Defense carries the load in a clinching victory
It wasn't a perfect effort on Sunday, but a performance that proved once again that the Texans are capable of winning games without playing their 'A' game. The offense had a down game, but the defense made plays all day long and kept the Titans from ever becoming a serious threat. As you know, with the win over Tennessee, the Texans clinched a playoff spot and can now focus on wrapping up home field advantage. The Texans already own the tiebreaker over Denver and Baltimore and are up on both teams by three games with only four to go; the Patriots are the only threat to possibly steal the number one seed. If the Texans beat New England next Monday, we'll be able to start talking about how or if they should rest their starters during the remainder of the regular season.
This should probably have been a 'C', but I'm going to grade them on a curve because they realized by halftime that the Titans were hopeless on offense and their game plan shifted to milking the clocking and not taking risks instead of trying to score on every drive. I would have liked them to be a little more aggressive, but it wasn't necessary to win this game and they knew that. Arian Foster rushed for just 38 yards, but Justin Forsett stepped his game up and helped pick up the slack. Matt Schaub was a bit under his season completion percentage, but I believe he could have thrown for well over 300 yards again if they needed that type of performance. The biggest question for their offense going forward is the health of their offensive line which came into the season missing both starters from the right side, came into Sunday's game missing both new starters on the right side, and saw their third right tackle Ryan Harris get hurt during the game.
Six sacks, six sacks; a pretty dominate effort. It wasn't a perfect effort but it was more than enough to beat Tennessee. The Titans dropped a lot of passes and Jake Locker didn't play very well; things that probably won't happen next week against the Patriots or in the playoffs in January. Getting five sacks outside of J.J. Watt was an encouraging sign, but most of that came off Locker holding on to the ball too long and running himself into pressure when he got happy feet. I know that sounds like nitpicking, but they are issues that need to be fixed before they're exposed by better teams.