Reporting Paul Gallant
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Once again…it wasn’t pretty. But the Texans escaped Reliant Stadium with another win, this time 30-24 in overtime over the Titans. Here’s what I took away from the game:
What Went Right
Brian Cushing and J.J. Watt: Beast Mode
Since his game-tying pick 6 against the Chargers, Brian Cushing has gone above and beyond the call to earn that paper. He was a terror on Sunday…with 11 tackles, 4 for a loss, plus 2 sacks. Yeah…decent. And obviously J.J. Watt dominated…as is tradition. He did more so this week (5 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 Sacks, 2 PDs) thanks to the return of Antonio Smith.
Honorable mention goes to Kareem Jackson, who was clearly the best corner on the field for the Texans. He’s been their best corner the last ten games, and was great in both coverage (2 PD) and run support (5 tackles). Still, the guy needs to smarten up with the tackles. That shot he took on Kendall Wright might have been spur of the moment or unavoidable, but it was obviously against the rules. You can’t launch.
Schaub In Crunch Time
Was Matt perfect? No…and he likely never will be. But for the second straight week, he was able to dig this team back out of a hole against a team the Texans should beat 9 out of 10 times. Andre Johnson (8 catches, 76 yards, and this clutch masterpiece) was a big help.
Still, who wasn’t a bit nervous when Andre walked off the field after what appeared to be a concussion? Give Schaub credit for having faith in his other younger targets and bringing the team back.
Speaking of those young guys…how awesome was DeAndre Hopkins down the stretch? After “miscommunication” with Schaub that resulted in a pick 6, Hopkins took the game over. What. A Freaking. Beast. Hopkins led the game with 117 yards receiving and a TD.
Meanwhile…Keshawn Martin only had 2 catches for 37 yards, but this catch was equally huge. It was nice to see the two combine for a good game, especially with DeVier Posey still not a part of the offensive game plan.
The One-Two Ground Punch
Ben Tate opened up the game with this. Arian Foster ensured overtime with that. And together, the two combined for 28 carries, 172 yards and a score. If these guys stay healthy all year, this offense is going to be very impressive.
You never like to see your punter on the field. But Shane Lechler proves every chance he can why he’s a future Hall of Famer…kicking 5 of his 7 punts inside the 20 yard line. Awesome.
What Went Wrong
Schaub: the Rest of the Game
Schaub was getting blitzed and beaten to hell just about all game long (2 sacks, 8 hits). With that in mind, I can understand the rushed throws short of the first on third downs (though was still frustrated) and the interceptions.
Still, it’s tough for me to accept that Schaub isn’t Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Those two guys will let the play clock run dry until the D reveals its hand…then adjusts the play…usually to something that will take advantage of what they reveal. Schaub…doesn’t. At least not enough.
I don’t buy that the Titans defense has really improved. They played with reckless aggression and blitzed often, getting Schaub out of his comfort zone. 8 didn’t handle it well, throwing two reallllly ugly picks – the last of which would likely have cost them the game against a team with a real QB.
Luckily…Jake Locker exists.
I’ll give the Texans’ lovable portly kicker this: it ain’t easy kicking in Reliant Stadium (Just ask Adam Vinatieri in 2003 who was and 3-5 in the regular season against the Texans then 1-3 in Super Bowl 38). Those grass palettes create awkward divots in the field. Kicking field goals from 45 yards plus is no easy task either.
But this is the NFL. And Bullock has golden sombrero’d his first four career kicks from long range (51 against the Chargers, 50, 50, 46 Sunday). That’s not good. The ‘Bama Bro has a bombastic boot…something his predecessor Shayne Graham did not. Still, old Shayne was at least accurate.
I’ll give Bullock some more time. Still, it’s only a matter of time though before his Ray Finkles could bite the Texans in the ass. And if they do, we’ll all sound like this pathetic kid:
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