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Breaking down the key plays | Texans vs. Eagles

Houston Texans Team Analyst John Harris breaks down the big plays in the Texans-Eagles Week 9 matchup.


12:16 in the 2nd quarter
Game tied at seven
1st and ten
-27 yard line

The Eagles responded after Teagan Quitoriano's first career touchdown with a touchdown drive of their own to tie the game. Two drives later, the Eagles had the ball again with the game tied at seven. Eagles WR A.J. Brown got loose for 31 yards on a catch and run, followed by a DeVonta Smith 22 yard catch that put the Eagles at the Texans 27-yard line. The Eagles came out in a trips set to the right side of the formation, but a "nub" TE on the left side. This is a set the Eagles love to use. That's important because against a nub set with a lone TE to the back side, there are some defensive things that can be worked on that side, like a CB blitz. So, time to rewind for a second…last week in practice, I looked over during individual drills and I could see the DBs working on a drill in which they were rushing the passer from the edge, using a shoulder dip/rip to get to the QB. I made a mental note because that's not something DBs work on at all, unless there's a chance to run a corner blitz. That's exactly what Lovie Smith called on this first down play - Steven Nelson coming off that edge on the CB blitz. The Eagles never accounted for him and QB Jalen Hurts was unaware of what was coming. Nelson hit Hurts and knocked the ball out for DL Jaleel Johnson to recover, a massive takeaway at the perfect time. It was also the first and only fumble lost by the Eagles all season long.


2:38 in the 2nd quarter
Eagles ahead 14-7
1st and ten
-37 yard line

The Texans started a drive after the Eagles took the lead 14-7 on the previous drive. On a first down play, the Texans had 12 personnel on the field, aligned the two tight ends in a Y wing situation to the right side of the field. QB Davis Mills went into the gun with RB Dameon Pierce to his left. The Eagles stayed in nickel personnel on the field with nickel DB Avonte Maddox matching WR Chris Moore on the offense's left. OC Pep Hamilton called a GT counter to the Y wing (right) side. TEs Brevin Jordan and O.J. Howard doubled down together to cave in that side, then Brevin bumped off to block ILB T.J. Edwards. LG Kenyon Green pulled across and collided with DE Josh Sweat and LT Laremy Tunsil turned up with no one to block, honestly. Pierce tucked behind his hulking tackle and BURST up the field, running over DBs and pulling out of feeble tackle attempts. Pierce eventually bounced out to the sideline and sprinted forward until he just ran out of real estate for 36 huge yards.


:43 in the 2nd quarter
Eagles ahead 14-7
1st and ten
+13 yard line

After that Pierce run, Mills hit WR Tyron Johnson for eight yards and then a Pierce six yard run gave the Texans a first down at the Eagles thirteen yard line. On first down, the Texans came out in 12 personnel with a bunch set to the left of the formation. The point man in the bunch was WR Chris Moore and he immediately started up the middle of the formation as the Eagles appeared to be in quarters coverage. TE O.J. Howard trailed Moore up the field and it seemed as if Pep Hamilton wanted to put the safety in a bind with Moore at the back of the end zone and Howard at the goal line. Before Mills could make the throw, though, he got some pressure and was forced to escape to his right. As he did, Moore continued to move along the end zone with Mills on the run. Once out in full view, Mills threw a laser shot to Moore who slid into the catch just beyond the goal line for the game tying touchdown before the end of the half.


1:26 in the 4th quarter
Eagles ahead 21-17
2nd and goal
-4 yard line

The Eagles roared back in the fourth quarter after the Texans closed the lead to 21-17. They drove down into the low red zone and faced a 2nd and goal from the four yard line. They put A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith into a stack to the right of the formation. On the left side, they had two tight ends (12 personnel) - Jack Stoll as the Y on the line and Dallas Goedert in the nasty slot as the H. The Eagles appeared to be running split zone with Goedert crossing back across the formation to seemingly kick out the end man on the line of scrimmage. But, instead, it was an RPO pick route pass to Goedert. So, instead of blocking LB Garret Wallow, Goedert slipped past him into the flat with a head start on DB Jonathan Owens. The two stacked receivers ran hard inside to set a pick on Owens, but Goedert just beat Owens to the spot. All Jalen Hurts had to do was flip it out to his athletic TE for the easy, killer touchdown and the last points on the night.

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Browse photos from the Texans, Eagles Week 9 matchup and see the new Battle Red helmet in action.

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