Missed Opportunity at the Meadowlands

NFL games are usually decided by just a handful of plays. All the offseason conditioning, weight lifting, training camps, etc. are to stay sharp for those pivotal moments that determine victory or defeat. The Texans had their chances Sunday. They went toe-to-toe with one of the better teams in the league, but ultimately didn't make the big plays down the stretch.

**The Positives:

**Mario Williams getting to 4.5 sacks at the halfway point and starting to show a bit of a nasty side.

Andre Johnson continuing to lead the NFL in catches and receiving yards.

The Texans going to five receivers and making it work much of the time.

David Carr not turning the ball over.

**The Negatives:

**Jameel Cook getting his first turnover at a very bad time.

The defense (despite immense improvement the last five games) not getting off the field on 3rd down enough (NYG 6-11).

Not enough of a running game.

Not enough big plays through the passing game.

The Texans playing conservatively in a two-minute offense.

The last point is a big one. The Texans had the ball late in the first half with 1:46 left on their 20-yard line. They ran Wali Lundy for two yards, let 35 seconds spill off the clock, then threw a short pass to Andre Johnson for three yards. Clearly, they had hoped the first play would have popped and they could have started a march down the field. But they didn't want to A) Risk a turnover and B) come up with clock-stopping incompletions that would leave the Giants time to do something.

Still, you must agree that this is a better football team than we saw in the first three weeks. There are the seedlings of a productive, winning sqaud here. They are now 15th in the NFL in passing offense. They could have won the last two games, but didn't. And the schedule is much more favorable once they return from Jacksonville Nov. 19. Dom Capers used to say that the last eight games define the team. Here we go.

There's no sneaking up on the Jaguars this week. They've won three of their last four games. Two of the wins have been by a combined total of 71 points. The other win was at Philadelphia. The lone loss was to the Texans. You can be sure the Jags will pay attention in practice.

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