Detroit, MI – For the second time in less than a week Houston went to overtime, and for the second time, the team pulled out a win.
After missing a 51-yard field goal earlier in the extra session, Shayne Graham booted a 32-yarder with 2:21 left to give the Houston Texans a thrilling 34-31 win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
Last Sunday, Andre Johnson caught a 48-yard score in overtime as the Texans took a 43-37 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This week he accounted for 188 yards on nine catches as the Texans (10-1) won a franchise-record fifth straight game as the visitors.
"When bad things happen, nobody panics and I think that's a great thing about us," said Johnson of Houston's comeback. "Everybody is just encouraging each other. We needed a play to be made to get some momentum and we just capitalized off it."
Matt Schaub, coming off a 527-yard, five-touchdown game against Jacksonville, passed for 315 yards with one touchdown and one interception on 29-of-48 attempts while Arian Foster had 20 carries for 102 yards and two scores for Houston, which has won five straight overall.
Matthew Stafford went 31-for-61 with 441 yards and two touchdowns while Calvin Johnson caught eight passes for 140 yards and a score for the Lions (4-7), who have dropped three straight and nine consecutive Thanksgiving games.
"That's a tough one, we had opportunities to win it," said Stafford. "It was a great football game, but we didn't catch many breaks and couldn't capitalize a couple of times when we needed to."
After Jason Hanson had hit his 47-yard attempt off the right upright, Schaub completed a 15-yard pass to James Casey. Two plays later, Andre Johnson caught a 23-yard pass and Casey followed with an 11-yard catch. Graham then booted the ball just inside the left upright for the win.
Detroit held a 24-14 lead in the third quarter, but the Texans came back with a controversial touchdown. On the second play, Justin Forsett took a handoff and appeared to be down as his arm touched the ground. However, the whistle was never blown and he ran into the end zone on an 81-yard score.
Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz immediately threw the challenge flag, but he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct since all touchdowns are automatically reviewed. That nullified any review and the score was allowed to stand, making it a 24-21 contest.
"They said it was a touchdown, but then I looked on the screen and I saw that my forearm was down," said Forsett. "But they weren't able to review it. Its just a blessing and I'm happy to have it."
A quick possession from Detroit saw the team punt the ball, with the Texans getting the ball back at their own 33. They got down to the Detroit 27, but had to settle for a 45-yard field goal from Graham to tie the game with 2:36 to play in the third.
The Lions answered to get the lead back. With the ball at their own 39, Joique Bell took a handoff 26 yards to the Houston 35 on the last play of the third quarter. Three plays later, Bell took a handoff up the middle and into the end zone untouched on a 23-yard score for a 31-24 lead with 13:31 left in the fourth.
Each team then punted twice, with Detroit's second punt pinning the Texans back at their own 3-yard line, but that didn't faze Schaub and the rest of the team, though.
A 13-yard catch by Andre Johnson on third down got the team a fresh set of downs. He added a 23-yard catch after a 15-yard run from Foster to get the ball across midfield. Houston faced a 4th-and-7, but Johnson was wide open for a 16-yard catch for a first down. Foster capped the 15-play drive from the 1- yard line as he punched the ball into the end zone to tie the game with 1:55 left in regulation.
Detroit got across midfield, but only to the Houston 45 and had to punt the ball back to Houston, which took a couple of snaps until the game went to overtime.
The Lions started the overtime with the ball and got across midfield on a 40- yard catch by Ryan Broyles, but Brandon Pettigrew was stripped of the ball after a catch and Darryl Sharpton recovered at the Houston 35.
Foster took the first snap 11 yards and Andre Johnson followed with a 14-yard catch. Another 11-yard run from Foster got the ball into scoring position, but the team then took a false start. After a 3-yard run from Foster, Forsett had a 2-yard loss as did Foster to make it a 51-yard field goal attempt from Graham, who missed it just to the left to give Detroit the ball back at its own 41.
Detroit only got to the Texans' 45 and had to punt, giving Houston the ball back at its 9-yard line.
Chris Houston then came up with the first turnover of the game for Detroit as he picked off Schaub and the Lions got down to the Houston 29 for a 47-yard field goal attempt from Hanson. The normally reliable kicker, though, hit the ball off the right upright and the game stayed tied.
Detroit started the game with the ball and quickly faced a 3rd-and-17 after Stafford was sacked and then threw an incompletion, but a neutral zone infraction from Houston was followed by a 25-yard catch from Broyles, giving the Lions a first down. Calvin Johnson had a 20-yard catch to move the ball across midfield, and Mikel Leshoure capped the 12-play drive with a 2-yard run into the end zone for a 7-0 lead five minutes in.
That score was followed by six straight punts, three from each team, until Houston put together a scoring drive in the second quarter.
Starting at his own 26, Schaub rolled out to his left on the first play and found Andre Johnson wide open for 37 yards. Facing a 3rd-and-2, Foster caught a 5-yard pass to the Detroit 6 and ran it in from the left end on the next play to tie the game with 10:57 left in the half.
The Lions came right back with their best drive since their opening possession. Catches of 14 and 35 yards by Calvin Johnson got the ball across midfield, and he later caught a 12-yard pass followed by a 12-yard catch from Pettigrew to set up a 1st-and-goal at the 5-yard line.
Facing a third down, Stafford side-armed the ball through the middle and into the back of the end zone where Mike Thomas caught it for a 14-7 lead with six minutes left in the second quarter.
Houston answered on its next touch thanks in part to a 43-yard catch from Andre Johnson down the left sideline that he bobbled before pulling it in at the Detroit 12. Three plays later, a short pass over the middle was caught by Owen Daniels and he took it in on a 9-yard score with 2:11 to play.
Stefan Logan took the kickoff 38 yards to the Detroit 41 and Stafford needed just two plays to give the Lions the lead back. Broyles caught a 37-yard pass down to the 22. On the next play, Stafford tossed the ball to the back of the end zone and Calvin Johnson came down with the catch as he was falling backwards for a 21-14 lead going into the break.
Houston went three-and-out on its first touch of the second half, and Detroit was able to get into scoring position thanks to converting a pair of third downs. That led to a 46-yard field goal from Hanson for a 24-14 lead with 7:03 to play in the third.
Detroit offensive tackle Jeff Backus sat out the game with a hamstring injury. He had started a franchise-record 186 games. Also out for Detroit was defensive tackle Corey Williams with a knee injury ... Houston was without cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who suffered a strained hamstring last Sunday, and linebacker Tim Dobbins was out with a shoulder injury ... Leshoure's TD was the first rushing touchdown the Texans allowed this season ... Forsett's TD run was the longest in franchise history ... It was the first time Houston has played on Thanksgiving ... The teams combined for 1,026 yards of offense, 525 from Detroit ... Leshoure had 12 carries for 32 yards and two catches for 27 yards while Bell had 47 yards on five carries ... Detroit's last win on Thanksgiving came in 2003 against Green Bay. The team is now 33-38-2 all-time on the holiday ... Houston has won two of the three meetings between the clubs.