DeAndre Hopkins’ whirling, twirling 49-yard reception set up Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 36-yard field goal in overtime as the Houston Texans defeated the visiting Dallas Cowboys 19-16 on Sunday night.
The Texans (2-3) have won two straight for the first time since December 2016. They defeated their Texas rivals for the first time since 2002.
Fairbairn’s fourth field goal of the night came with 1:55 left in the extra period, after the Cowboys (2-3) had failed to score on the opening possession. His 37-yard field goal in OT last week gave Houston a 37-34 victory at Indianapolis.
For most of the game, the largest home crowd in Texans history (72,008) saw the home squad get stymied again and again by the Dallas defense deep inside the red zone.
In the second quarter, the Texans had first-and-goal at the 6 and settled for a 20-yard field goal. They had first-and-goal at the 9 just before halftime and came away with no points.
Another Houston first-and-goal at the 4 produced just a 21-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Dallas saved its stiffest goal-line stand for the fourth quarter, surviving a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Alfred Blue rushed up the middle for no gain on first down, as did quarterback Deshaun Watson on second down. On third down, safety Jeff Heath broke up a pass intended for Ryan Griffin. Fairbairn came on for a 19-yard field goal that put Houston ahead 16-13 with 8:34 left.
Brett Maher answered with his third field goal, connecting from 48 yards out to extend his streak to 11 consecutive makes and knot the score at 16-16 with 5:39 to play.
Another timely Dallas defensive play helped send it to overtime. With the Texans driving for a potential game-winning score, safety Xavier Woods collected the Cowboys’ first interception of the season with 10 seconds left in regulation.
Watson completed 33 of 44 passes for 375 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Hopkins had nine receptions for 151 yards, none bigger than his spectacular spinning grab in overtime.
For Dallas, NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott finished with 54 yards on 20 carries. Dak Prescott completed 18 of 29 passes for 208 yards and one TD with two interceptions.
The Cowboys led 6-0 after the first quarter on two field goals by Maher from 27 and 43 yards.
The Texans took a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter when Watson flipped a short toss to rookie Keke Coutee for a 1-yard touchdown, the first of his career.
Kareem Jackson gave the Texans a chance to put more points on the board before halftime with his franchise-record 15th career interception, deflected off the hands of Tavon Austin.
Houston fizzled in the red zone again. Facing fourth-and-goal from about a foot away with 10 seconds left, Texans coach Bill O’Brien decided to pass up the chip-shot field goal and went for it. Houston lost the gamble when Watson’s scramble fell short. Linebacker Jaylon Smith outraced him to the corner and knocked him out of bounds at the 2-yard line.
The Texans started the second half with a turnover. Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown stripped the ball from Hopkins, and Jourdan Lewis scooped it up and returned it to the Houston 16. Five plays later, Prescott’s 3-yard scoring strike to Allen Hurns put Dallas back on top, 13-10.
After Prescott’s second deflected interception, this one by rookie safety Justin Reid, Houston evened it up at 13-13 on Fairbairn’s 21-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
—Field Level Media