Waving the White Flag

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December 17, 2006
Waving the White Flag

by Dave Sabo

The Texans looked like a beaten and demoralized football team in Foxboro. And then Kris Brown kicked off.

Following a week of second-guessing and wondering “what if” in the wake of last Sunday’s devastating loss to Vince Young and the Titans, the Texans showed no fight during their 40-7 loss to the New England Patriots. Following an opening drive punt from the Pats, the Texans ran three plays and faced fourth and one at their own 42. Kubiak aggressively called for a fake punt. Defensive back Jason Simmons intercepted the snap and was stuffed for no gain. New England took over on downs, scored three minutes later, and never looked back.

The beneficiary of excellent field position all day, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady worked with a short field most of the game which limited him to just 109 yards on 16 of 23 passing. He managed, however, to toss two touchdown passes, one to stone-handed former Texan receiver, Jabar Gaffney.

New England running backs, Corey Dillon, Kevin Faulk and Heath Evans accounted for 107 yards on 32 carries. Faulk scored on an 11-yard run in the first quarter.

The only bright spot for the Texans was running back Ron Dayne, who carried 18 times for 94 yards. He gained 21 of those yards on the Texans’ drive to open the second half. Trailing 27-0, the Texans drove 70 yards and scored on a 1-yard plunge by Dayne.

Unfortunately, the Patriots quashed any momentum seconds later as second-year return man Ellis Hobbs returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown.

Rookie kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, closed out the scoring in the second half with field goals of 36, 32, 31 and 21 yards.

What Went Right?

One Drive
The Texans opened the second half with a 10-play, 70-yard drive culminating in a touchdown plunge by Ron Dayne. For five minutes and eleven seconds, they looked like an NFL team.

They Only Lost by 33
New England left a lot of points on the field. They settled for field goals on four occasions. They dropped a couple of interceptions deep in Houston territory. They just went through the motions after it got out of hand… and still dominated.

Honestly? Nothing.
Really, that was pathetic. While the numbers for the Steeler game the inaugural season were worse, they somehow won that one. Today was an embarrassment.

What Went Wrong?

The Offense
While they racked up a respectable 232 total yards, 70 came on one drive. They gave back another 34 on sacks. Carr threw four interceptions. Eleven of fourteen drives went five plays or less.

The Defense
Jabar Freaking Gaffney caught a touchdown pass. Need I say more?

Special Teams
They lost (BADLY) the battle for field position, gave up 144 yards in returns and a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. And, they committed a few really stupid penalties.

Key Play Of The Game

With less than four minutes gone in the game and facing fourth-and-one from his own 42, Gary Kubiak challenged his team, faking the punt. The Texans weren’t up to it. Taking a direct snap, Jason Simmons was stopped for no gain. The Patriots took over on downs and scored just over three minutes later. The Texans never challenged.

Game 14 Recap Quarterback David Carr absorbs yet another sack against the Patriots. Final Score Houston Texans 7 New England Patriots 40 Lookin’ Good

Ron Dayne
Remember when Dayne was the focus of Texan fans’ ire? He turned in his third straight productive game, picking up 94 hard-earned yards on 18 carries.

Oh, my eyes!

David Carr
Might this be remembered as the game that sealed Carr’s fate in Houston? While he completed 16 of 28 passes, he also threw four interceptions and took four sacks. Calling his play “ineffective” would be generous.

2006 Schedule Date Opponent Result 08.12 Kansas City 24-14 08.19 St. Louis 27-20 08.27 at Denver 14-17 08.31 Tampa Bay 16-13 Regular Season 09.10 Philadelphia 10-24 09.17 at Indianapolis 24-43 09.24 Washington 15-31 10.01 Miami 17-15 10.08 Bye 10.15 at Dallas 6-34 10.22 Jacksonville 27-7 10.29 at Tennessee 22-28 11.05 at NY Giants 10-14 11.12 at Jacksonville 13-10 11.19 Buffalo 21-24 11.26 at NY Jets 11-26 12.03 at Oakland 23-14 12.10 Tennessee 20-26 12.17 at New England 7-40 12.24 Indianapolis 27-24 12.31 Cleveland 14-6   Overall Record 6-10