What a frustrating afternoon in Atlanta as the Texans went down to defeat to the 3-2 Atlanta Falcons. I mentioned it all week, the Falcons were two different teams - one on the road and one at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Unfortunately, the Texans played the one at Mercedes Benz Stadium and paid the price in a 21-19 loss to the Falcons on a game ending Younghoe Koo field goal. Here are my Harris Hits from a see-saw affair in the Dirty Dirty.
I want to start with a good thing, so let's talk about the final offensive drive of the game. The second half was not one that the offensive staff and players are going to WANT to remember, but that closing drive was one to build off of for the future. It culminated with one of the best throws/catches in a while. QB C.J. Stroud dropped a dime on TE Dalton Schultz for the touchdown. Schultz ran one of the best routes of the day. He started to run the basic/in route and once he got Falcons S Jessie Bates to bite on that route, he turned up the field and Stroud released the ball at the exact right time. That was as pretty a route, pitch and catch as we've seen all season long.
What stood out more than anything else on that touchdown was the reaction. I decided to just look around the field, the sideline and I saw the OL on the field showing more emotion than I've seen from any of that, say, reserved group. Staff, coaches and players on the sideline showed much of the same excitement. Surprisingly, I was probably the most calm person on the field, if you can believe that. But, inside, I was losing my mind, just wishing that there were 8 seconds remaining, not 108 seconds.
Going into the game, the defense knew it had to stop rookie RB Bijan Robinson and the Texans defense did that…for the most part. He did make one of the most incredible catches I've seen on a middle screen pass for a touchdown. I mean, I saw it and I still don't believe it. He caught the thing on his back hip with one hand. As I'm watching, I'm thinking there's no way he can catch that thing with, literally, one hand tied behind his back. Yet, he did it and ran it in to take a 15-12 lead early in the fourth quarter.
View the best photos from the Week 5 matchup between the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons.
I've buried the lede though…kudos to Falcons QB Desmond Ridder for one heck of a performance. The Texans knew they had to stop Robinson but Ridder went off, especially in the second half. He was just brilliant and dialed in all day - 28 of 37 for 329 and that touchdown on the screen to Robinson. It was his throw to WR Drake London that set up the field goal attempt.
The Falcons ran a dagger concept - seam/dig with WR Drake London and TE Kyle Pitts, who was tremendous, and . London was wide open in between Texans defenders for the catch that put the Falcons in sure fire field goal range. Ugh, rough one.
TE Dalton Schultz was exceptional for the Texans passing game throughout the game. This was the game that really unleashed him as a weapon and he made that focus on him pay off in a big way. His route running was on point and he came up with a number of big catches to start drives…and end the one the Texans absolutely had to have late in the game. He finished with seven catches for 65 yards.
But, the Texans missed WR Tank Dell in the second half. During his catch that moved the Texans into field goal range on the last drive of the first half, Dell hit his knee hard into the turf and that jarring action, unfortunately, sent his helmet into the turf as well. That 29-yard catch was necessary to get the Texans a field goal to end the first half to take the lead.
RB Dameon Pierce didn't have quite the success he had last week against Pittsburgh. Well, if I'm honest, it was kind of an odd day. He only had 66 yards, but he had chunk runs throughout the game. It was the lost yardage runs that were the issue for the run game. A great example of that was in the first quarter. 1st and ten - Pierce ripped off a 15 yard run. First down. Yes sir! Very next play, minus six yard play. Once behind the sticks, the Texans couldn't convert on the next two plays. It was definitely one of those kind of days.
Well, there's not much more to say about this one, honestly, so let's cut it there and get ready for another tough matchup with the Saints next Sunday.