This Thanksgiving brought us another high scoring thriller between the Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions. The game which going in many thought would be tough, lived up to its billing. The Texans came into this game shorthanded on the defensive side of the ball with starters Shaun Cody and Johnathan Joseph out. The Texans had just come out of a brawl with the Jacksonville Jaguars (divisional rival) to go into another on a short week. The Texans showed their mettle to overcome injuries, lack of execution on offense, inconsistency on defense, and special team shortcomings to pull out a great win. Although the game had an extremely controversial call go in favor of the Texans, the game was still a gut check for the Texans.
FINAL SCORE: Texans 34 Lions 31
TEXANS REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 10-1
TEXANS DIVISIONAL RECORD: 3-0
TEXANS AFC CONFERENCE RECORD: 8-0
TEXANS VS NFC CONFERENCE RECORD: 2-1
Texans Total Yards: 501
Lions Total Yards: 525
Texans Passing Yards: 296
Lions Passing Yards: 419
Texans Rushing Yards: 205
Lions Rushing Yards: 106
Texans TOP: 35:38
Lions TOP: 37:01
Andre Johnson proved once again that he is still an elite wide receiver in the NFL. Johnson mentioned that Calvin Johnson is his favorite receiver to watch, but was especially excited to outperform him in this matchup. Detroit’s stud receiver had a great game against the Texans hauling in 8 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown. The Texans pro bowl receiver had an even better game by reeling in 9 receptions for 188 yards. Andre outgained and averaged more than Calvin by 48 yards and 2.5 yards per reception, respectively. It’s said that the cream rises to the top, well Andre certainly did that in crunch time.
The defense once again had to come up big at the end of the game. A major concern for me is how Gary Kubiak is not pushing his offense to make plays to help keep his defense fresh. As of late, the defense has been on the field just as much if not more than the offense. This isn’t good if you want to keep your defense dominant and healthy. I am disappointed in the execution of the offense at times. The offense is balanced but at times it seems as though some things should be adjusted to keep the defense fresh. Another concern of mine is the pass rush. Last year the Texans’ defensive front was getting massive amounts of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This year it is not the same because the outside linebackers aren’t collapsing the edges and the blitzes up the middle haven’t been getting there. If the Texans want to remain a top 5 defense, they need to figure out a way to correct this or quarterbacks will continue to have success against their secondary.
As of the last two games, it seems as if the Texans’ secondary has been getting burned on double moves and out routes. The deep pass to the sidelines seems to be a problem for the Texans’ secondary. The problem that I see is the free safety isn’t getting over the top of the route in time nor is he reading the routes quickly enough. In this game, Danieal Manning was getting to the play a couple of seconds behind the pass. Manning must improve this going forward because teams will continue to throw downfield until this is corrected.
*Injury Note: Derek Newton left the game with a knee injury and didn’t return. Brooks Reed looks to have pulled a groin muscle. Bradie James has a hamstring injury and didn’t return to the game. An injury that went under the radar was to Arian Foster who dislocated a finger and had it popped back into place and taped up. The injuries of concern are the ones to Reed, Newton, and James. More information on these players to come on Monday.
See more analysis and highlights of the game here.