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Big Play Breakdown | Texans at Patriots, Preseason Week 1 


The Texans finally won a game at Gillette Stadium and I don't care that it was in a preseason context. It was just good to beat those guys and beat them up a bit too. Anyhow, I dove into three big plays immediately after the game.

3rd and four -18 yard line

Result: No score

Patriots DB Jalen Mills picked off a pass to set the Patriots up in sure-fire scoring territory on the first Texans drive of the game. So, after two plays picked up six yards, Patriots QB Bailey Zappe dropped to throw on third and four. As soon as he did, he was wearing two or three Texans, including LB Denzel Perryman. On that rush, Perryman mugged over the interior lineman. Meaning? Meaning that he showed up in their face like he's mean mugging. But, on the snap, he turned his body like he was going to drop in to pass coverage. Patriots LG rookie Atonio Mafi saw Perryman turn and went to go help his center thinking that Perryman was dropping in coverage. As Mafi did, Perryman turned back and burned right up the B gap (between guard and tackle) for an impressive sack to force a field goal attempt. The Texans gave up two turnovers, but didn't yield a first down after either of them. This first stop was a result of a well constructed rush and Perryman's acting skills.

1st and goal +Six yard line

Result: Patriots up 3-0

The Texans came out in 11 personnel with trips (two WR and a TE) to the wide side of the field. On the backside, rookie WR Tank Dell was matched up with rookie CB Isaiah Bolden. The Patriots blitzed and played cover zero, which left Bolden one-on-one with Tank and no help at all over the top (not that any could've come on this play, honestly). Tank gave Bolden a hot foot release, gave a hard inside fake as if to run the slant. In doing so, Bolden bit hard on the inside fake. Dell then faded to the corner, but QB Davis Mills didn't throw the traditional high, back corner of the end zone throw. He threw a back shoulder ball and it may have caught Tank by surprise. The reason I'm assuming this is that Tank turned almost 360 degrees to get his hands on the ball as it was fired at the pylon. Thankfully, Dell was able to make that adjustment. He didn't secure it right away, but never gave up on it and snatched it to his body for the first TD of his career and the first for the Texans on the season.

4th and three +Five yard line

Result: Texans ahead 13-3

There were a few fourth and short opportunities that Coach DeMeco Ryans wisely eschewed around midfield throughout the game. But, with a ten point lead, at the five yard line, in the fourth quarter, he figured a short field goal wouldn't do much for anyone, really. It's too short of a field goal to challenge kicker Jake Bates. It would've only given the Texans a 13-point lead. So, he decided to go for it on fourth down. Now, I don't know what the Texans call it, but what happened next was one of the staples of the West Coast offense - Sprint left option. With Johnny Johnson III to run some interference in tandem with WR Alex Bachman, QB Case Keenum executed sprint left option to perfection. He rolled hard to his left and as he did, Bachman drove up and then out to the pylon. Johnson created enough interference as Bachman got a step on his defender and Keenum put the ball one yard out of bounds. Bachman reached out, snagged the pass, dragged his feet and had his first TD as a Texan. So, beautiful. That one play has created some of the greatest highlights in NFL history and it helped give the Texans their final score of the night.

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