The Texans came into their game against the Bills knowing they needed to stop, or at least, slow down the run and they didn't get it done. Buffalo ran for 187 yards and put a stiff arm on Houston's bid for a fifth consecutive win.
The Bills had been 0-6 when they throw the ball more than 29 times. They only needed to pass 21 times because their ground game was so effective. When they did throw, they made some big plays but make no mistake, it was the Bills ground attack that enabled everything to click.
The Texans never fell behind by more than one score until a late Bills field goal, after Houston turned it over on downs, essentially put the game out of reach. They fought hard and stayed in it despite springing some big first half leaks in their run defense and committing too many penalties.
Brian Hoyer was smooth, throwing three touchdown passes. But when the Texans needed a late touchdown drive to take the lead, they failed to get a first down. For much of the game Buffalo put together the kind of defensive performance they've been coveting, getting pressure and getting off the field on third down in some key situations.
Bill O'Brien told the Texans Radio audience at the half that the Bills used some offense that the Texans hadn't 'seen on film' and they would have to adjust. They did as they tilted the field in their favor with excellent punting by Shane Lechler, allowing the offense to eventually cash in.
The game tying drive was an 83-yard beauty that featured another how-did-he-do-that catch by DeAndre Hopkins. However, the Bills weren't done making big plays. A chunk run by LeSean 'Shady' McCoy followed a couple of plays later by a touchdown pass to a wide open Charles Clay gave Buffalo the lead for good.
As difficult as the Bills were, the Texans made life tough on themselves with ten penalties. Avoiding the yellow flag had been key during the winning streak and the Texans have to get back to playing clean to start another one. They are not the kind of team yet that can overcome big mistakes.
Things get even tougher in the next outing as the Texans attempt to beat New England for only the second time in team history. Post season possibilities are still alive but will be heavily tested in the next two weeks.
The Texans faced the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Week 13.