September 19, 2010
Angry Dre Delivers OT in Beast Mode
by Keith Weiland
Keith -at- IntheBullseye -dot- com
The Texans overcame a 17-point deficit late in the third quarter to force the Redskins to overtime en route to a 30-27 victory. In a game littered with as many questionable coaching decisions as there were passing yards (923 to be exact), it was yet another singular play by Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson that made this game memorable.
Johnson, who had left the game earlier in the second half due to an ankle injury, returned as the Texans were completing their comeback. Facing a fourth-and-10 down by 7 points with just over two minutes remaining in the game, Johnson outjumped Redskins safety Reed Doughty with his gimpy ankle and landed with the 34-yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 27-27.
With 3:43 remaining in overtime, kicker Neil Rackers converted a 35-yard field goal attempt for the victory, the franchise's first in the fifth quarter. The game-winning kick came shortly after tight end Joel Dreesen hauled in a 28-yard pass, his only catch of the game. The opportunity to kick the winning points should have been satisfying for Rackers as his head coach, Gary Kubiak, kept him on the sideline earlier in overtime, opting for a punt in lieu of a 52-yard field goal try.
Rackers may never have had his shot for glory if Redskins kicker Graham Gano converted his overtime field goal. Having made his first attempt from 51-yards, it didn't count as Kubiak called for a timeout just before the ball was snapped. Gano's second try sailed wide right.
The Texans rallied for their 17-point comeback on the strength of their quarterback, Matt Schaub. Aided by the excellent efforts of receivers Johnson (12-158, 1 TD) and Kevin Walter (11-144, 1 TD), Schaub had a franchise record 497 passing yards to go with his 3 touchdowns on 38-of-52 passing.
Johnson's catch was easily the key play of the game, a do-or-die hail mary of an effort where Schaub threw it up and asked his star receiver to make a play. They've done this sort of thing before - remember the 2008 Miami game? - but it never gets old.
There was a key special teams play a bit earlier in the game though that proved just as crucial to the final result. With 6:36 remaining in the game, the Redskins had a chance to take a 10-point lead if Gano could connect on a 29-yard field goal. Playmaker Bernard Pollard had other plans though, as he flew past the outside contain unscathed to get a hand on the ball to block the kick.
Plenty of game balls to go around in this one. A franchise record for passing yards? Here ya go Matt. Another all-world clutch catch? Angry Dre gets another for his collection. And Pollard was a playmaker again? Yep. He was part of a deep secondary that was abused early in the game, but blocking a field goal in a game that's destined for OT is an automatic game ball from here.
Walter also kept the offense clicking in Johnson's absence. His steady hands were a sigh of relief as Jacoby Jones failed to catch a pair of third down passes in the second half. And Mario Williams maybe wasn't quite as dominant this Sunday as he was last Sunday, but he delivered three big sacks and a lot of fire to keep his team alive for the win.
20 unanswered points
In a game with several eye-popping stats, it was only the scoreboard which could attempt to capture the amount of heart shown by the Texans in this one. Did they deserve to win? Maybe, but this was certainly a game in which the team would have lost just a year ago.
The team won in spite of some poor pass defense and some questionable coaching decisions. Good teams make their own luck, and the Texans did plenty of that. They never gave up on the game or each other, and now they are in sole possession of the AFC South Division lead with a 2-0 record.
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