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Breaking down the key plays | Browns at Texans

Houston Texans Team Analyst John Harris breaks down the big plays in the Browns-Texans Week 13 matchup.

1. Jalen Pitre's interception

1st Quarter - 3:33 remaining

-11 yard line

1st and ten

Texans lead 3-0

The Browns had moved the ball down the field midway through the first quarter and were knocking on the door for their first score of the day. They put 12 personnel on the field - one RB and two tight ends with QB Deshaun Waton under center. They put both TEs to the left side of the formation in a Y wing set and two stacked receivers wide to the right of the formation. They ran play action with trap protection as the Texans were in cover three. The Browns then ran one of my favorite routes - it's called a Mills route. It's a post on the outside and a dig on the inside. The QB's read is quite easy - read the free safety. If he jumps on the dig, hit the post. If he stays deep on the post, hit the dig. Watson's read was Jalen Pitre, the Texans free safety. After the play fake, Watson dropped and immediately had heat in his face in the form of DL Michael Dwumfour, who had split a double team brilliantly and powerfully. Pitre, to his credit, started to chase the dig and then saw that Watson wanted the post. He then planted, redirected and darted in front of the errant throw for his third interception of the year. He then sprinted up the field with the rock all the way out to the Texans 26-yard line. What a great play all around for the Texans defense!


2nd Quarter - 12:00 remaining

+1 yard line

2nd and ten

Texans lead 3-0

The Texans couldn't punch it into the end zone on fourth and goal from the one so they turned it back over to the Browns early in the second quarter. The Browns didn't move it off the one on first down, so on 2nd and ten from the one they put in their sixth OL Chris Hubbard and had two tight ends in the game. The Texans answered with their base unit on defense. The Browns tried to run a duo play into the middle of the Texans defensive line. DL Roy Lopez Jr. played the double team brilliantly on his side. LB Christian Kirksey slammed into the backside A gap. Then, DL Maliek Collins beat RT Jack Conklin on the backside and as he did, RB Nick Chubb ran right into Conklin's back one yard deep into the end zone. That slowed Chubb's progress so he bounced to his left. As he did, Lopez was right there to stunt Chubb's run again. Then, the cavalry arrived, led by Christian Harris and Jalen Pitre, slamming into Chubb, keeping him from getting the ball outside of the goal line. SAFETY! Texans took a 5-0 baseball score lead, which was just their way of saying thanks to World Series MVP Jeremy Pena for being on hand today.

3. Special Teams TD

2nd Quarter - 4:03 remaining

-16 yard line

4th and three

Texans lead 5-0

This is the first special teams' appearance in the Key Play Breakdown and it's an unfortunate one. The Texans went three and out after a Browns punt and sent the punt team out on the field. The Texans used a little different technique. Instead of having an additional blocker attached to the line of scrimmage, they put Eric Murray way off the line of scrimmage essentially splitting the difference between the OL and the gunner. It was a great schematic move. On the snap, he just took off full speed up the field. He completely sprinted past his blocker as did M.J. Stewart, but dynamic talent Donovan Peoples-Jones slipped out of Murray's tackle attempt and then Stewart's attempt. He then slipped another tackle attempt and was nearly taken down by the ankle at the 37-yard line. But, he kept his balance and got back to full speed with a large number of blue shirts behind him. He got a great shield block from A.J. Green Jr. and beat everyone to the end zone for a gut punch return touchdown. It was a 76-yarder that gave the Browns the lead and it was one of three NOTs (non-offensive TD) for the Browns on the day…unfortunately.

Browse photos from the Texans, Browns Week 13 matchup.

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