Twice in as many weeks, the Houston Texans have had to go to overtime to finish off their opposition. The latest thriller ended on a Shayne Graham 32-yard field goal that gave the Texans a 34-31 win over the Detroit Lions in Ford Field on Thanksgiving Day.
Both teams had a lot to be thankful for on this day, but in the end it was the Texans who had more blessings to count.
Without a doubt the biggest play of the game came on an 81-yard touchdown run by Houston running back, Justin Forsett.
The play didn’t appear to be anything special when Forsett cut through the middle of the line and was seemingly tackled by Lions’ safety Louis Delmas for about seven yards. But the running back got back to his feet and ran the rest of the 74 yards to the end zone.
Everyone but Forsett and the officials thought the play was dead.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz threw the challenge flag, but because the play ended in a touchdown, by rule on the field, the play was supposed to be reviewed by the booth upstairs.
Instead, Schwartz was called for a personal foul and the play was deemed “unreviewable.”
The score stood amidst a noisy mob of angry Detroiters, and it placed Houston into a position to comeback and tie the game.
After Arian Foster scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, Graham converted on the extra point to tie the game at 31 with 1:55 left in regulation.
Once in overtime, the Lions received the ball and were moving into field goal range when Houston’s Danieal Manning stripped the ball from Detroit tight end Brandon Pettigrew. The Texans recovered and took the ball with a chance to put the game away.
But after a Graham miss from 51 yards out, it took another two Texans’ possessions to get their kicker another chance. His second overtime attempt ended the game.
It was one of the most exciting and interesting Thanksgiving games in recent memory, but the outcome wasn’t unfamiliar as the Lions lost for the ninth straight year in this annual holiday game.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford led everyone statistically, throwing for 441 yards and two touchdowns and went 31-of-61 with no interceptions.
Texans’ running back Foster, reached the century mark once again as he hit 102 yards on 20 attempts. He scored twice.
J.J. Watt was the big playmaker on a defense that greatly felt the effects of playing without cornerback Johnathan Joseph who was supposed to be matched up opposite to star receiver Calvin Johnson.
It wasn’t a surprise that Watt was making the big plays, but his performance was mandatory for the Texans to win this game.
Watt accounted for all three of Houston’s sacks, recorded four tackles-for-loss’, and two knockdowns at the line of scrimmage.
The Texans were in need of Joseph as replacement Alan Ball couldn’t keep pace with “Megatron.”
This is an issue that Houston will want to address as they move forward if Joseph isn’t able to go in the upcoming weeks.
Detroit’s Johnson finished the day with 140 yards on eight catches and one touchdown.
With this game, the Texans improve to double-digit wins on the season for the second consecutive year, and continue to hold the best record in the league. They’ve pulled off two close wins in a row now and head into another division game with the Tennessee Titans, before traveling to New England for a Monday bout with the Patriots on Dec. 10.