Generally, football is an 11-on-11 sport.
This past Sunday, the Houston Texans made their game against the Cleveland Browns into a 2-on-11 sport.
They won soundly.
Riding the 239 combined rushing yards of star running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate, who single-handedly outgained the 172 yards accumulated by the Browns’ entire offense, the Texans coasted to a 30-12 victory at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
The Turning Point:
After giving up an 82 yard touchdown drive to the Texans on their opening possession, the Browns took over at their 25 yard line. Running back Chris Ogbonnaya took a handoff from Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, made several nifty moves, and promptly fumbled. The Texans recovered and scored a touchdown six plays later on a quarterback sneak by quarterback Matt Schaub to make the game 14-0. From this point onward, the Browns were forced to play in catch-up mode and never recovered.
Key Players:
Chris Ogbonnaya: In recent weeks, Ogbonnaya had showed flashes of potential as a receiver out of the backfield as he backed up Montario Hardesty. Hardesty’s calf injury pushed Ogbonnaya into the starting role. Contained by the Texans’ tough run defense, Ogbonnaya was limited to 28 rushing yards and 1 catch for 13 yards and never got going on the ground.
Arian Foster\Ben Tate: As previously mentioned, Foster and Tate ran for a combined 239 yards. Despite coming into the game with one of the NFL’s best defenses, the Browns failed to contain Foster and Tate and allowed them to run wild all game long. Heading into the game without star wide receiver Andre Johnson, the Texans needed to have a big game from Foster and Tate in order to win, and they did.
Phil Dawson: One of the highlights of the Browns’ disappointing season has been Dawson, who has kicked for the team since 1999. Dawson hit two long field goals for the Browns today from 50 and 51 yards. On the season, Dawson has only missed two field goals, and both of those missed kicks were blocked field goals during the Browns’ win against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Texans’ Defense: A collective effort by the Texans’ defense made McCoy’s return to his home state of Texas a return that he’d like to quickly forget. The Texans’ defense sacked McCoy 4 times, intercepted him once, and took advantage of the Browns’ struggling offensive line and pressured him all game long.

Colt McCoy: McCoy showed on the Browns' only touchdown drive that he can find receivers and make plays when he has the time to do a simple three-step drop and look downfield. Unfortunately, the Browns' offensive line rarely gives him this time. Those who are seeking to assign blame for the Browns' performance on offense shouldn't point them at McCoy.
Most Telling Stat:
When two players are able to outgain the entire opposing team, it’s pretty safe to conclude that the other team had a bad day on offense. Foster and Tate rushed for 239 combined yards, which was more yards than the entire Browns offense accumulated all day long.
What It Means For The Winner:
For the Texans, their win allows them to maintain control of first place in the AFC South. Their win also shows that they can win without a huge game from their passing attack, which may be necessary during the bad weather that is often present during the playoffs.
What It Means For The Loser:
For the Browns, today’s game shows that their defense may not be quite as good as the statistics claim that it is. The Texans ran at will and the Browns were powerless to stop the Texans’ two-headed rushing attack. Additionally, today’s game also reaffirms the fact that their offense badly needs improvement and that the Browns will need to add talent in the offseason. The offensive line looked worse than it has in weeks, and their ineptitude completely doomed the Browns’ entire offensive game plan.