Texans vs. Lions: Houston Survives Overtime with Detroit

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistNovember 22, 2012

Watt had three sacks of Matt Stafford to help the Texans come from behind.
Watt had three sacks of Matt Stafford to help the Texans come from behind.Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

In the last five days, the Houston Texans have played more than 143 minutes of game time. Their defense surrendered 68 points and 983 yards of total offense.

And they won both games.

The Texans came from behind for the second time in less than a week to force overtime and watched as the Detroit Lions systematically imploded, granting Houston a hard-fought 34-31 win.

It wasn't pretty, but the Texans advanced to 10-1 thanks in part to a 15-play, 97-yard drive late in regulation that tied the score at 31. 

Though Arian Foster was responsible for the tying touchdown, much of the heavy lifting was done by Andre Johnson, who followed up a huge game against Jacksonville with nine catches for 188 yards against the Lions.

Though dramatic, the game was marred by questionable officiating and even more questionable coaching decisions.

The key play of the game occurred in the third quarter with the Texans trailing 24-14. Justin Forsett was knocked to the ground on a carry, but the officials failed to blow the whistle as Forsett alertly hopped to his feet and continued running downfield for an 81-yard touchdown. 

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz then threw an illegal challenge flag. All scoring plays are reviewed automatically, and had Schwartz done nothing, the play would have been easily overturned on review.

However, the play could not be reviewed as the rules clearly state a team cannot benefit from a review if an illegal challenge is made. Whether Schwartz was ignorant of the rule or just upset is unclear, but his mistake cost his team seven points.

The Lions were in position to win the game most of the day, easily moving the ball against an exhausted Texans defense that didn't have star corner Johnathan Joseph available.

Despite moving the ball well, the Lions never managed to put the Texans away. They penetrated Texans territory on their final six drives spanning the fourth quarter and overtime, but never managed the score that would have won the game.

After the game went to overtime, both coaches chose to get conservative and attempt long field goals after getting to the other team's 30-yard line. Shayne Graham hooked a 51-yard attempt to the left and Jason Hanson of the Lions plunked his potential game-winner off the right goal post.

After the Hanson miss, Matt Schaub went to work on the game-winning drive. He shook off an earlier interception in overtime and drove the offense to the Detroit 15-yard line, setting up a 32-yard try from Hanson.

The kick narrowly sneaked its way inside the left upright to send the Texans to a league-best 10-1 start.

The Texans can thank the spectacular play of J.J. Watt, whose three sacks were a lone defensive highlight for Houston. With Joseph out, the Texans were vulnerable to Calvin Johnson who put up 140 yards and a score for the Lions.

The Texans now have 10 days off to heal and prepare for a trip to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans

After allowing just 143 points in their first nine games (15.9 average), the Texans have now allowed 68 points in their last two (34.5).

With a key matchup against the offensive juggernaut New England Patriots in two weeks, the Texans need to find answers quickly on defense.

The answer may be as simple as a good long rest.

After two marathon wins in five days, the Texans have surely earned one.