On Sunday at NRG Stadium, the New York Giants picked up a win, but it was the Texans that beat themselves through a combination of penalties, turnovers and poor defense.
The Texans scored first on a Ka’imi Fairbairn 23-yard field goal. The Giants then ran off 20 straight points before two more Fairbairn field goals made the score 20-9. Will Fuller scored on a 6-yard pass from Deshaun Watson, but the two-point conversion failed, and the score was 20-15 with 7:37 to go in the game. The Giants’ Eli Manning then hit Sterling Shepard for the touchdown that put the game away. With 2:08 to go in the game. The Texans scored with one second to go in the game when Lamar Miller caught a 4-yard pass from Watson, making the final score 27-22.
The Texans committed seven penalties for 50 yards, with the offensive line accounting for three false starts and three holding penalties.
“Yeah, the penalties, especially, are killing us. I think we had four false starts, had holding calls again, had a touchdown called back,” Texans’ coach Bill O’Brien said.
Two potential touchdown drives were halted by a fumble and an interception. With 3:56 to go in the third quarter, Miller caught a Watson pass and was headed toward the red zone when he fumbled, and the Giants recovered on their 25-yard line. On the Texans’ next possession, Watson was intercepted in the end zone.
“Deshaun (Watson) was just trying to make a play. He’s just trying to make a play. He made a lot of plays today. That one just didn’t work out,” O’Brien said.
The Texans’ offense came into the game ranked first in the league in rushing yards, averaging 157.5 yards per game. The Giants’ defense was ranked 29th in rushing defense, allowing 137.5 yards per game. At the end of the game, the Texans had rushed for 59 yards.
“They (the Giants) loaded up the box, they did a good job. We tried a bunch of different schemes. (We) basically abandoned the running game in the second half, went away from it, tried to do other things. Just never could get it going,” O’Brien said.
Meanwhile, Giant’s quarterback Eli Manning had a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3 in the second quarter, as the Giants scored 13 points. Manning ended the game with a rating of 142.6.
“Well, I thought we did a good job having a good plan to get the ball out. The ball was coming out fast, could see what they were doing,” Manning said. “The offensive line was blocking, doing what they were doing, they were blocking things up and we didn’t have the mistakes. I thought we kind of condensed the offense a little bit and made sure guys knew what they were doing. Plays that they knew, they were playing fast, the offensive line was playing fast and we have good players, just let them go play. Let’s not try to be perfect and trick or do too much. Let our guys go win, because we got good athletes.”
Not all of the Texans’ play was bad, as J.J. Watt had three sacks, three tackles for a loss, four quarterback hits and eight tackles. Watt, however, was concerned about being 0-3.
“We’ve got to figure something out. I told the guys in there we’re at the bottom, and you’ve got to find a way to claw our way out of the bottom,” he said. “One day at a time, we’ve got to stick together. Obviously, you don’t expect anybody outside of the building to believe in you, rightfully so. You have no choice; you’ve got to stick together. All of us need to look in the mirror, analyze ourselves and figure out what we can do better every single day to find a way to win games. None of us expected to be here, none of us want to be here, but the reality is we’re here. You control what you can control. We take it one day at a time. Like I said, everybody find out how we can get a little bit better and get a win, because this sucks.”
Watson completed 24 of 40 passes for 385 yards and two touchdowns, and Will Fuller caught five passes for 101 yards and a touchdown.
But there weren’t enough good plays to overcome the bad plays, and the Texans dropped to 0-3.
“Yeah, it’s disappointing. It’s not good, and it’s just not very good. Like I said last week, you don’t have any choices. You have to try to come back in here tomorrow, and prepare, look at the film, get things corrected, try to figure out what we can do better and try to start getting ready for the Colts,” O’Brien said.
The Texans play the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday.