The Dallas Cowboys got the type of game they wanted in Houston — a defensive slugfest versus the Texans.
But the Cowboys still left with a gut punch as Houston kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn nailed an overtime field goal that lifted the Texans to a 19-16 victory on Sunday night at NRG Stadium.
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, visibly shaken by the hits he had taken from the Dallas defense, still managed to make the key play in overtime. He floated a spot-on pass to DeAndre Hopkins on second-and-nine from the Texans’ 24. Hopkins made the catch, then shook off Dallas defenders as he spun his way to the Cowboys’ 27.
That set up Fairbairn’s 36-yard game-winning field goal.
And Fairbairn’s boot also sent the Cowboys (2-3) to 0-3 on the road so far this season.
Dallas won the coin toss at the start of overtime, giving the Cowboys the first possession. But, after running back Ezekiel Elliott and tight end Blake Jarwin helped Dallas move the chains twice, Dallas’s overtime possession stalled at the Texans’ 42.
It looked like the Cowboys were going to keep rolling when they faced third-and-one at the 42. However, Houston linebacker Zach Cunningham shot through a gap and stuffed Elliott for a half-yard loss.
Dallas coach Jason Garrett sent in the punt team and the Cowboys never got the ball back.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott gave another lackluster performance on the road. He completed 15 of 26 passes for 179 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He was consistently pressured by Texans pass-rush experts J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.
And Houston still managed to corral Elliott, who rushed for 54 yards on 20 carries.
Conversely, Watson was efficient despite battling an apparent upper-body injury. Watson completed 33 of 44 passes for 375 yards and rushed for 40.
The Dallas secondary had a hard time containing Houston wide receivers Hopkins and Keke Coutee and tight end Ryan Griffin. Hopkins finished with 9 catches for 151 yards, Griffin made 6 grabs for 65 and Coutee caught 6 balls for 51 and a touchdown.
It all resulted in the Texans second straight overtime victory.
Jaylon Smith did his part to give Dallas a chance to win. Smith had 14 tackles and kept the Texans out of the end zone at the end of the first half when he met Watson at the 2 and knocked the Texans QB out of bounds on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
Smith teamed up with Demarcus Lawrence to pressure Watson into a wobbly pass that Xavier Woods intercepted, stopping the Texans’ final drive of regulation, ultimately forcing overtime.
Dallas took a 13-10 lead when Prescott threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Allen Hurns with 11:52 left in the third quarter.
But the Cowboys managed just three points in the final 26 minutes of regulation plus overtime.