Vandermeer's View: Down to the wire

In an emotional, see-saw game, the Texans fell to Philadelphia 32-30, pushing their bid to capture the AFC South into a must-win game in week 17.

This was a gut puncher. Especially considering all they fought through to grab a late one-point lead late.

Already without Lamar Miller, the Texans saw Kareem Jackson leave the game along with just-recovered Kayvon Webster. Then Demaryius Thomas injured his Achilles tendon as Houston would face a two touchdown deficit with time running out quickly.

A Zach Cunningham forced fumble got the Texans the ball back with enough time to make a run. Deshaun Watson went to work and eventually found D’Onta Foreman for a 20-yard TD reception to cut it to a one score game. The defense got the ball back and Houston staged another drive with Watson finding Vyncint Smith for the go-ahead score, just outside the two minute warning.

The problem was, Nick Foles, who had been effective all day long, converted a third and ten from his end zone. That got the Eagles cooking, as the play included a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty.

The Texans D, clutch last week at New York, couldn’t make the big stop at the end this time, as Jake Elliot eventually won it with a 35-yard field goal at the buzzer.

Foles threw for over 470 yards and made key plays on third down to keep drives moving. Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor had 100+ yard receiving days and Darren Sproles looked as spry as he did in 2011 when he tormented the Texans as a Saint.

It all adds up to a fifth loss and forced postponement of any divisional celebration. To win the AFC South, Houston must beat Jacksonville at home next week. The Jags are showing they aren’t exactly ready for vacation yet, beating the Dolphins by ten in Miami today.

With the Patriots win over the Bills, New England has control of a first round bye. But no one is thinking about that right now. The Texans know they need to play better, in a hurry, to lock up the division and get the opportunity to do maximum damage in the post season.

Sunday, Houston got a legendary performance out of Watson and his pass catchers. Hopkins played on a bad wheel and still racked up over 100 receiving yards. DeAndre Carter and Smith had huge plays. They’ll be needed if the Texans are going the right the ship.

And the running game has gone three straight outings without being Texan-like. Watson was once again the leading rusher.

There’s so much football left, potentially. The injuries are piling up but so many key contributors are healthy enough to get things moving in the right direction during this critical time of year. The Texans know it starts with what happens Sunday against the Jags. Otherwise they’ll be left pondering what might have been.

The Houston Texans took on the Philadelphia Eagles for Week 15 of the 2018 NFL season.

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