The Texans lost their first game of the 2014 season to the New York Giants, falling 30-17 at MetLife Stadium. The Giants took an early 14-0 lead in the first half while turnovers mounted for Houston.
"Anytime that you turn the ball over three times, commit penalties, have trouble stopping the run, it's not a formula for success in this league," head coach Bill O'Brien said after the game. "You have a punt blocked, it's not a formula for success. We've got to go back to work tomorrow. Like I always say, the sun will come out tomorrow. We've got to fix what we can fix, meaning things that carry over, things that have to be fixed right now."
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw one touchdown pass and rushed another but had three interceptions on the day. Arian Foster was ruled out with a hamstring injury and the rookie Alfred Blue got his first career NFL start.
"You saw in the first two games the formula of not turning the ball over and forcing turnovers on defense and what that led to, which was two wins," Fitzpatrick said. "Today with three turnovers, as a quarterback you really just hate losing, but you especially hate losing when it's kind of on you. I think it's tough to swallow right now, but we've got to look at the film. I've got to try to get better. We can't let this hold us back."
Fitzpatrick was 20-of-34 for 289 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. Blue rushed for 78 yards on 13 carries. Fitzpatrick was the second-leading rusher with 34 yards and a rushing touchdown late in the game. Hopkins shined with 116 yards on six catches, leading the wide receiver group.
Eli Manning completed 21-of-28 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Rashad Jennings had a touchdown and rushed for 134 yards on 34 attempts.
"Rashad ran hard," Manning said after the game. "We didn't get stuck in many third and longs. We didn't have many third downs at all, it felt like. Receivers, we got the ball out quick. The receivers made catches. They had good runs after the catch. It was efficient. We mixed it up and went to no-huddle, then we went with some standard offense and huddled up. I thought we had a good combination and a good mix."
The Giants fumbled on their second offensive series and a bad snap on a 30-yard field goal attempt kept them scoreless for the first quarter. Eli Manning and the offense bounced back in the second quarter, scoring 14 unanswered points to give them a 14-0 lead at halftime.
Fitzpatrick's first interception of the game, as well as the season, came on a pass intended for DeAndre Hopkins. A fake punt successfully extended the drive earlier. Shane Lechler's 10-yard pass was complete to rookie Alfred Blue on 4th-and-one.
The second interception ended in a one-yard touchdown run by Rashad Jennings to extend the Texans lead to 14 with 1:07 remaining in the first half.
Houston outgained the Giants 178-83 and put up 10 unanswered points in the third quarter, including a 27-yard field goal by Randy Bullock and a 44-yard touchdown pass to Damaris Johnson. Blue's 46-yard run moved the Texans into Giants territory to set up the score following a 4-play and 93-yard drive. Houston was within one touchdown, heading into the fourth quarter.
The Giants responded with 13 unanswered points of their own in the final quarter.
A blocked punt on Lechler gave the Giants possession deep in Houston territory. The Giants capitalized, as Manning threw his second touchdown pass of the day, a nine-yarder to tight end Daniel Fells, just three plays later.
After the ensuing kickoff, Fitzpatrick's pass to DeAndre Hopkins was intercepted by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. It was this third pick of the day and set up the Giants for a 29-yard field goal.
After trailing by 20 points, a deep pass to Hopkins for a 49-yards marched the Texans offense down the field. Fitzpatrick added a rushing touchdown on a one-yard score. Houston was unable to recover the onside kick and fell to the Giants 30-17.
The Texans defense finished with one sack by J.J. Watt for a loss of eight yards, and a fumble recovery by Johnathan Joseph.
"I think what we have been doing so far this season is taking every single week one week at a time and I think we have done a very good job at that through our first two wins," Watt said. "I think this week is going to be our first chance to come and do that after a loss. It will be a good chance for us to come and show what we are made of and come in on Monday, watch the film, learn from it and leave this game behind and move on to the Buffalo Bills. Attack that with a new excitement and a new attitude, just like we have every other week of this season. Every single week is a new week and we are going to go out there and practice as hard as we can and get ourselves ready for Buffalo."
Houston falls to 2-1 on the season and will host the Buffalo Bills in Week 4.