In a game that seemed in control with the Texans leading 20-3 at the half, Houston ended the day with a devastating 23-20 overtime loss to Seattle.
In two very different halves of football at Reliant Stadium, Houston scored all 20 of its points in the first half. Seattle then reeled off 20 unanswered points in the second half and overtime.
Houston arrived with a sense of urgency on Sunday but it would not be enough as the Texans lost their second-straight and dropped to 2-2 on the season. Turnovers continued to haunt Houston as the Seahawks put up ten points off of the Texans' three turnovers, two interceptions and one fumble. Wide receiver Andre Johnson said it was as painful a loss as he could remember.
"Yeah, it is," Johnson said. "We played against a good football team today. We knew it was going to be a physical game. We came out and played them tough, but, like I said, you've got to play for 60 minutes and not have those turnovers and things like that. And we didn't do that."
Seattle scored first with a 48-yard field goal in the first quarter. After that, the Texans offense scored 20 uananswered points to dominate early.
Seattle's defense, ranked first in the NFL, had previously only allowed an average of 9 points per game, 146 passing yards per game, and 241.7 total yards per game. The Texans offense broke all three records in the first half alone with 20 points, 226 yards passing, and 324 net yards.
"Our team played as hard as they could play," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "Played tremendous in a lot of areas, but couldn't put the game away in the second half."
After an early interception on a deflected pass intended for Owen Daniels, Schaub bounced back for two touchdown passes on consecutive drives. Schaub connected with Garrett Graham for a 31-yard score. A five-yard toss to Arian Foster extended the Texans lead to 14-3 following a ten-play, 80-yard drive in the second quarter.
Brian Cushing's hit on Marshawn Lynch on Seattle's next series caused a fumble, which was recovered by nose tackle Terrell McClain. The Texans converted the turnover into three points when Randy Bullock kicked a 22-yard field goal. Bullock added a 42-yarder as time expired in the first half. The Texans led by a score of 20-3 at halftime.
"The Texans played great football," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. "They handed it to us every way they wanted to in the first half and we really didn't have any answers to stop it. The best thing that happened to us was going into halftime and trying to regroup."
The adjustments worked as the Seahawks took over in the second half with 20 unanswered points of their own.
After a fumble by Ben Tate, the Texans defense held Seattle to zero yards on four plays. The Seahawks settled for a Stephen Hauschka 39-yard field goal. Marshawn Lynch, who had 17 carries for 98 yards on the day, added a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Seattle trailed 20-13 with 7:43 remaining in the game.
Johnathan Joseph's interception, a Russell Wilson pass intended for Jermaine Kearse, added a shift in momentum but it would be short-lived. After four consecutive carries by Arian Foster, Schaub's pass on third-and-four, intended for Daniels, was intercepted by Richard Sherman and returned 58 yards for a touchdown.
"I made sure my feet were under me and as soon as I saw the ball in the air, I went for it aggressively and so did their tight end," Sherman said. "He went for it aggressively and once I got it away from him, it was a just a fight."
Kubiak had several options but made the aggressive play call to avoid punting with just under three minutes left in the game.
"I wish I could go call it again," Kubiak said. "I wish I could do that and try and stay aggressive in what we were doing all day long. I thought that was important, to try and stay aggressive as a team. And obviously, that ended up hurting us right then."
In a game dominated early by Houston, Seattle turned up the heat in the second half and tied it 20-20 with 2:40 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Texans headed to overtime for the second time in as many home games.
Houston received the ball first in overtime but was unable to score on its first two possessions.
A fifteen-yard penalty on Kareem Jackson extended Seattle's second possession. Hauschka kicked a game-winning 45-yard field goal on the eight-play, 42-yard drive to win the game 23-20.
"I can't really comment on it to be honest with you because I don't know what the flag was for," Jackson said. "I was playing until the whistle and tackling the guy. If I don't tackle, he scores. It's plain and simple. We were playing in overtime. With that situation in a game, you've got to tackle."
Both Foster and Johnson eclipsed 100 yards in the game. Foster rushed for 102 yards on 27 carries and caught six passes for 69 yards and one touchdown.
"I'm still inching my way back to 100-percent," Foster said. " I think, when you have a game like this where the team depends on you heavily, it gets you back into your flow, back into the swing of things. Matt does a great job of that, distributing the ball. He's always been good at that."
Johnson had nine receptions for 110 yards on the day. Matt Schaub was 31-of-49 for 355 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
"It hurts bad," Schaub said after the game. "We were playing very well. We had a lot of big plays in the game against a very good defense. We moved the ball. We got to midfield a bunch in the second half and had to punt. We used some clock and had their offense backed up. Our defense was playing well. So yeah, it hurts real bad knowing how important of a game it was and against a very good opponent and we had them on the ropes."
Russell Wilson, held to just 24 yards passing in the first half, finished 12-of-23 for 123 yards, one interception and a passer rating of just 49.7. Wilson rushed for 77 yards on 10 carries. Marshawn Lynch added 98 yards rushing on 17 attempts.
-The Texans defense had 5 sacks on Russell Wilson. Whitney Mercilus led with 2.5 sacks.
-Brian Cushing left for the locker room in the third quarter after suffering a concussion. He did not return.
-Left tackle Duane Brown was inactive for the game, out with a toe injury.