Perhaps the point of no return for the Houston Texans in what was a truly miserable performance Thursday night in a 27-0 loss to the New England Patriots was rookie Tyler Ervin’s fumble in the middle of the third quarter that pretty much iced any chance of a comeback.
The Patriots had just ground out a long field-goal drive to open the second half, but it was only 13-0 when Brock Osweiler and the Texans were getting set to get the ball back. One problem: Ervin coughed it up on his own 21-yard line, and the Patriots recovered. Four LeGarrette Blount runs and two pass interference calls later, and it was goodnight, Irene at 20-zip.
But we noticed a funny thing before the fumble: Ervin was holding the ball in one hand and a towel in the other. What in the …
So what exactly was going on here? If you watch the video up top, right around the 45-second mark you’ll see that Ervin started the return with just the ball. But as he ran up on the back of his teammate, fellow rookie KJ Dillon, Ervin just seemed to naturally grab the little facecloth hanging from Dillon’s waist. Why? We have no clue. He just did.
Did it affect the fumble? No — Patriots special-teamer Nate Ebner put his hat right on the ball and dislodged it. But maybe had Ervin not been carrying a piece of laundry during the return, he could have helped prevent the fumble with a second hand on the ball as tacklers converged.
Ya think? It was that kind of night for the Texans.
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