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Breaking down the key plays | Texans at Cowboys

Houston Texans Team Analyst John Harris breaks down the big plays in the Texans-Cowboys Week 14 matchup.

Week 14 Key Play Breakdown

1. Tremon Smith's first INT

2nd quarter - 3:21 remaining

Cowboys ahead 14-10

Second and eight

+38 yard line

Just prior to the start of this drive, I saw Texans DB Tremon Smith go into the game at CB so I started to walk down the sideline to see if I could find Steven Nelson. By that time, though, I was about at midfield and saw Dak Prescott go no huddle, getting his offense back to the line of scrimmage in a hurry. I just happened to turn back to see the ball floating in the air after being tipped. Cowboys WR Noah Brown ran a hard slant route and Prescott zipped one just outside the receiver's catch radius. Texans DB M.J. Stewart did a wonderful job jumping into the passing lane and disrupting Brown's vision. As such, Brown was able to get his hands on it, tipping the ball straight up in the air as a result and Smith was in perfect position to snatch that tip and return it 26 yards to the Dallas 27 yard line. One false start and one Dameon Pierce run later and, well, this next play happened.

2. Amari Rodgers TD catch

2nd quarter - 2:30 remaining

Cowboys still ahead 14-10

Second and 11

+28 yard line

The Texans had alternated QBs exceptionally well throughout the day, using both Jeff Driskel and Davis Mills almost equally throughout. With the Texans driving after the Cowboys took a 14-10 lead, Driskel ended up in the shot gun. Driskel faked an inside give and pulled the ball, running to the outside. He was supposed to have TE Teagan Quitoriano leaking out to the same side with him for a little dump off pass, but Driskel got pressure right away so he couldn't even get eyes on his rookie TE. Driskel never really even had a chance to attack the line of scrimmage, so I thought he might throw and then OH MY GOD, he's letting that sucker fly. WR Amari Rodgers had beaten Cowboys S Donovan Wilson in man coverage down the field on the go route, but Driskel's throw hung up in the air a bit. As it did, Rodgers adjusted his route, stopped to come back to meet the ball as Wilson struggled to stay in phase and made the great catch! Rodgers leapt in the air and stole the rock out of the air for his first touchdown catch as a Texan. It was also Driskel's first touchdown throw as a Texan and it gave the Texans a 17-14 lead late in the second quarter.

3. The 10-point swing

3rd quarter - 8:23 remaining

Texans ahead 20-17

Fourth and goal

-1 yard line

The Texans fumbled the rock on their first drive of the third quarter. Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs ran all over the Metroplex with the ball and eventually moved it down inside Texans territory. The Cowboys offense then moved the ball inside the five yard line, but the Texans held firm to force a fourth and goal attempt at the one yard line. Flash back for a second, though to the Cowboys' first drive of the game. Cowboys OC Kellen Moore put both his RB in the game - Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. The latter went in motion and took a sweep handoff to the right side to score the first touchdown of the game. Once again, OC Moore sent Pollard in motion, but QB Dak Prescott handed the ball to Elliott on a duo/belly play through the A gaps and he got STONED. Desmond King knifed in from the outside and, along with Christian Harris and Jonathan Owens, just hammered the veteran Cowboys running back. I mean, those three Texans smacked the you-know-what out of him and he didn't get close to the goal line, in fact he lost a yard. The Texans moved the ball off the two yard and went down and kicked a 54-yard field goal to take a six point lead. That stop ended up being a 10-point turnaround - seven the defense kept off the board and three the offense scored on the ensuing drive.

4. Tremon Smith's second INT

4th quarter - 5:45 remaining

Texans ahead 23-20

Second and 20

+3 yard line

This was Texans DB Tremon Smith's second interception but it came about as a result of another tremendous rush by Ogbo Okoronkwo. The former Alief Taylor HS star went bonkers in the second half but it was setup up earlier in the game with a Cowboys OL injury. When Cowboys RT Terence Steele went out of the game in the first half, backup Josh Ball went into the game at RT. Ogbo ate him alive in the third and fourth quarters with his pass rush, and in the run game, as well. On the previous play, Ogbo beat Ball INSIDE with a great swipe/inside counter pass rush and forced the ball out of Prescott's hands. The ball squirted away behind the Cowboys line of scrimmage but, unfortunately, the Texans couldn't get on the ball. Regardless, it set up this second and 20 play from inside the Cowboys five yard line. After winning the previous rush on first down, Ogbo set up the inside move quickly to get Ball to bite, then countered back OUTSIDE and as he did he was able to nudge Dak's arm as he threw to the outside. The ball fluttered right into Tremon's arms for his second pick of the game, setting the Texans up at the Dallas four yard line with 5:37 remaining in the game. That should've done it. But, well, you know the rest.

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