By Cheval John
The Houston Texans had a 13-0 lead for most of the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Texans defense created havoc that disrupted the offensive flow of quarterback Ben Rothlesberger that it caused the Steelers faithful to boo loudly.
It seemed like the Texans was going to maintain control and carry the lead into the second half.
Until the Steelers found new life and scored 24 unanswered points in the final 2:54 of the second half to take a 24-13 lead.
The Texans tried to come back in the game after scoring 10 points in the second half and came within an onside kick of tying it.
But it would not be enough as the Steelers hang on to win 30-23.
Pittsburgh became the first team to accomplish this feat since the Seattle Seahawks scored 24 unanswered points in 2002 within a three-minute time frame.
Unfortunately for the Texans, they had to be on the wrong side of history.
Texans coach Bill O’Brien sums it up here on a tweet by Houston Chronicle editor Nick Mathews.
Bill O'Brien: "Terrible second quarter. Couldn't come back from it. Too many turnovers."
— Nick Mathews (@Nick_Mathews) October 21, 2014
The Steelers started the rally with a field goal by kicker Shaun Suisham that cut the Texans’ lead to 13-3.
Houston could not get anything going and was forced to punt after going 3 and out in their series.
A couple of plays later, Rothlesberger found Martavis Bryant for a 35-yard touchdown to bring it close to 13-10.
The Steelers built on their momentum swing and recovered an Arian Foster fumble on the Texans’own 3-yard line.
A few plays later on a trickery, wide receiver Antonio Brown connected with Lance Moore for a 3-yard touchdown to gain a 17-13 lead.
The Texans’ nightmare continued when quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an interception to Brett Keisel, who returned it 16 yards to the Houston’s 8-yard line.
Rothlesberger completed the massacre a couple of plays later with a 2-yard touchdown pass to running back Le’Veon Bell.
All of a sudden, the Texans found themselves trailing going into the third quarter.
Pittsburgh received criticism from former head coach Bill Cowher and former wide receiver Hines Ward about their mental toughness.
In the majority of the first half, both Cowher and Ward were correct.
In the final 2:54 of the second quarter, the Steelers responded to their criticism and pulled off a houdini with 24 unanswered points.
By Cheval John
Texas A&M was suppose to be making a statement that they were more improved without Johnny Manziel.
In the first five games of the season, the Aggies were 5-0.
Since then, A&M went on a three-game losing streak including a 59-0 loss to Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Maybe the strong start by the Aggies especially with sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill was an abboration.
The reality is A&M is in trouble.
It should not be a surprise that their defense is still questionable.
However, the biggest surprise was their offense as they only managed 162 total yards while Alabama had 602 yards.
This is definitely the worst loss that A&M ever got under head coach Kevin Sumlin.
This tweet below sums up the type of day that A&M experienced on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
— Germany Kent (@GermanyKent) October 18, 2014
The Aggies can only wish that their matchup with Alabama would not have taken place a week after the Crimson Tide’s 14-13 win against Arkansas.
By Cheval John
When the Kansas City Royals made their first ever playoff appearance in 1985, they won the World Series.
It seems like they are on that same route the second time around after they swept the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 to make it back to the World Series.
Nobody had foreseen before the playoffs that the Royals was going to make this tremendous run towards the World Series.
Many expected either the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or the Orioles to represent the American League in the greatest pennacle of baseball.
However, it is not how you start, but how you finish.
The Royals have played like a unit throughout the season and it was evident that they were going to make some noise in the playoffs.
Their pitching has been lights out, especially from the bullpen.
When they took a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning during the third game of the ALCS against the Orioles, a person had a feeling that the lead was going to hold.
It proved to be true as the bullpen retired nine straight batters to secure the win.
In the series clincher, the Royals scored two runs in the first inning for a 2-0.
Even though the Orioles scored in the top of the third inning to cut the lead to 2-1, they could not score another as the pitching from starter Jason Vargas and the bullpen were lights out.
The only thing we can hope is that the Royals will not be like the Colorado Rockies, who swept their way to the World Series, only to lose to the Boston Red Sox in 2007.
Kansas City can only wait and see who they will face in the World Series.
By Cheval John
Who would have thought that the San Francisco 49ers would have gotten help from an unlikely source, the arch-rival Dallas Cowboys?
The Cowboys, who have been a laughing stock over the last few years, stunned the defending Super Bowl Champions, Seattle Seahawks 30-23 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
The Seahawks’ loss allowed the 49ers to move into second place in the NFC Western Division after they defeated the St. Louis Rams 31-17.
Though it did not benefit Stephen A Smith, who had to wear a Tony Romo jersey and a Cowboys hat during the entire show of First Take, as a 49er fan, it was a blessing in disguise.
Stephen A. Pays Off Bet http://t.co/xJWauR9Hi2
— ESPN First Take (@ESPN_FirstTake) October 14, 2014
I thought that the 49ers would have no shot if they had to face the Seahawks in the playoffs because of the off-the-field issues and speculation of head coach Jim Harbaugh leaving after this year due to a disagreement with the front office and some of the players.
I did not give the Cowboys any chance at winning because it is tough to win at Seattle.
However, the Cowboys did not get in their own way and stayed with allowing tailback DeMarco Murray to run the football that has alleviated Romo from being reckless.
It also allowed Romo to be the hero when it was crunch time.
That time came late in the fourth quarter on a 3rd and 20 play when Romo did a houdini and found Terrence Williams, who kept his foot inbounds for the crucial first down.
The play kept the drive alive and set up Murray to get the game-winning touchdown.
This just goes to show that if a person stays focus on the goal of achieving their dreams, help will come from unlikely sources.
The 49ers “can” be grateful to the Cowboys for helping them to be a game out of first place in their division.
If you received help from someone you did not expect, please share in the comment section below.
By Cheval John
Landon Donovan made his final appearance for the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) in an international friendly against Ecuador.
He played only 41 minutes in the match.
But his impact resonated with over 35,000 fans in Hartford, Connecticut, who were fortunate to witness Donovan’s final game for the U.S.
Donovan is the all-time leader for the USMNT in goals (57) and assists (58).
Though he did not score in his final game, he will always be remembered as a charasmatic player who understood his path to grow the game of soccer (football) in the U.S.
The one thing can be asked is this: If USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann had known that Donovan was going to retire this year, would he had chosen Donovan to be a part of the final 23-man roster for the World Cup in Brazil?
Klinsmann said in an interview earlier this week with media outlets that he still would not have taken him because the others were better than him. Paraphrased.
Klinsmann’s decision was correct in a large degree because the players he had chosen who did not had enough caps, (John Brooks, Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin) played well in the World Cup.
Brooks score the game-winning goal against Ghana in the USMNT’s first game of the tournament.
However, Donovan’s exclusion proved to be costly because in the final minutes of regulation against Belgium in the round of sixteen, Chris Wondolowski had a wide open net to win the game for the U.S.
But he missed it.
On the other hand, Green scored on his first ever possession in overtime and it showed that he has a strong future with the team.
The unfortunate thing is that Belgium had scored two goals before Green put the ball in the net and won the game despite Tim Howard’s record 16 saves.
One can definitely say that Donovan had a fantastic career.
Unfortunately, he did not go out in the way that Derek Jeter went out in his final game at Yankee Stadium.