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Texans Use Their Bag of Tricks to Pull Out Win

November 25, 2002|From Associated Press

HOUSTON — The Houston Texans aren't just beating mediocre teams anymore. They've improved enough to hurt the ones with playoff aspirations -- like the New York Giants.

The Texans used a trick play, a big punt return and two field goals by Kris Brown -- the last one a 50-yarder with 6:57 to play -- to defeat the Giants, 16-14, Sunday.

"This one is going to sting," Giant quarterback Kerry Collins said. "We did not play well enough to win, but we are just going to have to come back and get a win next week."

Houston (3-8) beat Dallas to open the season and later defeated Jacksonville, but this was the Texans' first victory over a team with a winning record.

"This is great. It should lift everyone's spirit," Texan center Steve McKinney said. "It lets all the guys know if we can hang around until the fourth quarter, we'll have a chance to win.

Giant Coach Jim Fassel was upset after the game.

"All week long, all I talked about was being ready," Fassel said. "I know we made mistakes. They were trying to play hard and were playing hard, but we just made mistakes too many times."

Trailing 14-13 after Collins threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer with 13:10 to play, the Texans drove 41 yards to the Giants 32, setting up Brown's game-decider.

"That's why I'm here," Brown said. "Anytime I get an opportunity to put points on the board, I've got to make sure I take advantage."

It still took two late interceptions -- by Matt Stevens with 5:57 to play and by Jeff Posey with 1:19 left -- to preserve Houston's victory. The Texans won for the first time in four games and ended the Giants' winning streak at three.

Posey's interception ended New York's next-to-last drive at the Texan 29. New York got the ball back with 22 seconds to play, but a long pass by Collins fell incomplete in the front part of the end zone as time expired.

After a dull first half that ended with the Giants (6-5) leading 7-5, the Texans enlivened the game with a 39-yard punt return by Jermaine Lewis to the Giants 34, and another of the Texans' trick plays, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Wells.

Facing third-and-six from the New York 30 after the punt return, Carr lateraled across the field to James Allen, who threw the ball back to Carr, who had an open field and ran to the two-yard line.

After Wells' touchdown, Carr passed to Allen for the two-point conversion and a 13-7 lead.

Carr completed 10 of 23 passes for 103 yards. Collins was 18 for 41 for 214 yards.

"We made enough mistakes to cost us the game: a field goal missed that should have been made, a ball over the punter's head to give them two other points," Fassel said. "I'm not happy about that at all."

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