offense killed themselves with penalties all game, this time starting off the drive with a holding penalty after an 8 yard run on first down. They went backwards too many times to get a good flow going. It forced the offense into an early 3rd and 14 and they gave up. It was very disappointing to see a simple draw play that gained nothing, instead of trying to gain some yardage.
The defense held strong and forced a 3 and out, but it could have resulted in another pick-six opportunity by the Texans. Unfortunately, it was dropped by Andre Hal and the Texans were pinned deep inside their own 10 yard line after a punt.
The offense again went 3 and out though, unable to do anything at all. On the punt, the Texans allowed a return all the way down inside the red zone, but were saved yet again by a Buffalo mistake.
J.J. Watt finally got a holding call go his way, and it forced the bills back even further on the most important drive of the 4th quarter. Shady McCoy then made a play for the Bill’s offense to get them closer to field goal range and a possible late win.
The field goal wasn’t needed, because on the next play there was a blown coverage in the secondary and they gave up a wide open touchdown to Charles Clay. The Bills took a 27-21 lead with 1:53 remaining in the game, and Dan Carpenter missed the extra point. They left the door open for Houston to come away with a heartbreaking win in Buffalo.
Hoyer and the offense returned to the field needing a touchdown to keep their win streak alive. He made a horrid pass to a wide open Hopkins, forcing a 3rd and 10 situation to overcome to start the drive. He then followed that up with another horrendous pass to a wide open Cecil Shorts. They would have scored a touchdown if that throw was on target.
Hoyer then tossed one up while under pressure and almost threw an interception on 4th down. The game was basically over at that point.
The defense stopped the run and gave up a short field goal due to field position. The Bills took a 30-21 lead with 33 seconds remaining in the game.
The offense moved the ball, but it didn’t matter as they ran out of time. Hoyer was intercepted on the final play of the game, a fitting end to what was an ugly 4th quarter performance from him. Bills won with a final score of 30-21.
The Texans fell to 6-6 and in the middle of a murky wild-card race in the AFC. They will host the New England Patriots at home next week in a Sunday Night Football showdown. Luckily for them, the AFC South is still wide open for the taking.
Let’s see if they can take care of business over the next 4 weeks to end the season on a high note and ride the momentum into the playoffs.