Turnovers crush Texans in 24-16 loss to Giants

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Seth Wenig/AP/Shutterstock (13621798gs) Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks (13) makes a catch during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, in East Rutherford, N.J Texans Giants Football, East Rutherford, United States – 13 Nov 2022

Turnovers crush Texans in 24-16 loss to Giants

Another week of self-inflicted pain costs the Houston Texans another winnable game.

It’s almost like this season for the Houston Texans is the latest revision of the movie Groundhog Day. Periods of ineptitude, inability to stop the run and critical turnovers conspire to deliver the Texans to the loss column. Eat, sleep, blow it, repeat.

Another frustrating game began with the Texans starting off incredibly slow offensively, only to find their stride in the second half but sabotage themselves with critical red zone turnovers. Another game where the Texans’ opponent did not throw a pass in the fourth quarter because they didn’t have to. Another game where the Texans’ opponent rolled up rushing yards as fast as thirst-trapping pictures get likes on social media.

It started ominously for the Texans. A three-and-out on the opening drive that saw Houston earn -13 yards. Yes, that’s a negative. The Texans’ offensive line was completely overwhelmed on all three plays, which included a sack and a tackle for loss.

The Giants came out on their first possession and went 10 plays, 68 yards in 5:22 to go up 7-0. Darius Slayton turned a short pass over the middle on a second and 12 from the Houston 42 into a 36-yard gain, setting up a first and goal at the 6-yard line. Daniel Jones would find Lawrence Cager for the touchdown.

The Texans responded with another three-and-out on a drive that lasted 97 seconds.

The Giants would also go three-and-out thanks to a critical drop by WR Kenny Golladay.

Houston would come back with a third straight three-and-out, with Davis Mills throwing a 4-yard pass to WR Phillip Dorsett on third and 10 as the Giants came with a blitz. Mills made a very fast decision to dump the ball off rather than try to extend the play to let it develop so they could try for a first down.

New York’s next drive went seven plays and 30 yards before it stalled of their own doing. The Giants were going for it on a critical fourth-and-1 at the Texans’ 36. They would have converted, but they were flagged for a false start. That turned fourth-and-1 into fourth-and-6, plus it knocked them out of field goal range, forcing a punt.

Houston would get on the board thanks to Dameon Pierce. A seven-play, 61-yard drive over 3:26 would lead to a Ka’imi Fairbairn FG. Pierce accounted for 60 of the Texans’ 61 yards on the drive, including a 44-yard run before the drive stalled at the New York 19, and they had to settle for the field goal.

The teams would then trade punts on each of their next two drives, going to the half with the Giants up 7-3.

While both teams closed the second quarter with offensive ineptitude, they both came out in the third ready to make plays.

The Giants had the opening possession of the second half and covered 75 yards in just five plays and 2:27 to take a 14-3 lead. On third-and-9 from their own 46, Daniel Jones hit Darius Slayton on a short pass to the right side. Slayton spun out of a tackle by Jalen Pitre and sprinted down the sideline for a 54-yard touchdown, outrunning the rest of the defense.

The Texans would answer with their first touchdown drive. Houston went 75 yards in seven plays covering 4:27. A tremendous one-handed catch by Chris Moore on a ball that was tipped and would end up being behind him became a 23-yard gain to the Giants’ 33. Mills hit Jordan Akins for a 17-yard completion on the next play, and a roughing the passer penalty on the play set the Texans up with a first and goal at the New York 8. Mills would then connect with Nico Collins for a 12-yard touchdown and get Houston back within four at 14-10.

New York came right back with a long 12-play drive that covered 74 yards and chewed up 5:45 of clock. Jones hit Wan’Dale Robinson for 11 yards, then Barkley ripped off a 13-yard run. Jones then found Isaiah Hodgins for 26 yards to the Houston 16-yard line. Four plays later, Barkley would punch the ball in from two yards out to extend the New York lead to 21-10.

The Texans looked to be prepared to answer again before disaster struck.

Houston took over at their own 25 with 2:21 remaining in the third quarter. Pierce and Dare Ogunbowale would have 13-yard pickups, and on second and 16 from their own 45, Mills found Akins with a short pass to the left that Akins broke for a 46-yard gain to the Giants’ nine-yard line.

Then the fourth quarter started. Once again, it was the quarter of doom for the Texans.

On second-and-goal from the New York 10, Pierce fumbled, and it was recovered by the Giants. A huge opportunity to get in the end zone resulted in zero points.

The Houston defense refused to be deflated by the fumble and forced the Giants into a three-and-out. A short punt by Jamie Gillan and a 13-yard return by Desmond King set up the Texans near midfield at their own 48.

Mills hit back-to-back passes to Collins (13 yards) and Cooks (25 yards) to set up first-and-10 at the New York 14. On second-and-10, Mills hit Akins for four yards, but a five-yard penalty on Cooks for an illegal shift nullified the play and pushed Houston back to the 19.

On the next play, Mills found Cooks in the end zone for a touchdown, but the score was negated by a holding penalty against Kenyon Green. Now facing second and 25 from the Giants 29 yard line, Mills threw an ill-advised pass into double coverage near the left pylon and was intercepted in the end zone. The pass was intended for Phillip Dorsett, who was behind the defense, but the ball was underthrown, and Dorsett had no chance. Another prime opportunity for a touchdown that resulted in zero points.

The Giants kept the ball on the ground for the next seven plays, devouring 5:09 of critical clock before punting.

Houston would quickly go 76 yards in 2:18 to get a field goal and make it a one-score game. Mills was 5- of-7 for 60 yards but the drive stalled at the New York 16, and the Texans settled for a 34-yard field goal from Fairbairn to make it 21-13. The Texans needed a touchdown and a two-point conversion to tie the game.

With 2:22 remaining in the fourth quarter and down eight, Houston went for an onside kick. The kick failed, and it also didn’t go the required 10 yards, so a five-yard penalty was added to the spot of the ball, giving the Giants the ball at the Texans’ 39. Four plays later, Graham Gano drilled a 49-yard field goal to push the lead back to 11, 24-13.

With only 1:55 left in the game, the Texans took over at their own 25. Mills hit three straight chunk plays to the NYG 17 but then took a 10-yard sack with :44 seconds remaining. With no timeouts remaining, Houston settled for a 46-yard field goal by Fairbairn to cut the deficit to 24-16, but now there were only seven seconds left.

Another onside attempt was unsuccessful, and the Giants would take a knee to end the game with the 24-16 victory.

New York improved to 7-2 with the win, Houston fell to 1-7-1 with the loss.

The Texans host the 4-5 Washington Commanders next week, Sunday, Nov. 20, at noon CT.

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