This game was much like a dagger to the heart of all Houston Texan fans. They allowed a 20-3 halftime lead to dissipate and could not get the job done in overtime in a thrilling loss to the now 4-0 Seahawks (for the first time in the franchise’s history I might add). Things were very promising for the Texans early on in this game; Matt Schaub was shredding the #1 rated defense in the league. The team racked up nearly 300 yards in the first half alone and were getting a lot of pressure on Russell Wilson in the first half.
The biggest plays in this game were both Seattle interceptions. Late in the first quarter, Earl Thomas picked off Matt Schaub on a third and five at the Seattle 18 yard line. The ball was thrown on a line to tight end Owen Daniels and he could not catch it cleanly. The ball was tipped in the air and was batted around on three separate occasions before falling into the arms of the Seahawks’ safety. This killed off any attempt that the Texans had to put up any points at the end of that drive, points they certainly needed given the way the game turned out. The other big interception was clearly the pick-six courtesy of Richard Sherman to tie the game at 20 apiece. The play came on a third and four at the Seattle 40 yard line. Schaub served the ball up on a platter for the all-pro corner as well. He was rolling out to the left side of the field and then he threw it back across his body towards the right side and Sherman grabbed it out of the arms of (again) Owen Daniels and brought it back 58 yards for the score.
Despite the way this game ended, I thought Schaub did some nice things with the ball. He had a great connection with his tight end Garrett Graham. The 6’3” Wisconsin product had six receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown (coming on a beautifully run seam pattern in the middle of the second quarter). Andre Johnson was good as well, he recorded 9 catches for 110 yards and was frequently crossing the face of the defense and winning his one on one assignments. On defense, Whitney Mercilus had a great game. He was eyeing Russel Wilson the whole game and was constantly blowing plays up in the backfield (as was J.J. Watt, but by this time that comes as no surprise).
The drive of the game came with :11 left in the third quarter. The Seahawks possessed the ball down 20-6 and took the ball all the way down field for a touchdown (in 7:28 and 14 plays). Plays worth mentioning on this drive include the 3rd and 7 conversion to Doug Baldwin (this toe-dragging sideline grab went for 24 yards, and it was huge because if it didn’t go the way of Seattle they would have had to punt the ball away from their own 7 yard line), a 25 yard scramble by Russell Wilson, a 4 yard scramble on a 4th and 3, and of course the three yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch.
The Seahawk defense really buckled down in the second half. They did not allow any points after surrendering 20 in the second quarter alone. They were also able to choke down and squash the two drives that the Texans had in overtime. The team did a great job containing DeAndre Hopkins in this contest as well; while Andre Johnson was enjoying a nice afternoon, it took the rookie until late in the fourth quarter to receive his first catch. The offensive line played very well considering they were without Center Max Unger and tackles Breno Giacomini and Russell Okung. Paul McQuistan played very well at the left tackle position and was repeatedly mauling defenders in the running game. He was beat on a couple of separate occasions by Mercilus but for the most part he was able to defer the pressure to the outside.
This game was far from an offensive shootout, but there were a lot of good things to look at from both teams on that side of the ball. Each were able to run the ball and they did make some money throwing it. Ultimately, the two Schaub interceptions can easily be correlated to the Houston loss. One of them cost the Texans some points and the other allowed Seattle to tie a game that they otherwise might not have been able to do. To make matters even worse, the team will head on the road to play the 49ers next week. Meanwhile the ‘Hawks will remain on the road and take their spotless record and defend it in Indianapolis, which is often a tough place to play. As impressive as the Seattle comeback was in this game, it certainly was helped out with a couple of costly mistakes from the Texans.