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Texans fall 31-21 to Eagles

The Texans defense picked off Philadelphia three times and knocked out Eagles starting quarterback Nick Foles early in the game but lost 31-21 at home.

"That our defense was able to take the ball away like that and we didn't do more with it offensively is frustrating," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "It's tough. It's not from a lack of effort, it's just execution."

Injuries mounted for both teams. Houston, without Jadeveon Clowney and Brian Cushing, also lost starting cornerbacks Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph. Arian Foster also exited the game in the third quarter. Foster suffered a groin injury, according to O'Brien.

"We'll see how that is, but obviously the bye week is coming at a good time for things like that," O'Brien said. "He's had a heck of a year and we certainly need him down the stretch."

A.J. Bouye and Jumal Rolle, a first-year corner signed on October 1, stepped in for Joseph and Jackson and forced three turnovers. Bouye nabbed his first-career interception and returned it for a touchdown while Rolle added two picks. Jackson suffered a knee injury and Joseph was evaluated for a concussion.

"That obviously wasn't planned, but I just try to stay prepared," Rolle said. "You never know when your number is going to get called. Most importantly, you just want to be ready."

Foster rushed for 56 yards on 15 carries. He also caught two passes for 63 yards, one of which was a touchdown. DeAndre Hopkins caught six passes for 115 yards and a score. Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 13-of-27 passes for 203 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 49 yards on six carries.

"It was a mixture of things to do today, but there were some times where they were blitzing us and getting pressure on us," Fitzpatrick said. "I've got to do a better job of finding the open guy, getting the ball out of my hand, and hurting the blitz more often."

Whitney Mercilus led the Texans defense with nine tackles and two sacks. Watt had seven tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Foles, who sacked twice by Mercilus in three plays, was x-rayed for a left shoulder injury suffered in the first quarter. Foles was 10-of-13 for 124 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Six-year NFL veteran Mark Sanchez, who took over for Foles, completed 15-of-22 for 202 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Philadelphia linebacker DeMeco Ryans was carted off the field in the fourth quarter after he intercepted Fitzpatrick. He fumbled on the play, though, and Hopkins recovered it.

The Houston defense forced a three-and-out to start the game. After Jackson and Joseph left the game with injuries on Philadelphia's next possession, Foles wasted no time and found Jeremy Maclin for a 59-yard touchdown pass. The Eagles took an early 7-0 lead with 8:30 remaining in the first quarter.

Sanchez completed 3-of-3 on his first drive, which ended in an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jordan


Rolle picked off Sanchez in the second quarter. The Texans offense gained momentum on that series after struggling early in the game. Fitzpatrick threw a 56-yard touchdown pass along the right sideline to Foster. Houston and Philadelphia were tied 14-14 with 3:58 left in the second quarter.

The Texans' only trip to the red zone in the third quarter ended in a missed field goal from 39 yards.

After four-consecutive rushing plays that moved the ball 70 yards, the Eagles scored on an 8-yard touchdown run by Chris Polk. Houston trailed by its largest margin, 24-14 with 2:40 left in the third quarter.

Rolle picked off Sanchez for the second time early in the fourth quarter. The Texans offense, without Foster, took over with rookie Alfred Blue in at running back. On third-and-6, Fitzpatrick's 21-yard

completion to Hopkins set up a scoring drive for Houston.

Fitzpatrick connected with Hopkins for a seven-yard touchdown pass to bring the Texans to within three points, down 24-21 with 11:51 left in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles fired back as Maclin scored his second touchdown and the final score of the game. Maclin finished with six catches for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Houston falls to 4-5 on the season, heading into the bye week.

"I think this bye week is coming at a good time and hopefully, we can figure out some things we can do better," O'Brien said. "It's a disappointed locker room, but we've got a lot of games left, seven games, and a lot of those are at home."

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