Comeback burst ... again
Beaten by a butt cheek: Texans find a new agonizing way to lose on 3rd-and-19fail
This time, the Houston Texans lost by a cheek. Specifically, the left butt cheek of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek.
Only needing to stop the Eagles from converting a third-and-19, only having to hold a Philly team that wasn’t going to do anything too risky to a field goal, the Texans defense instead … turned the other cheek.
Rather than tackling Celek short of the marker and giving the hot Houston offense a chance to win the game, the Texans D let him squirm free, extend the football the full length of his arm and reach the first down just before his butt cheek hit the turf.
The sequence included an agonizing wait as the officials initially ruled that Celek came up short of the first-down marker … until overturning the call (it looked like correctly) on Eagles coach Andy Reid’s replay challenge.
Once Philly had that first down, it quickly scored a touchdown to extend its lead to 10 with only 4:18 remaining.
So much for another comeback.
For the Texans rallied from down 20-10 at halftime to take a 24-20 lead with a dominant third quarter. Only to watch Michael Vick and the Eagles score the last 14 points of the game in the fourth quarter.
Now, it doesn’t matter how much fight Gary Kubiak’s team showed in the City of Brotherly Love. Just like it doesn’t really matter that Andre Johnson (six catches for 149 yards) did his talking with his sure-catch hands just four days after doing it with his flying fists.
The Texans (5-7) are two games under .500, back in last place in a division they have to win to make the playoffs, heading into a Dec. 13 Monday Night Reliant Stadium showdown with the powerful Baltimore Ravens that no one will expect them to win. The 8-4 Eagles have no such worries as Vick’s season of redemption rolled on with a 22-for-33, 350-total-yards, two-touchdown night.
Vick’s night certainly went much better than the Texans’ NFL MVP candidates did. Arian Foster — the NFL’s leading rusher — only managed 83 yards on 22 carries. Compounding that was another erratic game from quarterback Matt Schaub (22-for-36 for 337 yards), who had some great throws and some horrible decisions (one interception, one lost fumble).
Early on, the Texans’ defense looked overmatched against Vick. The NFL’s lightning rod completed seven of his first eight passes and 10 of his first 12 as the Eagles scored touchdowns on their first two possessions.
When Vick hit Jeremy Maclin for a 34-yard completion on the first play of Philadelphia’s third drive, Houston’s defense appeared even more dazed and confused than Cortland Finnegan did after Johnson’s fists of fury combination on Sunday.
But somewhere along the way, Frank Bush’s unit uncovered its resolve.
The Eagles scored only six more points in the first half and three of those came as a result of one of most boneheaded, careless interceptions you’re ever going to see from a backpedaling Schaub. Houston’s defense actually bailed out its quarterback by holding Philadelphia to three points in that sequence.
That momentum carried over into the third quarter.
Until the defensive breakdown on third-and-19. Until the butt cheek that will live in Texans’ infamy from this season of unexpected horrors — right alongside Jacksonville’s 50-yard hail mary touchdown pass and the Jets’ 72-yard drive in the final minute.
How many ways can one team lose?
The Texans aren’t done finding creative ways to answer that question.