The Texans special teams had an epic meltdown Sunday. Kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn missed two extra points and a 56-yard field goal in a 25-22 loss to the Patriots, and that wasn’t the worst of it.
Texans punter Cameron Johnston had a punt for 0 yards on one of the most embarrassing plays of the year in the NFL.
“Trying to find the right combination of who the right guys are on those special teams and we got to do a better job of doing that,” Texans coach David Culley said. “Now, going back to the field goal and the extra points, he’s our kicker. He missed them. He’s got to make those. The punt thing, initially when the punt thing happened, I thought maybe it was penetration that got the punt blocked. He missed the punt. It wasn’t penetration. He actually mishit the punt, and the punt went into one of our guys. So, it wasn’t a thing up front. It was something whre our guys where our guys, our kicker didn’t do his job from a standpoint of being able to do those things and our punter did the same thing on the punt. It wasn’t our special teams not doing the right thing, we just didn’t execute, and they didn’t get the job done and he didn’t make the kicks.”
The Texans led 22-9 when they faced fourth-and-two at their own 36 in the third quarter. They were 3-for-3 on fourth down on the day but sent in the punt team.
Johnston positioned himself closer to the line of scrimmage, and the Texans had a fake punt they were going to run if they got the right look. They didn’t. So Johnston quickly backed up to pooch punt position and the ball was snapped to try to catch the Patriots without a returner deep.
Instead, Johnston bounced a low, line drive kick off teammate Terrance Brooks‘ helmet. The ball went sideways out of bounds at the line of scrimmage.
“It has nothing to do with the distance. He missed the kick,” Culley said. “The kick went off the inside of his foot. When you look at it closely, the kick went off the inside of his foot. He did it in practice three times, and everything was perfect.”
The Patriots gained only 3 yards before settling for a 52-yard field goal from Nick Folk, the start of a 16-0 run by New England.