Game-Changing Play of the Week: Missed Field Goal Crushes Texans' Momentum

A missed field goal late in the second half killed the Texans' chances of keeping this game close.

Sure is nice to win, isn't it?

After all the angst that followed the Packers' embarrassing loss to Tampa Bay a week ago, it felt good to have a relatively boring game that the Packers controlled from start to finish. They did exactly what good teams do: squashed a lesser opponent with relatively little difficulty. The fact that they did it with a number of key starters out and against a pretty solid offense makes it a bit more impressive.

Games like this make it difficult to find a Game-Changing Play of the Week, because the Packers never really lost their grasp on the game after driving down for a touchdown to start things off. There was, however, one moment late in the first half when it appeared as though the Texans might pull themselves back into the game, only to have that newfound momentum suddenly halted.

The play

For the purposes of this article I've chosen the Texans' missed second-quarter field goal attempt as the Game-Changing Play of the Week, but could easily have also picked the penalty that really stalled their momentum just a few plays before.

Keep in mind, this is a drive that started on the team's two yard line. For the first time of the game, the Texans were moving effortlesly down the field, and it looked as though a 98-yard touchdown drive was an inevitability. Despite the Packers having cruised to a 14-0 lead and the defense playing some of its best ball of the year, my Twitter feed and mentions were starting to get pretty negative at this point.

The Texans got down to the Packers' five yard line, but a holding penalty on the play that got them there knocked them back into long field goal range, almost a 30-yard swing. It killed the momentum the Texans were building up, and ultimately was a major factor in forcing them to settle for this field goal attempt.

When the Texans missed the field goal, the Packers remained up 14-0, and were given solid field position to start their next drive with two and a half minutes left in the half and a full complement of time outs at their disposal. 

The Packers, of course, efficiently drove the ball down the field, and a Malik Taylor touchdown with just 14 seconds left gave the Packers a 21-0 halftime lead that the team was never in real danger of giving up.

 

Now, a lot of talk about momentum is conjecture. It's not something tangible or quantifiable, so there's no way to know for sure how this series of events affected the Texans. But I'd have to think that, for a 1-5 ball club that's already fired its coach and had playoff aspirations this season, their psyche has already seen some significant damage. Getting close to the cusp of elimination already, these losses of momentum would, I think, do even more damage to a team as dejected as the Texans than they would to most teams in normal circumstances.

But of course, there's no way to know that for sure. What I do know is that after that botched long drive, the Texans were never again in any real danger of taking the win away from the Packers.

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (8)

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Bure9620's picture

October 26, 2020 at 09:40 pm

The two defensive stops in their own end were massive. The 4th and 1 option sniffed out by Preston Smith and the bllitz sack by Amos completely killed that offense. If Houston gains yards there they likely go for it on 4th and goal..These 2 stops were game changers....

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Jonathan Spader's picture

October 26, 2020 at 05:27 pm

Game changing play was Davante Adam's 45 yard TD on 3rd down. After that TD the game was over and the final nail had been pounded into the Texan's garbage time coffin.

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Lphill's picture

October 26, 2020 at 05:45 pm

The field goal on 4 th and goal instead of going for the touchdown I think was a game changer I think it made it 21 to 10 but then the packers went up 28 to 10.

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Branden Burke's picture

October 26, 2020 at 08:36 pm

Per PFF, there is only one wide receiver in the NFL who has a drop rate over 20% (number of drops/catchable balls) while playing every game and averaging more than two catchable balls per game. I think you know who it is.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

October 27, 2020 at 05:39 am

The MVS run for 9 yards on 2nd and 6 with 6:22 left in the 4th quarter, coming after three straight 3 and outs, was a big play. The drive consumed 3:18, caused the Texans to use their remaining timeouts, and resulted in a TD putting the game out of reach.

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Coldworld's picture

October 27, 2020 at 08:38 am

The MVS out crowd are bemusing. For years we gnashes at no deep threat. This season most teams have kept safeties deep .. for one reason MVS.

without MVS that wouldn’t happen. Those safeties would be on Adams or in Lazard’s big game, on him as opposed to a 4th string defender. Same can be said for Tonyan. It’s also clearing space for the RBs

MVS’s role is to go deep. This by definition he is not going to get the easiest catches. When he’s not deep it’s a skill he is still developing and not a strength.

Many of those whining that he is not a star number 2 would have cut him. Without that deep threat (real or apparent) the games thus far would have gone very differently.

Finally, MVS was a raw speedster with no route experience beyond go deep when he came in. Who says he’s the finished article? As we have discussed ad nauseam before, many of the anti MVS types would have cut Adams in year 2/3. Adams was much more polished coming out than MVS.

At this point, we need Lazard back. Not just because of what he does catching the ball but what he can do off it. When that happens, MVS may well rebound. That’s how this Offense and his role was designed. That’s why he is number 3.

Frankly, I think part of the problem is we need to settle on the other guy not MVS or Adams and get him involved consistently. That may be Taylor, EQ or Shepherd. Taylor and Shepherd are different, so need a different plan of usage, but both have flashed something. EQ is theoretically the one with all round skills but just doesn’t seem ready some how.

Pick one and give them a role, snaps and action as part of the game plan, maybe dependent on opponent (Shepherd v Taylor) until Lazard is fully healthy. At the moment we have too many not really getting opportunities. That way we might develop a real number 4.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

October 27, 2020 at 10:47 am

Totally agree.

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GeorgeMcRae's picture

October 27, 2020 at 08:24 am

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