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Texans quarterback Matt Schaub lost a piece of his ear when Broncos linebacker Joe Mays hit him on Sunday. Now, Mays will miss a game and $50,000.
Texans looked great despite a late game scare
Though the Texans escaped without any major injuries, quarterback Matt Schaub took a beating -- including a scary roughing the passer penalty that induced helmet-to-helmet contact that forced Schaub's helmet off of his head. Schaub went down to the ground, putting both his hands on his head, in what looked like a potentially very scary scene.
Schaub, though, missed only one play, and returned to action.
After the contest, Schaub had his left (non-throwing) shoulder x-rayed, and everything turned out to be "fine."
Schaub also finished the game without all of his ear, as one of the hits Schaub suffered caused part of Schaub's ear to detach from the rest of it, causing him to bleed.
For more on the Houston Texans, check out Battle Red Blog.
Houston pulled out a 31-25 win over the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field on Sunday. They put together a big lead early in the game as the Broncos offense struggled, going into the fourth quarter with a 20 point lead on their hands.
Of course, when the opposing quarterback is Peyton Manning and you're the Texans, you can never be too sure. There was a bit of that fear going into Battle Red Blog during the fourth quarter, and they'll admit to it:
I have to say, despite the thorough domination they demonstrated through three-plus quarters, I had a moment of fear creep in. I would be lying if I did not say that tinge of fear did not creep in when Peyton Manning was mounting a furious comeback. We have all seen it happen before. That legendary blue 18 leading a comeback as we finally thought we had slain the beast. Even though he is not the same 18, I still hold him in high regard...especially when it comes to ruining my Sundays.
Fortunately for Houston, nothing came out of Denver's attempted comeback for the second week in a row.
Schaub connected with Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and Kevin Walter for touchdowns in the first half, and found Owen Daniels for a second-half score. Schaub completed passes to eight different receivers in the balanced effort.
Schaub's pass to Daniels gave the Texans a 20-point lead, but the Broncos came storming back, picking up two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Peyton Manning hit Brandon Stokley with a 38-yard strike just over five minutes into the quarter. Then, Manning found former Texan Joel Dreessen for a 6-yard score on Denver's next possession.
Houston would bear down and salt the game away on their final possession, as Schaub hooked up with Johnson for a key first down, which allowed the Texans to run the clock down to 33 seconds before having to punt the ball back to Denver.
Peyton Manning threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns and Eric Decker caught eight balls for 136 yards in the losing effort.
Schaub overcame an interception and quite a bit of pressure from the Denver defensive line to throw for 290 yards and four touchdowns.
With Denver playing from behind for the entire second half, Willis McGahee didn't see much action. He carried the ball just 12 times for 36 yards.
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Did They Cover?
The Broncos were favored by a point, and that would have come to fruition had they been able to score on the final drive. But, the Texans win here, as well as in the game.
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This story was originally published at SBNation.com.
The Houston Texans lead the Denver Broncos, 31-11, after three quarters at Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colo. Texans tight end Owen Daniels caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Schaub with a minute and a half left in the quarter to put Houston up by 20.
The defenses set the tone for the majority of the quarter, as the only scoring until the final couple of minutes came from a Houston field goal, which was aided by a Denver pass interference penalty. However, the Texans broke through on their final drive of the quarter. Schaub connected with Lestar Jean for a 46-yard gain, then found Daniels streaking toward the endzone two plays later.
Schaub has thrown for 274 yards and four touchdowns thus far. Meanwhile, the Texans have held Peyton Manning to a sub-50 percent completion rate.
The Broncos have the ball at the Houston 47 yard line as the fourth quarter begins.
The Houston Texans hold a 21-11 halftime lead over the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colo. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 199 yards and three touchdowns in the opening half.
Schaub and the Texans got off to a bit of a rough start, as the quarterback was sacked in his own endzone by Denver's Elvis Dumervil just a minute and a half into the game, giving the Broncos a quick 2-0 lead. They were able to tack on a field goal after getting a short field off of the ensuing free kick, but after that is when the Texans began to take over.
Houston needed only three plays to take the lead, as Schaub capped off a quick 80-yard drive with a 60-yard touchdown strike to Andre Johnson. Then, after forcing the Broncos to punt, the Texans embarked on a massive 14-play, 97-yard drive which culminated with another scoring pass from Schaub, this time to Arian Foster. The Texans wasted no time putting their third touchdown on the board, as Schaub found Kevin Walter for a 52-yard score following a Denver three-and-out.
Denver would settle for a Matt Prater field goal at the end of the ensuing drive, which occurred with just under six minutes left in the half. Then, after Schaub threw an interception as the Texans were driving into Denver territory, the Broncos tacked an another field goal with one second remaining in the half.
Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno is on the inactive list for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans. This means rookie running back Ronnie Hillman could see his first NFL action with Moreno out.
Not that Moreno has done much for the Broncos this season, with just 15 yards on eight carries in two games. But he was named the Broncos' No. 2 running back behind Willis McGahee earlier this season, though his fumble last week against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football may have factored into the rookie replacing him this week.
This post was originally published on SBNation.com.
For the second straight week the Denver Broncos are going to be without starting right guard Chris Kuper. Kuper has a forearm injury that has been bothering him for awhile, and the injury did not allow him to practice all week.
Starting linebacker Von Miller was bothered by a hip injury and was limited in Wednesday's practice, but he was able to fully go Thursday and Friday, and he will be good to go on Sunday. Cornerback Tracy Porter was listed on the injury list with a neck injury, but he was able to practice all week and is listed as probable on against the Houston Texans on Sunday.
There are some starters on the injury report such as linebackers Brian Cushing, Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed, as well as defensive back Johnathan Joseph. Guard Antoine Caldwell was listed on the injury report with an ankle injury.
All of those players were able to fully participate in practice on Friday, and are probable when they take on the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
The Houston Texans head to Mile High on Sunday to take on the 1-1 Denver Broncos, after a two rather easy wins against Miami and Jacksonville. Si.com's Peter King expects the Broncos to pose a much tougher test for the Texans, although one that Houston should be able to overcome in what he thinks will be a 23-20 win for the visiting team.
The deciding factor in this game, according to King, will once again be Peyton Manning's decision making. The veteran quarterback threw three interceptions in the first quarter in Monday night's loss to the Atlanta Falcons, and many who had such high hopes for the Broncos began to doubt.
It's not Peyton Manning's arm strength that cost him a victory Monday night, and it won't cost him this game either. It's his decision-making at a time in his life when he doesn't have the arm he did three or four years ago. He can't go sailing the ball down the deep seam hoping Marvin Harrison's going to come flying out of nowhere and pluck the ball away from a corner. He needs to use his tight ends on shorter throws and be a chain-mover, not a mad bomber. Even if he does that in this game, the pressure he'll face from the Texans -- from Connor Barwin, Brooks Read and J.J. Watt, mostly -- will be more than enough to throw him off his game.
The Texans defense has allowed just 17 points total in the first two games of the season and will once again be a tough test for Manning and the Broncos, who had to face the Steelers and Falcons in their first two contests of the year.
Kickoff is set for 3:25 p.m. CT with coverage on CBS.
Big test for the Texans, will they pass?
Expert picks for Sunday's game between the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt terrorized the Jacksonville Jaguars in his team's 27-7 win last Sunday. For his 1.5-sack, five-tackle (two for loss), two-knockdown and a fumble recovery performance, Watt was awarded the AFC Defensive Player of the Week honor on Wednesday. The second-year Wisconsin product had this to say about the recognition:
"It’s crazy. I was delivering pizzas four or five years ago, and now I get awards like this," Watt said. "It’s unbelievable to me. I’m honored to have the award, but it’s a lot cooler for everybody else that helped get me here."
Watt gets his first crack at perennial Texans nemesis Peyton Manning this Sunday in Reliant Stadium. He's already said that he wants to add Manning to his "sack list."
The Texans (2-0) will play Manning and the Denver Broncos (1-1) on Sunday coming off a win over the Jaguars in which Houston dominated possession time with a ground-control attack. The Texans' defense was able to allow a mere nine first downs to the Jaguars while only being on the field for 38 plays.
In fact, Houston leads the NFL through two weeks in time of possession, holding the ball for 39 minutes a game. Denver, meanwhile, is near the bottom of the league. The Broncos rank 28th out of 32 teams in time of possession, holding the ball for only 26:08 per game through two weeks.
Will Matt Schaub rebound from a bad fantasy game?
Houston Texans linebacker and special teams captain Tim Dobbins sat out practice on Wednesday as he nurses a hamstring injury, according to a report by Nick Scurfield of the team's website.
Dobbins' status for Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos will likely come down to a game-time decision, head coach Gary Kubiak said. He suffered the injury in Houston's 27-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2.
One of the Texans' better special teams contributors, Dobbins is tied for the team lead with three tackles in kick and punt coverage this season. Additionally, he was named Houston's special teams player of the game in Week 2 for his work against the Jaguars.
Although Dobbins has started strong, the Texans' special teams unit as a whole ranks 28th in the league in punt return yards allowed on average, 23rd in kickoff return average and tied for 21st in kickoff return average allowed.
Following his three interception performance on Monday night, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is having his arm strength called into question as the opportunistic Houston Texans defense awaits on Sunday.
Manning and his fellow Broncos have been fielding questions not only about the quarterback's ability to go downfield with the ball, but also the not-so-pretty look of his passes, according to an article by Mike Klis of The Denver Post. Klis notes that the three picks against the Atlanta Falcons weren't exactly the cause for concern so much as the fact that "they wobbled."
While still rehabbing from multiple neck surgeries, the 36-year-old Manning has the support of his teammates, including wide receiver Brandon Stokley.
From the report:
No one talked about arm strength after the Pittsburgh game. I'm telling you, in here, it's not even a topic of discussion. It's the last thing on our minds.
The Texans are tied for eighth in the league so far with three total interceptions. Additionally, they've racked up six total sacks through two games while allowing only a league-best 8.5 points per game.
For the first time this year, the Houston Texans opened as underdogs, albeit a slight one, as the team is taking on the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. However, even that did not last long, as the line has now moved from anywhere between two to four points, making Houston the favorites against Denver.
The total points scored for this matinee opened up at 46.5 points, but has dropped between 0.5 points to 1.0 points. An interesting number, given the amount of offensive fire power each team possesses. The Texans have averaged 28.5 points per game this season while the Broncos have averaged 26.
The Texans have been favorites in both of their games this season, with the team hosting the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 and traveling to Florida to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2. Houston has not only covered both games, but have been able to win each of the two games by a large margin.
For all of the odds on this week's NFL games and all kinds of other sports, check out Odds Shark. For more on the Texans, check out Battle Red Blog and get all your Broncos news and talk at Mile High Report.
The Houston Chronicle likens Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller to Houston Texans star J.J. Watt in terms of how disruptive they can be to opposing offenses. Miller, a former first-round pick from Texas A&M, and the Broncos host Watt and the Texans on Sunday.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak said the Texans had Miller listed very high on their board going into the 2011 draft:
"We thought the world of him," coach Gary Kubiak said about the Texans scouting of Miller. "We had him up there as high as any player. He's a playmaker."
Miller had 11.5 sacks and won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2011.
"The best thing he does is get after the quarterback," Kubiak said. "And he's been exceptional.
"They're playing him a little bit everywhere. He plays different linebacker spots. He's roaming around. He's a guy that they're going to find a way to get free in their defense."
Peyton Manning has seen his share of the Houston Texans over the years, having quarterbacked the perennial AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts for so long. However, after a year out of the game and now with a new team, Manning will see an almost entirely different set of Texans defenders come gametime Sunday in Denver.
Only Bradie James among current Houston starting defensive players has seen action against Manning, and that was in 2010 when James was with the Cowboys. Even Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was not with the Cowboys at that time. He started, but didn't finish, the season as the Cowboys' head coach.
As the Houston Chronicle points out, this different set of faces against Manning almost makes the fact that the Texans have never beaten Manning on the road basically irrelevant.
The Houston Texans rewarded strength and conditioning coach Cedric Smith with a game ball following the team's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2, a testament to how healthy the team has been so far this season.
Smith is a former NFL fullback who directs the team's strength and conditioning program year-round. The Texans escaped the game with Jacksonville with no major injuries. Players attest to Smith's worth:
"He's somebody that makes us fight every day to be stronger, get faster," left tackle Duane Brown said. "Houston is not the easiest place to practice in, and he does a great job of making us fight through the weather, fight through the elements, and we're stronger because of it. To come into today's climate, it was extremely hot, run 85 plays on offense, have a 17-play drive and still play at a high level and not slack off at all... that's a testament to the hard work that he put us through."
As complete as the Houston Texans have looked while starting out 2-0 on the 2012 NFL season, one area of concern as the team prepares to travel to face the Denver Broncos in Week 3 is penalties.
The Texans had 10 penalties for 64 yards in their win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2, really the only glaring negative to speak of. Many of those penalties came on special teams. Houston was penalized three times for 32 yards on six punt returns.
"Special-teams wise, we've got some issues with penalties, and we had too many penalties in the game," Gary Kubiak told the team's official website.
With 14 penalties through two games, the Texans are in the top 10 in the NFL, though their 99 penalty yards are middle of the pack and tied for 16th.
The Houston Texans face their old division foe Peyton Manning on Sunday when they travel to Mile High to face the Denver Broncos. The Texans will be seeking their first 3-0 start in franchise history.
The Broncos (1-1) will be on a short week after losing Monday night on the road to the Atlanta Falcons. The Texans (2-0) are coming off two easy wins over the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars to start the season. The matchup against playoff-hopeful Denver will provide a much better barometer as to what kind of team the defending AFC South champions have in 2012. Sunday's game will kick off at 3:25 p.m. and be televised by CBS.
Here's the rest of the Week 3 slate. All times are CT. Check out the rest of the schedule on SI.com:
Thursday, Sept. 20
Sunday, Sept. 23
Lions at Titans, noon, FOX
Jaguars at Colts, noon, CBS
Jets at Dolphins, noon, CBS
Falcons at Chargers, 3:05 p.m., FOX
Texans at Broncos, 3:25 p.m., CBS
Monday, Sept. 24
For most of their existence, the Houston Texans were a middling team so it's not a surprise that they've never managed to start a season 3-0 before. Now, they're considered one of the best in the league and perhaps a Super Bowl contender, while getting another chance at going 3-0 for the first time in franchise history when they play the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Interestingly, the Texans have never won the third game of any season with Gary Kubiak as their head coach. Facing off against Peyton Manning, who has traditionally done very well against the Texans after years in Indianapolis, will make it a very tough challenge as well. If there was ever a team to go 3-0 in Texans history, it would be the solid squad that has been showing up so far in 2012.
It's not often one sees a right guard player rotation in the NFL.
For Texans coach Gary Kubiak, it's something rookie RG Ben Jones has earned.
Splitting time with Antoine Caldwell, Jones got 32 snaps in Houston's Week 2 win over Jacksonville.
"First off, Ben has been playing very good, showing a lot of signs," Kubiak told the Houston Chronicle. "You suit seven linemen on game day. We felt like he deserved an opportunity to get a few series and see if we continue to see his progress as a player and we did. He played good."
The strategy itself could work out. After all, defensive linemen rotate, offensive linemen are subjected to the same wear and tear, and keeping them fresh could help a run-oriented, time-of-possession team like the Texans.
The stats certainly don't show any issue with it. Through two games, the Texans are 2-0 and are averaging 28.5 points a game. They've rushed for 149.5 yards, sixth-best in the NFL.
In his latest power rankings, Joel Thorman of SB Nation comes just short of crowning the Houston Texans as the NFL's best team.
Different city, different team, same nemesis
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