Reporting Nate Griffin
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HOUSTON (CBS-Houston) The scrutiny was harsh and coming from all directions leading up to this game versus the Cincinnati Bengals. The fans were critical on all talk shows across the board. The local media doubted and the national media followed suit.
It is said that head coaches and quarterbacks are lauded when the team is winning and criticized harshly when the team is losing or going to through a slump. Head Coach Gary Kubiak was contrary to the thought – especially that of feeling pressure.
“I wasn’t under any pressure. I don’t feel that way. I think these guys have stayed the course the whole way. They’ve been through a tough month and that’s a part of the National Football League. The reason we won today is because nobody on this football team ever panics. They’ve got a lot of class.”
“They battled and they understand there (are) going to be highs and lows, and that’s why they were able to stand up to this challenge today. We played a great football team, we had to be patient, we had to battle, and we had to play our type of game. I’m just very, very proud of our organization today.”
The Texans rolled to a 19-13 win over the Bengals to advance against the New England Patriots on next Sunday. But, there’s no question that they went through a slump after having lost their final two games of the regular season which eliminated all chances of home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They lost 3 of their last four. That was a hard blow says strong safety, Danieal Manning.
“The ramifications of those two games would have given us, winning one out of two, would have gave us home-field advantage. On paper, that’s always good – it’s comfortable.”
“The mental part of football, you’re at home, you’re around your fans, you prepare well, you don’t have to stress on traveling, what you’re going to take to the plane and get there, and what room you’re going to be in – and all of that – the atmosphere changes.”
But, Manning admits that when the stakes are high, even athletes show that they are human.
“You have to do that when you’re playing in the regular season but it’s different when you’re in the playoffs. We knew what we lost and guys were devastated by it.”
SCHAUB & TEAM RECOVER NICELY
Schaub deserves a hand for a productive game, for now, after having averted the challenge of pressure from all sides, the doubting and criticism from fans and media. Take away the one pick-six by the Bengals, and Schaub was on par completing 29-of-38 passes for 262 yards and the one interception. The offensive line was tremendous in not allowing one sack.
He was tremendous and went to several reads in the offense while spreading the ball around to his playmakers. Tight ends Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham were on the end of 9 and 3 passes respectively. Veteran All-Pro Receiver Andre Johnson, along with the durable and crafty Kevin Walter, finished with 4 receptions each.
So after today’s performance and win, the Texans’ have regained their swagger. Schaub stated that he and team will enjoy Saturday’s win. But, he also notes that they are fully aware of next Saturday’s meeting against the New England Patriots in Foxboro.
“It’s a one-game season,” says Schaub. “You know, what we learned and the situations we were in a month ago, we can definitely pull from that. We’ve been down that road.”
“We know what it takes to win and that’s play good road football. We didn’t do that last time we played up there. But, we’ll have a good week of preparation and move on from this one and we’ll be excited to go up there and play better.”
PLEASE NO REPEATS
These two teams last met on December 10, 2012. The Texans were thoroughly embarrassed by the score of 42-10. Schaub was 19-of-32 for 232 yards and one interception. They could only manage 100 yards total on the ground.
If the Texans are going to win in Foxboro against Tom Brady and the Patriots, Arian Foster must have a similar game as he experienced against Cincinnati. He rushed for 86 yards on 16 carries in the first half. Foster finished with 140 yards on 32 carries and scored the Texans lone touchdown. He also became the first player in NFL history to gain 100 yards in his first three playoff games.
“Anytime you reach any milestone and touch any part of history in this league, it’s a big deal. It means a lot but it’s not just me. It’s this team, my offensive line, the receivers making key blocks, the tight ends, (and) the quarterback making plays and read checks. It’s always a culmination of your team. So, it’s a nice feeling.”
Hopefully, the Texans will have that nice feeling when they return from Foxboro on next Sunday.