Houston In A Giving Mood With Seattle

TexansNo real need to analyze what the Texans did well and what they did poorly against the Seahawks. Maybe more of that comes during the week. But for now, this game analysis is simple. They gave the game away. Plain and simple. Did not make Seattle earn the win, just gave it to them. I’ve gonna describe Seattle’s five scoring drives to illustrate the point.

Seattle’s 5 Scoring Drives
1) 1st offensive play of the game, Johnathan Joseph hit w/ 33-yard pass interference penalty when he didn’t look back for the football. Seattle got 7 yards on the next 3 plays and kicked a 48-yard field goal. 3-0 SEA, 11:11 of 1st Q. (3 points given to Seattle thanks to a 33 yard penalty)

2) Ben Tate fumbled, Seahawks recovered at Texans 21-yard line. Seattle got 0 yards on next 3 plays and kicked a 39-yard field goal. HOU 20-6, 3:54 of 3rd Q. I probably should give some credit to the Seahawks on this one, because linebacker Malcolm Smith did force the fumble with a nice tug of Tate’s arm. (3 points given to Seattle thanks to the Texans first lost fumble of the season)

3) Seahawks fielded a punt at the 3 yard line and shockingly went out-of-bounds. They also had a penalty that backed them up to the 2, then fumbled on 1st down and faced 2nd and 11 from the 1 on the first play of 4th Q. They marched down the field nearly entirely on the ground with Wilson scrambling for 53 yards, including converting a 4th and 3 with a 4-yard scramble. ILB Darryl Sharpton took a poor angle which allowed Wilson to sneak past the first down marker. Marshawn Lynch easily got the edge on the left side to run it in untouched on the next play. A 98-yard, 14-play drive that, with penalties, forced Seattle to gain 113 yards for the score. HOU 20-13, 7:43 in the 4th Q. (The one scoring drive of the game where Seattle was actually forced to make plays, which they did)

4) Following Joseph’s interception of Wilson w/ 5:13 remaining in regulation, Houston ran the ball on four consecutive plays to Arian Foster, who gained 17 yards, which moved the ball to the Seattle 40. It was third down and four with 2:51 remaining and following a timeout, head coach Gary Kubiak called for a play-action pass. As soon as Matt Schaub saw the unblocked safety (which he easily could have seen creeping up to the line before the snap), he just threw the ball in the direction of Owen Daniels. It would be Schaub’s third touchdown pass of the season to the other team. Kubiak blamed himself after the game for calling that play. Schaub blamed himself for making the extremely unwise throw with the 7-point lead. I asked Daniels after the game if he was surprised that Kubiak called that play there and not a running play. His response was simple, “Yeah, I was.” he said. The TD tied the game at 20, with 2:40 left in 4th quarter. (7 points given to Seattle thanks to the third pick-six of the season from Schaub)

5) In overtime, Houston punted the ball to the Seattle 5-yard line, Golden Tate was tackled for a 2-yard gain at the 7. But a Houston player went out of bounds voluntarily and came back in, which resulted in a 5-yard penalty, but more importantly it forced Houston to punt again. Lechler then blasted a 61-yard punt just into the end zone. But Tate decided to return it. Maybe he knew the Texans were 31st in the NFL in punt return average allowed. He bolted out of the end zone with a 32 yard return. So the senseless, special teams penalty cost the Texans 24 yards and Seattle started their drive at the 31-yard line, not the 7-yard line. On 2nd and 12 from the 42, Russell Wilson hit Doug Baldwin just in front of Kareem Jackson for a 7-yard gain. Jackson wrapped him up, drove him back a few yards and while he was waiting for a whistle to come, he lifted him off the ground and brought him down. That cost the Texans another 15 yards . After gaining 9 yards on the next three plays, on 4th and 1, Seattle kicked the game-winning 45-yard field goal. (3 points given to Seattle thanks to essentially 39 yards in penalties)

Seattle is a good team – the team I expect to rep the NFC in the Super Bowl – but the Texans whooped ’em up and down the field all day. But gave them gift after gift after gift and that gave the Seahawks the win. Just simply gave it to them.

Quickies
– Texans had 4 drives of better than 55 yards. They all came before halftime. Seattle had 1 such drive the entire game.
– Texans outgained Seahawks 476-270. Texans have had the total yardage advantage in all four games. (SD 449-263, TEN 452-248, BAL 264-236). They were #1 in the league in yardage differential heading into the week and will have a sizable lead over the next best team heading into next week.
– Texans have not won the turnover battle in any game this year. Dating back to last year, they haven’t won the turnover battle in six straight games. Also didn’t win the turnover battle in either of their playoff games last year.
– Texans lost their first one-score game started by Schaub since 10/9/11 vs Oakland (Ironically, losing by 5 after Schaub threw an interception in the endzone on the game’s final play. Texans had won 7 straight one-score games, including their two wins this season.
– Randy Bullock had 8 touchbacks on 9 kickoffs in the first two games, but missed 4 of his 5 field goal attempts. Houston went 2-0. Bullock had only 3 touchbacks on 8 kickoffs over the last two games, but made all 5 of his field goal attempts. Houston went 0-2.
– The Texans rushed the ball 35 times. It was the 49th time since Gary Kubiak became head coach they’ve had 30+ rushes and only the 6th loss in such games.(43-6)
– Texans have the league’s number 1 ranked defense at 254.3 yards per game allowed, but are just 23rd in points per game allowed (26.3).
– Texans have allowed 270 yards or fewer in all four games. They did that just 5 times last season.
– Texans have allowed 4 returns for touchdowns, most in NFL (tied with Philadelphia and New York Giants)
– Texans have not outscored their opponents in the 1st, 2nd 3rd or 4th quarter. But the have outscored their opponents in overtime, 6-3.
– Andre Johnson, an absolute lead-pipe cinch to end up in the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame, leads the NFL in receptions with 34. Also has zero touchdown receptions this year (actually none in his last 6 games, just two touchdowns in his last 17 games). He’s 3rd among active players in receptions (852) and third in yards (11,622). He’s 11th in touchdowns.

– Wex (@awexler)

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