Texans defense fails to hold up against Eagles

The Sports Xchange

December 23, 2018 at 10:18 pm.

PHILADELPHIA — With everything in their grasp, the Houston Texans have to wait to possibly clinch the AFC South and a playoff berth after dropping their Sunday game to the Philadelphia Eagles 32-30.

Things looked bleak for the Texans after the Eagles jumped up to a 29-16 lead early in the fourth quarter but quarterback Deshaun Watson and the offense answered back only to be let down by a defense that gave up 471 yards in the air to quarterback Nick Foles.

“I think that is the NFL,” coach Bill O’Brien said about the loss to the Eagles. “I think that all these games, virtually, everyone we have been in this year has come down to the last two or three minutes of the game. Sometimes we have been on top of those games and today we weren’t. Again, give Philly, their team and coaching staff a lot of credit they did a better job than we did overall. They made more plays and give them credit.”

The Texans defense struggled to stop the Eagles passing attack despite creating three turnovers on the day. With blown coverages and missed tackles, Eagles tight end Zach Ertz paced the passing attack with 12 receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns and the big blow came on Nelson Agholor’s 83-yard touchdown reception to flip the game in the favor of the Eagles.

“It’s the same, about three weeks now, we’re just giving up too many passing yards,” Mathieu said of the Texans defense. “Can’t really get off the field on third down. We’re trying to claw our way to victory. Everybody’s not gonna miss a kick so we can win the game.”

Ertz worked the Texans defense with the Eagles using him to attack Houston’s linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties. He was a matchup problem the entire game for the defense.

“Tough matchup,” O’Brien said of Ertz. “However, many catches, 100-plus catches, sometimes we were with him but sometimes we weren’t. It just wasn’t enough.”

The Texans secondary was in shambles after the first quarter after they lost cornerback/safety Kareem Jackson to a knee injury, cornerback Kayvon Webster with a thigh injury and cornerback Johnathan Joseph missed a good portion of the game with a shoulder injury. With the lack of bodies at the cornerback position, the defense was exposed even more when it counted most.

Watson almost worked his magic, completing 29-of-40 passes for 339 yards and two touchdowns. Once again, the Texans running game struggled to get going, leaving Watson to work his magic in the fourth quarter. Hitting running back D’Onta Foreman for a 20-yard touchdown pass and rookie receiver Vyncint Smith for a 35-yard touchdown strike, Watson went 13-of-19 for 175 yards for two touchdowns.

“He just has incredible instincts; he sees things well. He hangs in there; he’s tough,” O’Brien said of Watson. “A football field for him is heaven on Earth. Obviously, we have a strong belief in him and what he can do.”

With the loss, the Texans head to Week 17 with a win and they are AFC South champions with a home playoff game on the horizon. Even with the disappointing outcome, O’Brien is trusting his team to bounce back and get back on track against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“We have a mentally tough team, we do, we have a mentally tough team,” O’Brien explained. “Look, at the end of the day, it is a long season; we are a 10 and 5 football team. We didn’t do enough today, Philly did more. We have to get back and regroup and get ready for Jacksonville.”