One week after playing their best game of the season on national TV in an impressive win over the New England Patriots, the Texans allowed the Denver Broncos to score on their first five possessions en route to a 38-24 loss on Sunday, Dec. 8, at NRG Stadium.
HOUSTON — One week after playing their best game of the season on national TV in an impressive win over the New England Patriots, the Texans allowed the Denver Broncos to score on their first five possessions en route to a 38-24 loss on Sunday, Dec. 8, at NRG Stadium.
The Texans now go to Tennessee to play the Titans on Sunday in a big AFC South game. Houston and Tennessee are tied for first place in the division, each 8-5. They play twice over the next three weeks.
The Broncos, who entered the game 4-8 overall, started their first drive at their 8-yard line and needed just 2-minutes, 59-seconds to drive 92 yards and score their first touchdown, a 14-yard pass from rookie quarterback Drew Lock to Noah Fant.
On the Texans’ next series, Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson stripped receiver Keke Coutee of the ball, and Jeremiah Attaochu recovered it and lateraled the ball to former Texan Kareem Jackson, who took it 70 yards to the end zone to give the Broncos a 14-0 lead with 3:33 to go in the first quarter.
The Broncos scored on their next four series as they took a 38-3 lead with 9:15 to go in the third quarter.
Texans players said the game could have been looked at as a “trap game” following such an emotional win the previous week.
“I believe it was, because we were on a high (after the Patriots win),” cornerback Bradley Roby said. “It was a team not making the playoffs … you think you can just roll it out there and win, but in the NFL, every week, they have guys on the other team that can go out and get a win. We learned that today.”
The Texans scored on a 43-yard pass from Deshaun Watson to DeAndre Hopkins. After the Texans defense finally stopped a Broncos drive, Watson scored on a 6-yard run to cut the lead to 38-17 with 13:45 remaining.
The Texans again stopped the Broncos and moved to the Broncos’ 32-yard line before Jackson intercepted a tipped Watson pass to kill any hopes the Texans may have had for a comeback win.
Jackson, a 2010 first-round draft pick by Houston, had 11 total tackles and two takeaways.
“Kareem played well. He is a good player and he played a really good game,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said.
The Texans scored their final points on a Watson 3-yard run with 25 seconds left.
Lock, making just the second start of his young career, completed 22 of 27 passes for 309 yards, three touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 136.0. He spread the ball around to 10 different receivers.
“Lock did a good job. They had a good plan and we had a hard time defending it. Lock and his teammates did a good job,” O’Brien said.
Fant, another Broncos rookie, had four receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown, and second-year running back Phillip Lindsay rushed for 51 yards on 16 carries.
Watson completed 28 of 50 passes for 292 yards, and had one touchdown, two interceptions and a quarterback rating of 63.1. He also rushed six times for 44 yards and two touchdowns. Hopkins had seven receptions for 120 yards and one touchdown, and Carlos Hyde rushed 14 times for 73 yards.
“We didn’t play well,” O’Brien said. “Our pass coverage wasn’t very good. But it just wasn’t pass defense, it was false starts, and we didn’t stop the run very well. I thought our guys fought hard to the end, but the lead was too large.
“We are all in this together. There is a lot of football yet to be played, and we are all in this together. I think we have a really good football team, but we have to be more consistent.”