Texans Beat Raiders in Bad & Boring Playoff Opener
The playoffs are supposed to be about grudge matches.
The top teams in the league fighting for the title of sporting greatness.
Turns out we forget about two pivotal facts of football.
The AFC South winner gets a playoff bid and quarterback injuries can ruin you.
Yes, I’m talking about the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders. Not only are these two teams in the playoffs, but they played in the first game of the 2017 playoffs.
The Texans had earned their ticket by virtue of winning the AFC South, aka the worst division in football. While Houston had an all-class D, QB Brock Osweiler has been nothing short of terrible this season.
The only reason dude got the start was because backup-turned-starting-slinger Tom Savage being ruled out due to a concussion he received in a meaningless Week 17 game.
The Raiders, on the other hand, were one of the better teams in football until fringe MVP candidate QB Derek Carr was declared done for the year with a broken leg. Oakland received worse news when backup QB Matt McGloin hurt his shoulder, forcing rookie Connor Cook into action.
Cook’s start proved to be a historic one, as he became the first QB in the Super Bowl era to make his starting debut in a playoff game. Turns out this was also historic because played a major part in what might possibly be the most boring playoff game in NFL history.
How bad was this game?
The Raiders didn’t eclipse over 100 yards of total offense until the fourth quarter. The Texans began chomping the clock with nearly four minutes left … in the third quarter.
The game started with an early 10-0 Texans lead, set up by Jadeveon Clowney’s circus interception deep in Raiders territory.
The Raiders mounted a small comeback in the first quarter on a Latavius Murray touchdown run, but that was only false hope. The Texans would put up 17 unanswered points to go ahead, 27-7, allowing only a garbage time Raiders drive in the fourth to see a final 27-14 Texans victory.
For the Raiders, Cook completed only 18 of 45 pass attempts, including three picks and three sacks for -22 yards. The ex-Sparty dude did engineer a good drive in the garbage time that led to a touchdown pass to André Holmes, but it was too little too late.
Besides his early rushing TD, Murray was held in check by the Texans to a mere 39 yards on 12 carries.
Unfortunately for the 2015 Cardinals, Oakland eclipsed the 77 yards necessary to avoid the worst offensive performance in NFL playoff history, as they gained a whopping 203 yards. And yet, this game was just as painful to watch from an offensive standpoint.
While Cook looked bad, Osweiler actually looked fairly decent against a solid Raiders defense. The former Gonzaga hoops recruit completed 14 of 25 passes for 168 yards, including a touchdown pass to DeAndré Hopkins as well as a running TD early in the fourth.
Running back Lamar Miller, who scored the Texans' first TD of the day, had 73 yards rushing on a heavy 31 carries.
There's little to take away from this game.
Frankly, it was painfully clear that whichever club won, its playoff stay will likely last one more week.