Texan’s DeAndre Hopkins, who has become the go-to receiver since the departure of All-Pro Andre Johnson, had a monster game, hauling in 10 passes for 148 yards and a pair of crucial touchdowns. He leads the NFL with 52 catches in six games. PHOTO: Scott Halleran/bleacherreport.com

Texans Finally Hit Win Column; Seahawks Fail Again.

Both of the National Football League games that were shown on television in our area Sunday afternoon turned out to be nail-biters right to the final gun.

The Houston Texans finally got to play against an opponent as bad as they have been so far with identical 1-4 records while the Seattle Seahawks once again failed to hold a fourth-period lead and lost in the final minute of play to the undefeated Carolina Panthers.

The Texans traveled to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars in front of a stadium full of fans desperate to see their home team post a victory over a team they were favored to beat by one point.

But the Texans fooled the gurus in Vegas by coming out of the chute playing strong in the opening stanza and really never let up. They led 10-7 at the half for the first time this season.

They had a somewhat rocky third quarter, but instead of folding like they have been known to do, Houston started making smart plays again while the Jaguars started making mistakes, after taking a 14-10 lead. The Texans put 21 points on the scoreboard in the final period to secure the 31-20 victory, their second of the season.

Young DeAndre Hopkins, who has become the go-to receiver since the departure of All-Pro Andre Johnson, had a monster game, hauling in 10 passes for 148 yards and a pair of crucial touchdowns. He leads the NFL with 52 catches in six games.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer played an outstanding game, connecting on 24-of-36 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns. The offensive line’s run blocking was sound and the pass blocking was adequate.

Fortunately for the defense, All-Pro J. J. Watt got off his sickbed and had six quarterback hurries and played the run very well.

The special teams play was much better than during the first five games, with the Jaguars average drive start on kickoffs was their 23-yard line thanks to the Texans’ new kicker Nick Novak’s booming kickoffs and great coverage.

The second game Sunday afternoon featured the Seahawks played the undefeated Carolina Panthers. But the game was in Seattle, where the team’s success rate is phenomenal.

Seattle’s defense looked sharp in the first half, protecting the Seahawks’ slender 10-7 halftime lead. Orange’s All-Pro safety Earl Thomas picked off a Cam Newton pass and his counterpart All-Pro safety Kam Chancellor also had an interception.

The Seahawks put up 10 more points early in the third period, expanding their lead to 20-7 before Newton went to work against Seattle’s vaunted defense.

Carolina went into the final period trailing the hosts 23-14 after a Seattle field goal, but virtually shut down the Seahawks from that point. Newton was 12-of-15 passing for 169 yards in the fourth quarter and burned the Seahawks defense for 269 yards overall.

Newton engineered a pair of 80-yard touchdown drives in the final period that proved to be the difference and handed the Seahawks their fourth loss in six games this season.

The game-winner was a 26-yard pass from Newton to tight end Greg Olsen right between a confused Earl Thomas and All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman,

“This was one of the bigger victories we’ve had since I’ve been here,” and elated head coach Ron Rivera commented.

Newton appeared to be more reserved when the Associated Press interviewed him after the game. “We’re doing what we expected to do, the 250-pound quarterback said. “It comes as no surprise to us.”

The Seahawks don’t have much time to analyze this blown fourth-period lead. They travel to San Francisco (also 2-4) for a nationally-televised (CBS) game against the 49ers tomorrow (Thursday).

KWICKIES…This week’s Associated Press’ Top 25 College Football rankings had few changes near the top with Ohio State No. 1, Baylor No. 2, Utah moving up one notch to No. 3, switching places with No. 4 TCU, No. 5 LSU and No. 6 Clemson changed places, Michigan State remained at No. 7, Alabama jumped two spots to No. 8, Florida State moved up two places to No. 9 and Stanford vaulted five sports to No. 10. The Texas Aggies dropped from ninth to No. 15, while the undefeated Houston Cougars  moved up three places to No. 21. Newcomers to the poll include undefeated Memphis at No. 18, Temple at No. 22 and Pittsburgh at No. 25.

My McNeese State Cowboys continue to remain undefeated after traveling to Conway, Ark. and defeating Central Arkansas 28-13 last Saturday for their sixth straight victory of the season. The Cowboys return home to Lake Charles to entertain the Northwestern State Demons Saturday night in another Southland Conference contest.

Going into Monday’s action, the New York Mets held a commanding 2-0 lead over the Chicago Cubbies in the National League Championship Series while the Kansas City Royals led Toronto by the same margin in the ALCS. It looks to me like it will be Kansas City against the New York Mets for the 2015 World Series.

         JUST BETWEEN US…With the Detroit Lions pulling out a 37-34 overtime victory over the Chicago Bears Sunday, there now are no winless teams in the NFL after six weeks of play. But five undefeated teams still remain after last week’s action including Green Bay, New England, Carolina, Cincinnati, and Denver. The Broncos are doing it with a 40-year old quarterback in Peyton Manning and Orange native Wade Phillips as their defensive coordinator.