Bad second halves shorten list of unbeaten teams
At least four football teams that came into last weekend’s action boasting unblemished perfect records left the stadiums with a hickey in their loss columns after suffering through a miserable second half of play.
The four teams we are making reference to are Texas A&M on Saturday, and the Houston Texans, New York Jets and New England Patriots of the National Football League on Sunday.
The Texans traveled down Interstate 10 to the Crescent City full of optimism after looking great in their first two games of the young 2011 NFL season.
Houston took the opening kickoff and marched 87 yards to paydirt before the National Anthem quit echoing in the spacious Louisiana Superdome.
The Texans marched into the red zone three more times in the first half, but unfortunately had to settle for field goals after each drive, building up a nifty 16-7 lead. The Saints added a field goal to reduce the deficit to 16-10 at the half.
The offensive charge continued into the third period as Houston’s lead swelled to 26-17 until the Saints’ defense caused back-to-back three-and outs and quarterback Drew Brees took over the game and riddled new coordinator Wade Phillips’ defense for 23 fourth period points. No Texans team in franchise history EVER surrendered that many points in ANY period.
Before the Texans knew what happened, they were playing catch-up in the closing minutes like they had done 10 times last season and ended up losing their first game of the season 40-33, which would have been worse if Brees chose not to take a knee in the shadow of the Texans goal line in the final two minutes.
In another Sunday afternoon game the undefeated New England Patriots were well on the way to their third straight victory, leading the also undefeated Buffalo Bills 21-0 midway through the second period.
To the delight of the hometown fans, the Bills offense woke up and put 10 points
on the scoreboard before halftime.
The Patriots’ defense surrendered 24 more points to the charging Bills, with the final three points coming in the form of a Rian Lindell 28-yard field goal as time expired, giving Buffalo a stunning 34-31 come-from-behind upset victory and ending the Bills’ 15-game losing streak against New England that dated back to 2003.
The Oakland Raiders penetrated Head Coach Rex Ryan’s sophisticated New York Jets’ defense for 17 points in the second half to break a 17-17 tie at halftime and handed the Jets their first loss of the season 34-24.
The Raiders rallied behind the 171 rushing yards and two touchdowns by Darren McFadden to overpower the Jets, avenging the 38-0 loss handed them by the Jets last year in Oakland.
On the other side of the coin, the surprisingly undefeated Detroit Lions overcame the Minnesota Vikings’ 20-0 halftime lead and sent the 23-23 game into overtime where Jason Hanson booted a 32-yard field goal for a 26-23 Detroit victory.
It was the third week in a row that Minnesota (0-3) lost a large halftime lead and the win upped the Lions record to 3-0 for the first time since 1980. The win also snapped Detroit’s 13-game losing streak in the Metrodome, dating back to 1997.
The Texas Aggies, who haven’t defeated Oklahoma State in the last four years, looked as if the drought was over as they pummeled the Cowboys unmercifully in the first half, jumping off to a 20-3 halftime lead by smashing through the Cowboys’ defense for 301 yards, surrendering only 185 yards and committing zero turnovers.
From all indications the Aggies really looked like a team that needed to be playing in a bigger and better conference. Their request to join the Southeastern Conference appeared quite legitimate.
Apparently Oklahoma State didn’t want to lose an automatic win and decided to give the eighth-ranked Aggies a proper sendoff. So in the second half the Cowboys recalled the 2010 game in which they trailed by 14 points, rallied and came back with a three-point victory.
Saturday, before the fourth-largest crowd (87,358) in Kyle Field history, the No. 7-ranked OSU took advantage of four second-half Aggie turnovers, piled up 27 unanswered points and 299 yards and jumped out to a 30-20 lead with 6:24 left in the game.
It was as if A&M was an entirely different team coming out of the dressing room after the intermission—committing four turnovers, three personal fouls, a pass interference penalty, a defensive off-sides infraction and a false start.
OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden completed 47 of 60 passes for a school-record 438 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cowboys remained undefeated at 4-0 while the Aggies dropped to 2-1 with the toughest part of their schedule still ahead of them. Texas A&M reportedly will become part of the 13-school SEC in July 2012. Until then the Aggies will have to be part of the “rum-dum” Big 12.
KWICKIES…West Orange-Stark’s new head coach Cornel Thompson was very unhappy and very critical of his Mustangs’ performance in Saturday night’s 14-6 loss to Giddings. He was upset over the fact his Mustangs penetrated the red zone six times and came away with only two field goals. Giddings’ two scoring drives comprised most of the 146 total yards the Mustangs’ defense surrendered while WO-S rolled up more than 300 yards of offense but couldn’t get into the end zone.
There was a difference of opinion between the two major college football polls this week as the Associated Press rewarded LSU for its three wins against ranked teams (Oregon, Mississippi State and West Virginia) away from Baton Rouge and moved the Bayou Bengals to No. 1, ahead of Oklahoma, which defeated Missouri 38-28 in a Big 12 home game. But in the USA Today Top 25 Poll, the Sooners retained their No. 1 position by 30 points over LSU. In the AP Poll Alabama and Boise State remained No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, Oklahoma State jumped two notches to No. 5, Stanford and Wisconsin each dropped one spot to No. 6 and No. 7, respectively, Nebraska and Oregon each moved up one place to No. 8 and No. 9 and South Carolina jumped two spots to No. 10. Teams from the Lone Star State in the Top 25 include No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 15 Baylor, No. 17 Texas and No. 20 TCU.
Orange’s Earl Thomas would have had his first interception of the 2011 NFL season Sunday if it wasn’t for a penalty flag that was thrown on the play. But the Seattle Seahawks’ defense played well enough for the team to post their first victory of the season 13-10 over the Arizona Cardinals. Earl moved up to second on the team with 18 tackles, including 14 solo stops.
Bill Haas won the PGA Tour Championship on the third extra hole of sudden death last weekend over Hunter Mahan to pocket the $1,440,000 winner’s check. The victory also earned Haas the $10 million bonus for capturing the FedEx Cup, joining a distinguished list of FedEx Cup winners that includes Tiger Woods (twice), Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk.
JUST BETWEEN US…Several local football fans have been asking about the whereabouts of former West Orange-Stark and University of Texas standout defensive back Kenneth “Deon” Beasley. We’re happy to report that Deon is doing what he does best—starting in the defensive secondary of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League. He became a starting defensive back during his rookie season last year and his best game came Oct. 11, 2010 when he picked off a pass in double-overtime and returned it 72 yards for a touchdown to seal the Bombers’ impressive 21-point comeback victory. This year Beasley has helped the Blue Bombers to a 9-3 record, which is good for first place in the CFL East Division.