Thanksgiving Day, nothing like it. Time for family, friends, warm gatherings, and football. And in the case of the Detroit Lions and the Houston Texans, one heck of a football game; one that required overtime to settle the outcome.
The Texans overcame a determined Detroit Lions squad looking to give the home fans a Thanksgiving treat, but ultimately the Lions committed too many blunders that helped give the Texans a 34-31 overtime win.
Here are five things we learned from the game:
1. The Houston Texans need a break from football for a few days most likely. While needing overtime to outlast the home-standing Lions, Houston played its second overtime game in as many weeks. In the last five days the Texans have played ten quarters of football. In this span, they have won both games in thrilling fashion; and have collected a whole bunch of yards on offense that should give them plenty of options moving forward for both the running and passing games.
Houston gritted and fought hard, establishing and proving to any doubters around the league that they are both physically able to handle any challenge, and mentally strong enough to be disciplined and prepared to fight, for as long as it takes; to win the game.
2. Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz lost his cool. He lost his patience. And maybe, just maybe; he helped lose the game for the Detroit Lions. After watching Houston running back Justin Forsett scramble 81 yards for a touchdown, with the yards gained past midfield coming after his left knee and elbow hit the turf, Schwartz clearly saw what everyone else saw that the runner was down by contact.
So Schwartz threw the challenge flag to overturn the play. The problem with that? All scoring plays are reviewed, so no challenge play was needed. In fact, throwing a challenge flag on a scoring play results in no replay allowed; and in addition tacking on a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty against the coach for throwing the challenge flag. Instead of the play being overturned as it would have with a scoring review, the play stood; Houston had a big play and the Texans used this score to eventually win the game in overtime.
3. Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson is hot. White hot. With over 450 yards receiving in the last two games, 461 receiving yards to be exact; Johnson is trying to reclaim his place in the league as one of the top if not the top receiver in the game.
After having his seasons cut short with injuries the last couple of years, Johnson has made the football field his personal playground in back to back weeks. Standing 6' 3", and weighing 230 pounds; Johnson is a beast. With great speed and excellent strength, the ten year man out of Miami can run like a gazelle, and charge like a rhino once he has the ball. Houston is very glad Andre Johnson is back in elite form.
4. There is just something about Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh that isn't quite right, at least on the football field for most games that is. Suh, usually a lightning rod for controversy, was at it again against the Texans. Suh was on the ground at the end of a play, and proceeded to kick Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin. Ouch.
This is not an isolated incident, nor can you consider it just a slip of the foot. Last year on Thanksgiving, Suh was ejected for stepping on the right arm of a Packer's offensive lineman and was suspended for two games. Suh has also been flagged for late hits and personal foul penalties on others, including the Bears Jay Cutler, the Bengals Andy Dalton, and former Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme.
It's hard to defend Suh, and more to the point, it seems he is a dirty player at times. These transgressions by Suh cost him, and his team yards and momentum. Dumb move Ndamukong. Clean it up.
5. The Houston Texans seem to be firing on all cylinders now as the month of December approaches and playoff positioning hits full stride. Houston has now won five straight games, and the AFC South-leading Texans stand tall at 10-1 with home field advantage becoming more of a reality.
There is still a lot of football to be played, and anything can happen. But as history has dictated before, the team with the hot hand in December can expect to right in the mix for a serious Super Bowl Champion. Just ask the New York Giants of last year, and the Green Bay Packers the year before; and the New Orleans Saints the year before that.
Houston seems ready and able to take it all the way to Mercedes-Benz Superdome this year in New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII.