Sean Pendergast

NFL Week 9: Eagles 29, Texans 17 — Four Winners, Four Losers

Lovie Smith and the Texans coaching staff don't have many answers for good teams like the Eagles.
Lovie Smith and the Texans coaching staff don't have many answers for good teams like the Eagles. Photo by Eric Sauseda
The game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on Thursday night, Battle Red Day for those who had the "first game in red helmets" circled on the calendar, was remarkable more for the environment surrounding the game than the game itself. The Thursday Night Football matchup was already the most popular ticket for out-of-towners this season, according to secondary ticket brokers, long before the Astros and Phillies wound up in the World Series.

However, adding the possibility of a Game 6 and 7 at Minute Maid Park to the scheduled football game made Houston a destination for even more outsiders from the City of Brotherly Love. We'll see what Minute Maid Park looks like tomorrow night, but the scene at NRG Stadium was one of the most surreal in the history of the team.

On what was supposed to be Battle Red Day, the stands were filled with Kelly Green, as the Eagles' faithful turned Thursday Night Football in an Eagles home game, made all the more bizarre because Game 5 of the World Series was going on simultaneously back in Philly, which taxed the WiFi at the stadium, and made for some really random cheering of baseball plays in the crowd at a football game.

In the end, the game was mroe competitive than most expected, with the Eagles grinding their way to a 29-17 win over the Texans. There were winners and losers last night, so let's get to them:

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Dorsett had three catches for 69 yards.
Photo by Eric Sauseda
4. Replacement receivers
With Nico Collins out with a groin injury and Brandin Cooks out with hurt feelings (more on him in a moment), the Texans rolled a lineup out there on Thursday that featured Phillip Dorsett and Chris Moore as the starting wide receivers. Not ideal, but both acquitted themselves fairly well under adverse circumstances. Dorsett had three catches for a total of 69 yards, including a couple fairly acrobatic grabs, while Moore had four catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. Good job by both of them, stepping up while Collins healed and Cooks sulked.

3. Chas McCormick
We interrupt this Eagles-Texans post for the most important defensive play in Houston sports this year, across all the sports. Bottom of the ninth, one out, 3-2 Astros, all hail CHAS!
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Hughes had two more sacks last night.
Photo by Eric Sauseda
2. Jerry Hughes
The Texans' pass rush had been one fo the more productive features on this team through the first three weeks of the season, with 10 sacks in three games. In the middle of all that had been Hughes, who had four sacks in those three games. Then, the pass rush went largely silent for a month, and then returned in a big way last night, with four sacks of Jalen Hurts. Hughes had two of those himself, and really collapsed the pocket and made the play on a sack that wound up being credited to rookie DT Kurt Hinish. Hughes, unlike some of the Texans vets (what's up, Cooks?), continues to set an example for the young players.
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Dameon Pierce is on pace to set a Texans rookie rushing record.
Photo by Eric Sauseda
1. Dameon Pierce
Through eight games, the de facto halfway point in a 17 game season, Pierce has been everything the Texans could have asked for and then some. The rookie fourth round pick out of Florida has been the Texans' most valuable player, their best player, and their most fun player. He continues to be among the league leaders in rushing yards (on pace for nearly 1,400 yards for the season) and broken tackles, meaning he is EARNING all those yards. Pierce is a joy, and I can't imagine this football season without him on this team.


4. Texans run defense
On the other side of the ball, the Texans continue to struggle defending the run, allowing 143 yards on 31 carries. It doesn't get any easier over the second half of the season either. Check these games out:

WEEK 10: NEW YORK GIANTS (Saquon Barkley)
WEEK 14: DALLAS COWBOYS (Ezekiel Elliott/Tony Pollard)
WEEK 15: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (lots of dudes)
WEEK 16: TENNESSEE TITANS (Derrick Henry, again)
WEEK 18: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (Jonathan Taylor, if he is healthy)


3. Philly fans
We interrupt this football post again to remind you that Philly fans are bathroom floor scuffling, hair pulling, Mike Schmidt jersey wearing scum:
This video might need its own Zapruder treatment. My mom, God rest her soul, was a Philly native, and I can't help but wonder if TikTok existed back in her day, fi she would have wound up beating the crap out of some Houston Colt .45 chick!

2. Amazon Prime
It's no secret that the ratings for Amazon's Thursday night package have been steadily declining over the course of the season, likely for a variety of reasons. However, I can't imagine a worse confluence of ratings circumstance than the hand Amazon was dealt last night. You had, arguably, the best team in the league facing off against the worst team in the league, with the game in the stadium of the lesser team (i.e. bad atmosphere). Oh, and by the way, the World Series rain out on Monday pushed Hame 5, of a 2-2 series, into a schedule conflict with the Thursday Night Football game. Oh, and by the way AGAIN, the World Series involves the two teams from the same cities as the football game. RATINGS DEATH, but at least I got my wish that I asked for back in August:
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Lovie Smith said Brandin Cooks would be back in the building on Friday.
Photo by Eric Sauseda
1. Brandin Cooks
In case you missed it, Brandin Cooks wanted to be traded at the deadline on Tuesday, didn't get traded, took his ball and went home, and then sat out the game on Thursday night:
It's a shame. Cooks, who was held up by the organization as a shining example of a great teammate, turned out to be the worst kind of teammate — he's a quitter.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast