Patriots 41, Texans 28: Offense Turns Offensive On Big Stage. Again.

Categories: Football, Sports

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Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher
Despite Arian Foster's work, it just wasn't the Texans' day.
Check out our photos from the final Houston Texans watch parties of the year.

Ignore the main box score numbers. Forget the 425 total yards for Houston and the 28 points. Same for the 41 placed in the New England column.

In the big picture, it's more of the same. Gary Kubiak, Matt Schaub and the Houston offense shoulder the majority of blame in yet another crucial game, this time a season-ending defeat in the divisional round of the playoffs at the hands of the hated Patriots.

More depressingly, it's time to wonder whether the Texans (13-5) can ever truly contend for a Super Bowl under the current regime and system.

With the game on the line -- that is, before Houston trailed, 38-13, in the fourth quarter -- the offense mustered a mere 13 points. Of those 13, six came courtesy of other-worldly special teams efforts in the form of a 94-yard kickoff return from Danieal Manning and a career-long, 55-yard field goal from Shayne Graham.

In other words, the offense effectively put up seven meaningful points against Tom Brady in Foxboro. And that lone touchdown came after a Manning return and subsequent penalty set up the Texans in New England territory.

That's not good enough to win in the modern NFL.

"I think we're gonna go back and be really disappointed in our opportunities to make plays," said Kubiak, referring to his offense.

The Texans put up a fight in the fourth quarter with 15 points, but make no mistake about it: The Patriots were happy to exchange yards for time taken off the clock. The Texans needed quick strikes to mount a serious challenge, and they couldn't do it.

Lacking both explosive plays, time-consuming drives

In the first three-plus quarters, Brady's Patriots had three pass plays of more than 30 yards, two of which went for over 40. They also had three passing touchdowns and no turnovers. The Texans? None in the positive categories and one back-breaking Schaub interception.

Of course, the Texans will tell you that they believe in a "ball control," run-oriented offense. That didn't work, either. With the exception of the one touchdown drive, the run blocking was generally pathetic and the offense couldn't convert third downs (1-of-9 in the first three quarters).

Not a single Houston drive lasted more than seven plays until midway through the third quarter. That gave Brady numerous opportunities, and he eventually cashed in, especially when the defense became noticeably fatigued.

One way the Patriots caught the Texans defense off guard was by pushing the tempo and finding mismatches. On the other side, the Texans were so unequipped to play a hurry-up style that even when down 18 in the fourth quarter, it took them nearly five minutes to march down the field, with the team wasting countless seconds to huddle and deliver instructions.


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4 comments
thepresident
thepresident

still trying to figure out how giving up 41 points is on the offense? you can't beat the pats – or anyone – giving up 41 points. it was a team loss – the pats are simply better

JKSweets
JKSweets

@thepresident It's simple. If you have a capable offense, the defense rests on the bench longer and the opposition offense has less time on the field to score points. When you make overly conservative calls, you're relying on your defense to bail you out. Do that too often, and you're going to get burned. Repeatedly. 3 and outs also lead to disadvantageous field position, which leads to more pressure on both sides of the ball. Even if the defense holds up, you're more likely to get pinned back in your own territory. Especially the way they've been punting. 

BenDuBose
BenDuBose

@John1837 @thepresident There's also the fact that of the 41 points, 10 came after an onsides kick and fourth-down failure -- both of which set up the Patriots n field goal range before their offense even took the field. Hard to pin much of those on the defense. In reality, Tom Brady's team (or Peyton Manning's) is going to score 30-ish points at home -- you simply need an offense that extends drives and puts up points of their own. Baltimore had that Saturday, and the Texans didn't Sunday.

thepresident
thepresident

@BenDuBose @John1837 @thepresident of course I understand all this, it's fundamental football. keep the ball, burn clock, keep Brady on the bench, and hopefully score touchdowns in the process. Sounds good in theory. That said, NYG drew the best blueprint on how to beat Brady. Pressure with the front four. We simply don't have the talent or depth on the D line / front 7 to do that. Which of course, validates your point and the keep-away strategy, but suggesting that this loss is primarily on the offense is overstating it. It was a team loss. While the offense sputtered often, the defense also did virtually nothing to disrupt Brady, all while blowing assignments. I know it's fashionable to pile on Schaub, but we were outplayed in every facet of the game, except perhaps special teams.

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