For the second week in a row, the Houston Texans have come from behind to win on a fantastic finish. And this week was even crazier than last week.
The Texans went into overtime to beat the Titans, and overtime only came after one of the craziest late-game sequences you’ll ever see, as Texans kicker Randy Bullock got four tries at a game-winning field goal.
The first time, Bullock’s kick was good, but Titans coach Mike Munchak had called timeout to ice the kicker, and the play had been waved off. On Bullock’s second try the field goal was blocked, but the Titans were offside, so the Texans got another chance. On the third try, the kick was wide left, but Munchak had called timeout to ice the kicker again. The fourth try was the one that finally counted, and it bounced off the upright and missed.
Coach Gary Kubiak said the team is disappointed in Bullock’s early struggles but acknowledged he’s been placed in tough situations. “He’s got to make that kick to the end the game. … That’s his job,” Kubiak said at Reliant Stadium. “We’ve got confidence in Randy, We’ll see if we can get him a little bit closer. But we expect him to step up and be strong here and work through this and do a good job for us.”
That led to overtime, where the Texans received the kickoff, marched down the field and scored on a Matt Schaub pass to DeAndre Hopkins, who leapt into the air in the end zone, tiptoed in bounds and secured the ball as he was knocked to the ground.
The rookie was amazing down the stretch, dominating on the game-tying drive in regulation and grabbing a 3-yard touchdown in overtime. But Hopkins’ talent and drive have been clear since training camp, and coach Gary Kubiak said the No. 27 pick of the 2013 NFL draft was the Texans’ offensive player of the game Sunday.
“It felt great to be able to pick up the slack once Andre left (with a concussion),” Hopkins said. Johnson made an incredible 21-yard catch to take the ball down to the 2-yard line and set up Arian Foster’s late touchdown run in regulation. It was the last play for Johnson, who was knocked out of the game with a hit by former Texans safety Bernard Pollard.
“The most encouraging thing is you watch the film and, God, there is so much room for improvement,” Kubiak said Monday at Reliant Stadium. “For us as coaches and for him as a player, we’ve got to hang onto the good things he’s doing and we’ve got to fix the mistakes and some of the things he’s struggling with offensively. But I think those things will come and confidence can only help them come even faster.”
“I talked to him, and he was all right,” Texans tight end Owen Daniels said. “He wanted to go back in, but protocol is that you can’t at that point. “I’ve never seen a more blatant blow to the head. A big miss by the officials, especially for a guy like Andre. I know you have to protect every player, especially someone like him.”
For much of the game, the Texans defense had been dominating as it rarely has before, surpassing even the second-half shut down that opened the season in San Diego. The Texans had gone back in front with their first scoring drive since the opening possession. They added a safety to lead 16-10, with the Titans consistently moving backwards. They even pinned Tennessee back on its one-yard line to move into position to chase safeties on consecutive plays.
The win is the second in a row that came only after the Texans appeared to be in deep trouble in the fourth quarter, and although neither win has come easy, Houston will gladly take them both. The Texans are 2-0.
The Texans travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens this Sunday.