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By Joe Kazmar
For the Record 

Kaz's Korner

Texans love Jacksonville; Cowboys almost upset Steelers

 

Last updated 11/10/2020 at 11:02pm



Texas pro football fans have a dismal future as far as having a team to root for that will have playoff implications.

Neither the Houston Texans (2-6) nor the Dallas Cowboys (2-7) have much of a chance for the NFL post-season unless they run the table and win the remainder of the games on their respective 2020 schedules.

But, if you merely enjoy watching exciting games, then Sunday afternoon’s CBS doubleheader was where you needed to be tuned in.

Houston was on the road to Jacksonville to play the only NFL team it can compete with, posting their only victory—an impressive 30-14 win—on Oct. 11 at NRG Stadium. The Texans were even favored by a touchdown in Sunday’s rematch.

However, between testing positive for the coronavirus and having an aggravating injury, the Texans’ game roster was quite lean with their regular starters.

The Jaguars were in the same dilemma with their starting quarterback Gardner Minshew out with a broken thumb and replaced with 6-foot-6 rookie Jake Luton, who was making his first NFL start after being drafted out of Oregon State in the sixth round. His first pass was a 73-yard touchdown bomb to D.J. Clark in the first few seconds of the game.

The Texans came right back with the equalizer—a 57-yard pass-and-run touchdown from quarterback Deshaun Watson to Brandin Cooks. So, after five plays the game was tied 7-7. That first play by Jacksonville was the only time the Jaguars ever held a lead.

Luton was unspectacular until there was less than two minutes left in the game and the Texans had a “comfortable” 27-19 lead. The rookie quarterback couldn’t find an open receiver, stiff-armed Texans rookie linebacker Jon Greenard and spun away from cornerback Keion Crossen and scored a 13-yard touchdown with 1:39 left and the score 27-25.

The Jags needed to try for a two-point conversion with Luton looking for favorite receiver Clark but threw the pass behind him. The Texans ran out the clock and posted their second victory of the season.

The Cowboys had an even bigger hill to climb, facing the NFL’s only undefeated team—the 7-0 Pittsburgh Steelers—and starting former Texas Longhorn and SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert they found on the scrap heap.

Gilbert, who was drafted six years ago, was starting his first-ever NFL game and was the Cowboys fourth starting quarterback in the last five games since Dak Prescott broke his ankle. Pittsburgh was favored by 14 points—the biggest home underdog the Cowboys have been in 31 years.

Rookie Ben DiNucci made his first career start last week against Philadelphia. But first-year head coach Mike McCarthy believed Gilbert has been around the NFL longer and should be the better choice as Sunday’s starter.

Gilbert was impressive, running the team and took a 19-9 lead into the fourth quarter before Pittsburgh’s future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger came to life and put 15 points on the scoreboard.

Trailing 24-19 with no timeouts in the final minute of play, Gilbert drove the Cowboys to 52 yards to the Pittsburgh 23, but the pass into the end zone on the game’s final play was batted away, leaving the Steelers still undefeated after their rude awakening.

Fans who still wanted to root for a team that’s probably headed for the playoffs got that chance as NBC’s Sunday Night Football featured the New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay. This game boasted two quarterbacks—Saints Drew Brees and Tampa Bay’s ageless wonder Tom Brady—who are both headed to Football’s Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

The winner of this game would probably represent the NFC South Division in the post-season. And it didn’t take long to figure out which team was the best on the field that night as the Saints blasted out to a 31-0 lead at halftime and ended up as a 38-3 laugher.

The game made me feel good because I haven’t watched Tom Brady take a severe butt-kicking very many times when he played for Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots. I really enjoyed this game!!!

KWICKIES…The Baltimore Ravens set a couple of records with their 24-10 victory over Indianapolis Sunday. The Ravens (6-2) set a franchise record with their 10th straight win on the road and also gave them the NFL record for most consecutive 20-point games. Baltimore has done it 31straight games—breaking a tie with Denver which set the mark from 2012 to 2014.

A slow start hurt Dustin Johnson, the world’s No. 1 golfer, in last weekend’s PGA Tour Vivant Houston Open, won by Carlos Ortiz by two strokes and tying for second with Hideki Matsuyama. Johnson shot two-over par 72 on Thursday’s first round and then followed it up with 66, 66 and 65—269.

Off to a fast start was Miami Dolphins’ rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who outdueled young Kyler Murray Sunday and led his team to a 34-31 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in only his second NFL start.

JUST BETWEEN US…One of the most exciting college games Saturday lived up to its billing as No. 1 (Clemson) played at No. 4 (Notre Dame). The Fighting Irish’s head coach Brian Kelly used every trick he knew and came out on top 47-40, knocking the Tigers out of the No. 1 spot it has enjoyed this season. This game produced a big change at the top of this week’s AP Top 25 College Football Poll with Alabama moving up from its second position to No. 1 while Notre Dame came up two spots to No. 2, Ohio State remained No. 3 with Clemson dropping down to No. 4. The Texas Aggies and Florida each jumped two spots to No. 5 and No. 6, respectively, undefeated Cincinnati and BYU each DROPPED one place to No. 7 and No. 8, Miami came up two places to No. 9 and Indiana catapulted three spots to No. 10. SMU dropped one place to No. 19 and the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns joined the poll at No. 25. Alabama has extended its record of consecutive seasons with at least one week ranked as the No. 1 team for the 13th straight year.

 

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