Early lolly-gagging forces Texans & Cowboys to overtime
The Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys found out first-hand Sunday afternoon the true meaning of a “trap-game”.
A trap-game is one in which a team with a lowly won-lost record comes into your house and plays way over their head, forcing your team to play down to their level.
That happened to both Lone Star State National Football League franchises when the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) invaded Reliant Stadium at noon Sunday while the offensively-inept Cleveland Browns (2-7) visited Jerry Jones’ Football Emporium in Arlington.
In both scenarios the host team played like it was the first day of training camp, missing tackles, being confused trying to defense crossing pass patterns, going off-sides, having too many illegal procedure penalties plus other strange calls by the game officials and missing their receivers by a wide margin on simple pass plays that have worked all season long.
The end result was that both the Texans and the Cowboys were forced to play catch-up all game to teams that most .500 teams have steam-rolled throughout the season. The Cowboys trailed 13-0 at halftime while the Texans NEVER had the lead until the overtime (and they managed to blow it quickly, too).
Perhaps the kiss of death came during the week when the Houston Texans were rated as the No. 1 team in the NFL by the nation’s football writers for the first time this season after their big win Chicago. And the Cowboys had their kiss-of-death put on them by Idiot Owners Jerry Jones who proclaimed his team was “over the hump” last week.
The Texans entered the game as the NFL’s second-ranked defense. But by the time the overtime ended, Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips’ pass defense had surrendered 354 yards passing and four touchdowns to Jacksonville’s BACK-UP quarterback Chad Henne, who entered the game early after starter Blaine Gabbert was injured.
Houston’s once-renowned secondary was burned by rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon for 236 yards and a touchdown. All totaled, the lowly Jags generated 458 yards of total offense. Fortunately the Texans’ defense redeemed itself in the latter stages of the fourth period and the overtime as Houston came away with a 43-37 victory.
Ironically, just a week earlier the Texans came up with their best defensive performance of the season in their stunning 13-6 victory over the Chicago Bears, who coincidentally were rated as the NFL’s best defense.
What saved the Texans’ bacon were great offensive performances by quarterback Matt Schaub and Hall of Fame-bound wide receiver Andre Johnson, who both had career-best football games.
Schaub completed 25-of-30 passes for 298 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime period alone, including the game-winning 48-yard touchdown pass to Johnson with only 29 seconds left in the overtime period. It looked like the NFL was headed for its second tie in as many weeks.
Schaub finished the game by completing 43-of-55 passes for 527 yards and five touchdowns. The 527 yards ties former Houston Oiler Warren Moon for the Houston NFL record and trails only the 554 yards put up by Los Angeles Rams’ quarterback Norm Van Brocklin against the New York Yankees in 1951. The 640 yards of total offense marked the first time the Texans surpassed 500 yards at home.
Johnson had the best game of his 10-year career by hauling in 14 passes for 273 yards, including the game-ending touchdown pass from Schaub.
The weary Texans must be ready to swing back into action tomorrow for the annual Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit that kicks off at 11:30 a.m.
And the Cowboys also must be ready to play tomorrow against the Washington Redskins in a 3:15 p.m. game. But the Pokes have the luxury of not leaving the Metroplex with the Turkey Day game set for Jerry Jones Palace. In fact five of their final seven games are at home with four of them against a rookie quarterback.
But Dallas must also recover quickly from two tough games, scoring three times in the fourth quarter with their defense and special teams to overpower Philadelphia 38-23 and downing the Browns 23-20 on Dan Bailey’s 38-yard field goal with 6:07 left in the overtime period.
The Cowboys sent the game into overtime when Bailey booted a crucial 32-yard field goal with two seconds left in regulation, tying the score at 23-all.
Actually the Pokes trailed 13-3 after three quarters and scored twice in the fourth period on a two-yard run by Felix Jones and a 28-yard pass to Dez Bryant, who had career highs in catches (12) and yards (145).
But the scrappy Browns came right back and scored on a 17-yard pass from rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden to Benjamin Watson, regaining the lead for Cleveland 20-17.
A couple of questionable calls by the men in stripes hurt both teams chances for victory—a horse-collar tackle by the Cowboys and an incomplete pass on Dallas receiver Miles Austin that replays clearly showed was a catch and a fumble. Four plays later Bailey kicked the game-winning field goal
KWICKIES…Earl Thomas usually makes this column because of something he did on the football field for the Seattle Seahawks. However, last week the Seahawks had a bye so Earl flew home to Orange and in his usual generous way bought and handed out 80 winter coats to those who were in need of one.
One of this area’s best well-kept secrets is the One Million Dollar Delta Downs Jackpot, which had its 10th running Saturday afternoon at the racetrack in Vinton. The best two-year old horses from all over the country are shipped in for this Grade III Stakes race. Several of the entries have gone on to run in the Kentucky Derby the following spring. This year’s winner was Goldencents, a horse owned by RAP Racing which doesn’t mean anything except those are the initials of Kentucky basketball coach Rick Pitino. The 11-race program offered a total of $2,323,500 in purse money and had an overflow crowd at the track despite no publicity from any area media outlet.
Sorry to hear one of my favorite football players, coach and ESPN television analysts Mike Ditka suffered a minor stroke last week, but Big Mike seems to be recovering quite well. Hopefully he’ll be back soon, making his wild predictions on the upcoming NFL games.
When Baylor upset previously undefeated Kansas State Saturday 52-24, it marked the first time in school history that the Bears defeated the nation’s No. 1 football team. And later that night when Stanford beat Oregon 17-14 in overtime, it marked the first time since December of 2007 that both the No. 1 and No. 2 BCS teams suffered setbacks.
Southland Conference football co-champion Sam Houston State (8-3) will host Cal Poly (9-2) Dec. 1 in the second round of the FCS. The Bearkats got a first-round bye in the tournament that begins Saturday. Central Arkansas (9-2), the other SLC co-champion, also was invited and will play at Georgia Southern on Dec. l.
JUST BETWEEN US…It’s hard for this Korner to believe that next year the University Interscholastic League will implement a football playoff system that will send four high school teams from each district in Class 3A to the state playoffs instead of the three-team format we have now. That 57-0 mis-match between West Orange-Stark and Cleveland last Friday night may just be the tip of the iceberg in coming years when the fourth-place team must play the champion from another district in the first round.