Texans to meet Mahomes in KC

Posted 1/7/20

The Houston Texans advanced to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs along with the Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks during a thrilling Wildcard Weekend.

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Texans to meet Mahomes in KC

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The Houston Texans advanced to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs along with the Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks during a thrilling Wildcard Weekend.

The Texans appeared dead in the water against a stingy Buffalo Bills defense for the majority of the first three quarters at NRG Stadium Saturday. Trailing 13-0 in the third, J.J. Watt made what would prove to be the game’s critical defensive play in his first game back from a major pectoral injury.

Watt was able to sack Buffalo’s Josh Allen on a third down play inside the red zone, which forced the Bills to kick a field goal to go up 16-0. This kept the game within two possessions and energized the Houston sideline in the process.

Deshaun Watson and the offense finally woke up on the ensuing possession. They led a much-needed, 75-yard scoring drive that was capitalized with a 20-yard touchdown run for Watson. The quarterback kept it himself on the successful two-point try, as well. This cut the deficit to one possession.

Houston’s defense forced a fumble that ultimately resulted in a field goal before another three-and-out suddenly gave Watson a chance to take the lead. After another long drive, he was able to find Carlos Hyde from five yards out to put the Texans on top for the first time. Another successful two-point try, this one to DeAndre Hopkins, gave them a three-point advantage.

Allen and the Bills, who were attempting to pull off the franchise’s first playoff win since 1995, stayed in the fight and were able to convert a game-tying field goal as time expired to send the contest to overtime.

Both defenses forced a three-and-out to start overtime, and it appeared as if the Bills would do so again on Houston’s second possession. Watson, however, showcased why he was worth the high draft pick with the play of the year to earn his first career postseason victory.

Watson was dead in the backfield before shaking free from the arms of a Buffalo defender and buying more time and space to his right. He was then able to find Taiwan Jones on a screen pass, who ran over 40 yards to put the Texans in field goal range.

Rather than trying to get closer, Bill O’Brien opted to go for the win immediately. Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn converted a short, 28-yard attempt to win the game 22-19 and send the Texans to Kansas City.

This thrilling victory will not soon be forgotten by Texans fans, but the feeling could be short lived. The team looks like a true championship contender in spurts but still cannot seem to put it all together for four quarters of play. While Buffalo is a strong opponent, they lack the offensive firepower the Texans will see out of Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs Sunday.

Houston was able to defeat the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium earlier in the year, but Kansas City finished the season with a four-game winning streak to seize the AFC’s second seed.

Also on the AFC side, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were defeated by the Tennessee Titans 20-13 to conclude their season before Championship Sunday for the first time since 2010.

The 2020 AFC Championship will officially not include Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger at either quarterback position for the first time since 2002, when Rich Gannon and the Oakland Raiders defeated Steve McNair and the Tennessee Titans.

The New England loss had NFL fans across the board celebrating what might just be the end of the Patriots’ two decade Reign of Terror. Brady looked noticeably less effective throughout 2019, but was working with a struggling offensive line and a questionable group of receivers. Thanks to the league’s most dominant defense, New England still managed to win 12 games.

The defense should be one of the league’s best once again next year and, according to his postgame press conference, Brady’s retirement is still "pretty unlikely.”

Nothing lasts forever. While New England’s unprecedented dynasty will not be an exception to this rule, they will likely compete again next year if Brady returns to the team.

The Titans, meanwhile, will travel to Baltimore this weekend to take on the top-ranked Ravens.

Another quarterback over the age of 40 was shockingly eliminated in the NFC. Drew Brees and the Saints managed just 20 points in a six-point, overtime loss to the Vikings Sunday.

For the second season, Saints fans will likely blame the playoff loss on a pass interference that was not called at the end of the game. However, it is really time to start talking about Brees and his lack of playoff effectiveness. He has set just about every regular season record imaginable throughout his impressive career, but that second Lombardi Trophy has eluded the signal caller since defeating Manning and the Colts in Super Bowl 44.

His pedestrian playoff numbers will keep Brees out of the conversation of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

The Vikings will now meet the top-ranked San Francisco 49ers with a trip to the NFC Championship on the line.

In the week’s final matchup, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the shorthanded Philadelphia Eagles 17-9 to advance to the Divisional Round. The Eagles were without quarterback Carson Wentz throughout much of the contest along with a number of other players.

The Seahawks will now travel to Green Bay to meet Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

In other news, the Dallas Cowboys have a new head coach. The team parted ways with Jason Garrett and hired longtime Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who won Super Bowl 45 at AT&T Stadium with the Packers over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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