HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – The Texans allowed their starters and many of their primary starters to take the night off while the backups pulled off a 28-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings during Thursday’s preseason finale at Reliant Stadium.
The Texans rested their starters up for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against Miami.
That allowed a few of the reserves who were on the bubble to make their cases while it gave some other reserves who may be counted on this season an opportunity for extended playing time. Third string quarterback John Beck showed that he will be able to move the ball effectively in an offense he is familiar with having come over from the Washington Redskins.
Rookie outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus displayed signs of being the dominant pass rusher the Texans envisioned when they took in the first round out of April’s NFL Draft. He recorded a sack and two quarterback hurries in his most extensive playing time this preseason.
But the night belonged to return specialist Trindon Holliday, who again electrified the stadium with a spectacular 76-yard punt return in the third quarter. It was the third time in four preseason games Holliday returned either a punt or kickoff for a touchdown, making it justifiable for the Texans to keep the 5-foot-5 receiver around exclusively as a special teams player.
Here is a look at the overall night for the Texans.
Who Did Well: If veteran running back Justin Forsett didn’t solidify his spot as the Texans third tailback in the previous three preseason games he certainly did during Thursday’s preseason finale. Forsett ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries while average 8.8 yards per rush.
Returner Trindon Holliday also had another impressive night, returning a punt 76 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. It was the third time in four preseason games that Holliday scored a touchdown on either a kickoff or punt return.
Rookie first round pick outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus put forth a strong performance rushing the passer, finishing the night with four tackles, one sack and two quarterback hurries in his most extensive action this preseason.
Who Struggled: Rookie quarterback Case Keenum didn’t get much of an opportunity to show off his throwing ability, but even when the all-time NCAA passing leader did not much happened. Keenum completed just 5 of 10 passes for 43 yards. The former University of Houston standout was waved Friday and re-signed to the Texans practice squad on Saturday.
The Texans defense – this time the backups — continued to show signs of struggling against the run again this preseason. Vikings backup Jordan Todman led the ground attack with 114 yards on 10 carries, which included a 76-yard touchdown run that pulled the Vikings within four points of the lead in the fourth quarter. Minnesota rushed for 245 yards while averaging 8.2 yards per carry on 30 rushing attempts, which is highly unacceptable for Wade Phillips defense.
Standout Players: After going largely unnoticed this preseason, rookie receiver DeVier Posey finally had a chance to show what he can do. The third-round draft pick out of Ohio State led all receivers with two catches for 93 yards, which included a spectacular 80-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Posey, who was thrown to four times, did fumble away his second reception of the game in the fourth quarter.
Veteran free agent John Beck showed that he is the logical choice as the No.3 quarterback with an impressive first half performance. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 149 yards and an 80-yard touchdown pass while guiding the Texans on two touchdown drives during the first two quarters.
Injuries: Veteran tackle Rashad Butler was lost for the season during Thursday night’s game when he suffered a torn tricep muscle. Butler had recently lost the battle for the starting right tackle spot, but he was expected to add depth along the offensive line. His injury led to the signing of veteran tackle Ryan Harris on Sunday.
Interesting Stat: The Texans averaged 5.8 yards per carry on the night while the Vikings averaged 8.2 per rushing attempt.
Who’s Up Next: All of the pretend and auditioning is over. The Texans begin playing football for keeps when the NFL season gets going in earnest Sunday. The Miami Dolphins and their rookie quarterback and ex-Texas A&M Aggie Ryan Tannehill visit Reliant Stadium to kickoff the 2012 season.