Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 9/26/12

HOUSTON (31) d DENVER (25)

The Headline: Texans hold on as Manning’s comeback falls just short

The Story:

For the first three quarters it was all Houston as the Texans passing game lit up the Broncos defense while the Texans shut down Peyton Manning, limiting his offensive output to three field goals (complemented by a safety from the defense). Everything was clicking for the AFC heavyweights on the road going into the final quarter with a 20 point lead and one of the league’s best running backs but, as has been the case in Denver with their last quarterback, the fourth quarter produced some crazy stuff. Manning lead the Broncos on two touchdown drives to bring them back to within one score with three minutes left. A clutch first down from Andre Johnson allowed Houston to grind most of the rest of the clock down to 20 seconds which was not enough for Manning to pull out some magic as the comeback attempt fell just short.

Key Stat: Denver dropped back to pass 55 times

Of course when you get yourself in such a big hole you have no choice but to pass the ball a lot but when you are built as a running team, as the Broncos are, it makes it hard for the opposition to respect the running game.

Key Play: Matt Schaub, 12 yard pass to Andre Johnson

With 2:49 to go and leading 31-25, the Texans faced a 3rd and 5 from their own 25 yard line which they desperately needed to convert, otherwise they would have been forced to punt the ball back to Peyton Manning and give him two minutes to drive down the field for the winning touchdown, not something you want to test out even if it’s 2012 Peyton as opposed to 2009 Peyton. Lining up an a bunch set with Johnson tight to the left, he got to the sticks then cut towards the sideline to give Schaub a window to throw the ball into, he caught it, picked up the first and allowed Houston to take another 2 minutes off the clock to all but secure the victory.

Man of the Match: Matt Schaub

17/30, 290 yards, 4 touchdowns

Schaub earns this award solely for his efforts emulating Evander Holyfield getting part of his ear knocked off by a vicious hit from Joe Mays (who has since been suspended for the hit) and coming back after only one play. I’m not sure about most of you, but if I lost a body part (even if it was just part of an ear) I’d need some convincing to go back to the activity that caused the injury. Throughout the afternoon Schaub looked like the better quarterback on the field which is not something that happens a lot when your opponent is Peyton Manning but on this day, Schaub was the deserved victor.


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