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By Joe Kazmar
For the Record 

Kaz's Korner

Texans win, then lose: Cowboys lose game but are in playoffs

 

Last updated 1/10/2023 at 3:34pm

The final week of the regular National Football League season ended Sunday with a lot of question marks about this weekend’s wild card playoffs being answered and a couple of head coaches losing their jobs.

The Houston Texans boldly went for a two-point conversion trailing 31-30 with time running out and were successful, winning only their third game of the season 32-31 over the Colts at Indianapolis.

But the victory was costly in two different ways—the Texans lost the Lousiest Team Award which was the No. 1 pick in April’s 2023 NFL draft to the Chicago Bears and were also minus their head coach Lovie Smith, who was unceremoniously fired by CEO Cal McNair shortly after the game ended.

McNair was nervously pacing around in the waning seconds of the game, which led fans and Houston Chronicle sports writers to believe this was a pre-determined action planned earlier in the week.

The head man must have felt very uncomfortable congratulating Smith for his great decision to go for the win and not the tie for an overtime period, remembering the first time these two teams met in the season opener in Houston that the overtime period didn’t produce any points and ended in a 20-20 tie and then telling him “Oh, by the way, you’re fired.”

If anyone should have gotten canned, my choice would have been general manager Nick Caserio, who signed those 53 inept players on the roster and then told Lovie Smith to “go win with these guys”. Vince Lombardi would have had a tough time matching Smith’s results.

Losing the top draft choice shouldn’t hurt the team much because there are many prospects (especially quarterbacks) who would be eager to lead this team.

Caserio’s rebuilding tactics would take the team into the 2030’s to even get a winning record at the rate he’s “improving” the team. There was some good young talent that played well this season, but there also were some veterans who weren’t cutting it.

Houston earned some additional draft picks—mainly from the Deshaun Watson trade—that should be helpful if done correctly.

The Dallas Cowboys have a good team and a good coach plus a meddling owner and went into Sunday’s game at Washington with a chance to win the East Division title with a bye this week and the home field for every game leading up to the Super Bowl.

Several things had to take place—like the Philadelphia Eagles losing to the New York Giants—but more importantly, the Cowboys taking care of business against the Commanders.

Neither happened, so the Cowboys had to settle for remaining the NFC’s No. 5 seed and having to travel to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers in the wild card round Monday night.

Quarterback Dak Prescott had perhaps his worst outing as a Cowboy, completing just 14 of 37 passes for a paltry 128 yards and threw a pick-6 that got Washington on the scoreboard. The sad part of this scenario is that the Commanders used third-string rookie quarterback Sam Howell, who had never played a down this season and he led his team to an easy 26-6 victory.

Dallas will play the Buccaneers (8-9) Monday night at Tampa Bay and are expected to win. But not so fast—Bucs’ quarterback Tom Brady has never lost to the Cowboys in seven meetings and Dallas has lost the last eight post-season games on the road.

Kansas City and Philadelphia each won the No. 1 seed of their respective conference and will enjoy a bye in this weekend’s wild card playoff round plus the homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

The playoffs begin 3:30 p.m. Saturday when the seventh-seeded Seattle Seahawks meet the 49ers in San Francisco.

The Seahawks became big Detroit Lions fans Sunday night rooting them on to an upset victory over Green Bay which eliminated the Packers and gave Seattle the final spot in the NFC playoffs.

The other game Saturday finds the fifth-seeded LA Chargers at Jacksonville, after the Jaguars used a fumble recovery late in the game to defeat the Tennessee Titans 20-16 and win the AFC South Division.

Three games are on tap Sunday when the Buffalo Bills host the Miami Dolphins at noon, followed by the New York Giants at Minnesota at 3:30 p.m. and Baltimore at Cincinnati at 7:15 p.m. in a rematch of Sunday’s 27-16 victory by the Bengals.

The wild card round concludes Monday night when the Dallas Cowboys travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers at 7:15 p.m.

KWICKIES…Deion Sanders discovered a slight problem when taking over the coaching reins for the Colorado Buffaloes, pertaining to the clothes he wears. The sharp-dressing Coach Prime as he is called, has a clothing contract with Underarmor while Colorado has an exclusive contract with Nike which means he will have to wear the Nike brand anytime he is coaching or practicing the team for the next five years.

The Denver Broncos received permission from Fox Sports to interview former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Peyton for the coaching job that is currently open. But one stipulation is that it can’t happen before Jan. 17. Peyton said he’s happy with the team at Fox and the job is much less stressful than coaching, but he’ll weigh the options.

The NFC East Division, which will have three of its four member teams participating in the wild card playoffs this week, has gone 18 straight NFL seasons without having a repeat division champion.

ESPN’s “First Take” show announced Monday that Kliff Kingsbury has been fired by the Arizona Cardinals. Kingsbury, the former head coach at Texas Tech, has delivered only one playoff appearance in his four years with the Cards.

The New England Patriots allowed four touchdowns of 40-plus yards Sunday in the Buffalo Bills’ 35-13 win. The Patriots had never even allowed two-plus touchdowns over 40 yards under Bill Belichick.

JUST BETWEEN US…The Most Valuable Player in the AFC shouldn’t even be close as Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes should have it all wrapped up, not only for setting the NFL record for passing and rushing yards in a season, but for some of the things he does off the field. Last summer, before the official training camp began, Mahomes brought the offensive players to Dallas and had them get to know their teammates better off the field and let them work on their blocking schemes in skull sessions, of course with the blessing of Head Coach Andy Reid. He fed them and housed them and entertained them for a relaxing week before reporting to training camp. Reid recognizes Mahomes’ value to the team both on and off the field.

 

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