Fairbairn's FG in OT lifts Texans over Cowboys 19-16
HOUSTON (AP) — When DeAndre Hopkins had a chance to make a play in overtime on Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys, Houston's star receiver was intent on redeeming himself after losing a rare fumble in the third quarter.
He did that with a spectacular 49-yard catch and run that got the Texans in scoring range, and Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 36-yard field goal to lift the Texans to a 19-16 win.
Hopkins, who finished with 151 yards receiving, grabbed a short pass from Deshaun Watson and twice spun away from would-be tacklers to stretch the play.
"I fumbled, so I knew I had to make a play," Hopkins said. "There was a lot of guys downfield but I wasn't trying to go down easy. A field goal would win the game and I knew that. I knew where I was, and I felt guys coming around me."
Coach Bill O'Brien said Hopkins approached him after the fumble and simply said: 'I'll make up for that.' Watson knew he would do that when he threw the ball his way.
"Playmakers make plays whenever we need him, and that was a situation where we needed him to make a play," Watson said. "I threw it up for him to make a play, and he did what he had to do."
The Cowboys got the ball first in OT but had to punt when Zach Cunningham stopped Ezekiel Elliott for no gain on third-and-1. Coach Jason Garrett defended his decision not to go for it.
"We just felt like at that point in the game, the way our defense was playing, the idea was to pin them down there," he said.
Houston was just 1 of 5 in the red zone on Sunday, with Fairbairn making four field goals to help the Texans to the victory.
It is Houston's first win over the Cowboys (2-3) since the team's first game on Sept. 8, 2002, ending a three-game losing streak to Dallas. The Texans (2-3) did it in front of a franchise-record crowd of 72,008, which was peppered with plenty of Cowboys fans.
Houston defensive end Jadeveon Clowney didn't realize the Texans hadn't beaten the Cowboys in 16 years, but did understand the importance of the victory.
"This is a big win, not just for us but for the city of Houston," he said. "Cowboys are America's No. 1 team. For us to go out there and win at home was very big for us. We needed that win."
Deshaun Watson threw for 375 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Texans, who won in overtime for the second straight week.
Dak Prescott had 208 yards passing and a touchdown but threw two interceptions for the Cowboys. Elliott, who entered the game as the NFL's leading rusher, was limited to 54 yards rushing.
"We just haven't gotten it going on offense," Prescott said. "I don't know if there's one thing you can pinpoint, but we've got to figure it out."
The Texans were driving late in the fourth quarter when Xavier Woods intercepted Watson, who threw under heavy pressure, with 10 seconds left and returned it 15 yards to give Dallas the ball at its 47. Kareem Jackson nearly intercepted Prescott on the next play before his Hail Mary on the last play of regulation was knocked down in the end zone by receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who came in to play defense.
A 27-yard pass interference call by Byron Jones on a ball intended for Hopkins got Houston to the 1-yard line in the third quarter. But two failed running plays followed by an incomplete pass forced another field goal which gave the Texans a 16-13 lead with about 8 1/2 minutes remaining.
The Cowboys tied it up on a 48-yard field goal with less than six minutes left. That drive was highlighted by a 44-yard pass by Prescott to Tavon Austin that he made after escaping sacks by J.J. Watt, Brandon Dunn and Zach Cunningham.
Prescott's second interception came when Johnathan Joseph broke up a pass and rookie Justin Reid caught it just before it hit the turf in the third quarter. The Texans drove to the 3-yard line on the ensuing possession before the drive stalled and Fairbairn kicked a 21-yard field goal to tie it at 13-13.
Hopkins fumbled after a catch early in the third quarter and it was recovered by Jourdan Lewis and returned to the Houston 16. The Cowboys regained the lead when Prescott found Allen Hurns in the back of the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown pass that made it 13-10.
The Texans drove to the 2-yard line later in the second but Watson's pass on third down fell incomplete and they settled for a 20-yard field goal to push the lead to 10-6.
Houston RB Lamar Miller, who dealt with a chest injury this week, was active but did not play. ... Texans CB Kayvon Webster left the game in the first quarter with a quadriceps injury and didn't return.
The Texans took their first lead when rookie Keke Coutee, who made his debut last week, scored on a 1-yard run early in the second quarter. Coutee celebrated his first career touchdown with a dance called the Shiggy Challenge from a Drake song called "In My Feelings" which includes the line: "Kiki do you love me?"
He had previously said he didn't like that song because he was tired of everyone singing it to him but seems to be past that now.
"I just gave the people what they wanted to see," he said with a laugh.
Cowboys: Host the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday.
Texans: Host the Buffalo Bills next Sunday.
Watson helps Texans to 19-16 win over Cowboys in overtime
By KRISTIE RIEKEN, AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson has a knack for making big plays, whether it's with his arm or his feet.
But after the quarterback took a few too many unnecessary hits in a 19-16 overtime win against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, his teammates wondered if maybe he should dial things back a bit.
"I be in the huddle telling him to get down," receiver DeAndre Hopkins said. "I need him. That's what I tell him honestly. Don't take those hits unless you ... have to. But he's a warrior. He wants to get in the end zone every time the ball is in his hands."
Watson threw for 375 yards with a touchdown and an interception and ran 10 times for 40 yards for the Texans, who won in overtime for the second straight week.
Houston coach Bill O'Brien agreed with Hopkins that Watson is taking too many blows but added that he doesn't want to cut down on the hits at the cost of changing the way he plays.
"We've got to do a better job of making sure that he doesn't take as many," O'Brien said. "At the same time, it's a fine line because that's part of his game. That's the way he plays the game."
"He enjoys that part of the game to be honest with you," O'Brien continued. "I think it's something that we continue to coach and obviously, it's something we don't want an abundance of him getting hit, but sometimes it does happen."
The Texans were driving late in the fourth quarter when Xavier Woods intercepted Watson, who threw under heavy pressure, with 10 seconds left and returned it 15 yards to give Dallas the ball at its 47. Watson was taken down hard by two defenders on the play and was slow to get up. He was checked out in the medical tent after that, but returned to throw a 49-yard pass to Hopkins in overtime that set up the game-winning field goal.
He took a huge hit earlier when he tried to scramble for a touchdown near the goal line.
"I try to do what's best for the team," he said. "I know sometimes what's best for the team is protecting myself, but when we are down there at the goal line and I'm trying to get in the end zone, that's my mentality. ... I'm built to take those hits. I'm going to give all my will and all my guts to try to get the ball in the end zone."
Some things to know about Houston's win over the Cowboys.
Houston defensive end J.J. Watt had a sack on Sunday night to give him six this season, which is tied for the NFL lead with Cincinnati's Geno Atkins and Watt's younger brother, Pittsburgh's T.J. Watt.
Watt has been great in his return from missing most of the last two seasons with injuries and was named AFC defensive player of the month for September last week.
The three-time Defensive Player of the Year said he's feeling pretty good but still has work to do.
"I'm still working back from everything and still getting back," Watt said.
NOWHERE TO RUN
Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott finished with a season-low 54 yards rushing on 20 carries. It was the third-lowest total for Elliott, who entered the game leading the NFL in yards rushing.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Houston's defense made it difficult for Elliott to get anything going.
"They loaded it up in there and did a good job loading up the front," he said. "We weren't consistent running the football inside, really throughout the game ... Zeke ran hard, a couple of times, he almost came out of there, but it was not as consistent as we'd like it to be."
Hopkins finished with 151 yards receiving for his third 100-yard receiving game this season. His 594 yards receiving this season leads the NFL. Coach Bill O'Brien raved about what he brings to his offense.
"He's a playmaker, he's a great player," O'Brien said. "We're always trying to get the ball in his hands."
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