• Brian L. Barefield

Second Half Collapse Leads To Fourth Consecutive Loss For The Texans

Photo Credit/Cassie Stricker/Houston Texans

For one half of football, the Houston Texans gave their fans something to cheer for against the New England Patriots on Sunday after taking a lead into halftime for the first time since their Week 1 game against the Carolina Panthers.

The only problem is, there is the second half of football and, by the time the game was over, the fans were looking at the scoreboard trying to figure out what happened as the Texans lost 25-22 to the Patriots.

“Offensively, that kept us from being able to keep the ball moving along,” said Texans head coach David Culley about his team's inefficiency in the second half.

Houston opened the game more effectively than the previous week in a 40-0 blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills. They took the opening kickoff and went 79-yards in 18-plays that resulted in a touchdown pass from Davis Mills to tight end Antony Auclair.

New England would respond with a one-yard touchdown run from running back Damion Harris to tie the game, but Houston would regain the lead when Mills found wide receiver Chris Moore for a 67-yard touchdown pass. That play was highlighted by Mills ability to avoid the rush and roll out to his right to put the pass in-between two Patriot defenders.

Photo Credit/Mike Welsch/Houston Texans

After exchanging field goals to end the half, the Texans would take a 15-9 lead into halftime and came out of the half just as hot as they went in when they took a Lonnie Johnson Jr. turnover and converted it into a 37-yard touchdown pass from Mills to wide receiver Chris Conley. The lead increased to 22-9 and it looked as if Houston was on its way to its second win of the season.

Yet, the Patriots had other plans, and they executed those to perfection as the defense stepped up to hold the Texans to no more points as they scored consecutive field goals and a touchdown from rookie quarterback Mac Jones to tight end Hunter Henry to tie the game at 22.

"Mac has been good for us all year in terms of his leadership and resilience," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said after the game.

After holding Houston to another three-and-out, New England got the ball back with just over seven minutes left in the game as their goal was to eat up as much clock as they could and win the game. It looked as if the Texans had thwarted that plan when they forced Jones into an incompletion on third down, but defensive lineman Maliek Collins was penalized for roughing the passer.

“It’s just unfortunate,” starting safety Justin Reid said. “Maliek (Collins) has made so many plays for us, just being the aggressive guy that he is. It’s just unfortunate that that play happened, but those plays do happen sometimes.”

The Patriots would use the new set of downs to put kicker Nick Folk’s in position to hit a 21-yard field goal with 15 seconds left to give New England a 25-22 lead that would eventually be the final score.

Photo Credit/Zach Tarrant/Houston Texans

Although Houston dropped their fourth consecutive game, one bright spot was the play of rookie quarterback Davis Mills who had one of his best performances this season with 312 yards passing, three touchdowns, and no turnovers.

“I felt the team as a whole, we played really well today,” Mills said. “Couple of plays here and there that we'd like back. But I thought overall it was a big improvement from last week.”

The Texans travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts Sunday at Lucas Oil Field.

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