With over 87,000 screaming fans looking on, the Houston Texans played in one of the most-highly anticipated games in 2016. On Nov. 21, 2016, the 7-2 Texans and the 7-2 Oakland Raiders faced off in the first-ever Monday Night Football game to be played outside the U.S.
The highly renowned Estadio Azteco, the largest soccer stadium in Mexico, underwent major renovations in preparation for the NFL’s return to Mexico that year. Texans fans traveled in droves to check out the sights and participate in league festivities, leading up to the Monday night game.
But that 27-20 loss to the Raiders felt like the one that got away that season.
The Texans hoped to gain a two-game lead in the AFC South with a win, but fell short. Literally.
On the opening drive of the game, DeAndre Hopkins had a catch-and-run that was ruled a touchdown but later ruled out of bounds as a 24-yard reception. The Texans would settle for a 32-yard field goal after converting 3-of-4 third downs on the drive.
Lamar Miller carried the ground game in the Monday night loss with no Alfred Blue or Jonathan Grimes. Miller was a workhorse with 24 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. He nearly had two touchdowns, his first trip to the endzone, overturned and ruled out of bounds at the one-yard line.
The Texans defense held the Raiders to just 30 net yards rushing and 4-of-11 on third down. Benardrick McKinney finished with a team-high eight tackles and tackle for loss. Houston had an outstanding defensive start, allowing just seven net yards rushing until halftime while keeping Oakland to just three points off a pair of turnovers. The defense even added a big third-quarter interception that led to a touchdown drive by the offense.
A controversial call turned the game around though in the fourth quarter. Tied 20-20, the Texans were poised to score after driving down the field to the Oakland 16-yard line. On third-and-two, Miller, on a handoff, appeared to pick up the yards for a first down. A measurement by the officials ruled him short. On fourth down, a handoff to Akeem Hunt up the middle was also ruled short, challenged by Bill O’Brien and the play upheld. The Raiders scored the winning touchdown five plays later.
Despite the loss, the Texans made history playing in their first-ever international game while the entire world watched.
OLB Whitney Mercilus had a whirlwind Friday in Mexico City. He appeared on ESPN Deportes and took a tour of the city's landmarks with Televisa.