Recap: Texans Improve to 5-0, But May Have Lost LB Brian Cushing
Overview: The Houston Texans remained one of two undefeated teams with Monday night’s 23-17 road win over the New York Jets.
But the franchise’s first win over the Jets may have come with a steep price.
It looks as though their defensive leader Brian Cushing may have suffered an ACL injury to his left knee that could have him sidelined. The Jets also may have exposed the Texans susceptibility to the deep ball, too.
For now, however, the Texans can celebrate extending their franchise-best start to 5-0, joining the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons as the lone two remaining undefeated NFL teams.
The Texans got under the national glare of Monday Night Football by outlasting a dysfunctional Jets team. In what can be seen as a lackluster effort, the Texans didn’t dominate the Jets by any stretch and needed an interception by cornerback Kareem Jackson with 1:51 to secure the win.
But the Texans did make the plays when they needed to, on the defensive side. J.J. Watt continues to be menace at the line scrimmage where he deflected two of Mark Sanchez’s passes. His biggest play came late in the first half when his deflection turned into an 86-yard interception return by cornerback Brice McCain. That play stalled a scoring drive by the Jets and ending up producing a field goal that put the Texans ahead 17-7 at halftime.
Offensively, the Texans played efficient but not spectacular against a team that had lost to San Francisco 34-0 the week prior.
Running back Arian Foster ran the ball well, rushing for 152 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries. Quarterback Matt Schaub extended his winning to nine straight games after completing 14 of 28 passes for 209 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
Tight end Owen Daniels and H-back/fullback James Casey were Schaub’s favorite targets while star receiver Andre Johnson seems to continue to struggle to be a consistent weapon in the offense. Johnson had just one catch for 16 yards while he dropping one pass that hit him in the hands.
Defensively, cornerback Johnathan Joseph didn’t perform up to the standard he has set the last two seasons and the same can be said for safety Danieal Manning. Both struggled and gave up big plays in coverage to a team that was missing top receiving target Santonio Holmes. This could have been ugly had Holmes or even receiver Stephen Hill or tight end Dustin Keller been available to Sanchez.
Sanchez was able to complete 14 of 31 passes for 230 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Who Did Well: All-Pro running back Arian Foster reached 5,000 career yards rushing from scrimmage with his 152-yard rushing performance against the Jets. His 13-yard touchdown run in the second quarter put the Texans ahead 14-7.
Quarterback Matt Schaub now has the longest active winning streak with nine straight wins following Monday night’s win. Schaub wasn’t spectacular but efficient against a Jets secondary that was missing its best player. Schaub got the Texans off to another quick start with his 34-yard touchdown strike to tight end Owen Daniels to put his team ahead 7-0 within the first four minutes of the game. He completed 14 of 28 passes for 209 yards, one touchdown and one interceptions.
Who Struggled: Andre Johnson has still displayed the flare for the spectacular catch but he has struggled to be a consistent part of the offense. For the second week in a row, Schaub relied more on his tight ends and top receiving threat because Johnson couldn’t get open against coverage. Johnson caught one pass for 16 yards while making one big drop against the Jets.
The Texans entire secondary made mistakes but the most glaring were committed by the two steadiest members of the unit. Safety Danieal Manning let a couple big plays get behind him, as did cornerback Johnathan Joseph.
Injury: Linebacker and defensive leader Brian Cushing left the game in the second quarter with a left knee injury that is feared to be an ACL injury. Cushing finished the game in street clothes as a result of an apparent chop block.
Interesting Stat: Schaub was not sacked once while the Texans defense recorded three sacks for minus-13 yards against the Jets.
He said It: “Arian stepped up and played huge. We’re very excited to be 5-0 and get a win on the road.” –Quarterback Matt Schaub
Up Next: The Texans return home but the schedule gets a little tougher with quarterback Aaron Rogers and the Green Bay Packers set to come into Reliant Stadium for a Sunday night game. The Packers are coming off a disappointing 30-27 loss to Indianapolis that dropped them to 2-3 on the season. The Packers also will come in without their top running back Cedric Benson, who suffered a Lisfranc injury to his foot during the game. The Packers are 0-2 on the road this season.