SB Nation Houston
Stay connected for news and updates Follow @sbnhouston
Like us to subscribe
Kubiak: Hoping Ben Tate is ready by end of week. We've been hit pretty hard at RB position. I have confidence in people we have there.
Obviously the "confidence" Kubiak speaks of is the reemergence of Pittsburgh Steelers. Although Foster is back to his normal form, who else is there to back him up when he needs a blow? Unproven second-year tailback Chris Ogbonnaya (who was quite impressive this pre-season) is slated to step in next if Foster goes down, after that veteran Derrick Ward was listed on the injury report with issues with his ankle and shoulder. Maybe releasing Steve Slaton wasn't such a good idea?, as he ran for 155 yards and the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter with a 42-yard run versus the
Houston hosts the Oakland Raiders next Sunday at Reliant Stadium at 1pm. The Oakland Raiders have the 29th-ranked rushing defense.
Earlier, SB Nation Houston reported that Texans' head coach Gary Kubiak stated that the team wouldn't speculate as to Johnson's availability for this Sunday's game versus Oakland until further tests were conducted. After today's press conference, Kubiak's message seems to be that something is definitely wrong:
Kubiak: Team, Johnson want 2nd opinion so everyone understands what's going on moving forward. Doesn't know if it's torn, strained, etc.
What was obvious after Johnson's injury was that the Texans' offense didn't seem quite as in sync as it did with Johnson in the fray, and there's no one on the planet who can replace what Andre Johnson brings to the Texans. The Texans fortunate enough to get Arian Foster rolling against a normally stout Pittsburgh Steelers defense, (although news is unclear to the pending health of Ben Tate) Houston will need someone to step up in the absence of Johnson.
According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Houston Texas RB Ben Tate will undergo tests today to determine the severity of a groin injury that knocked him out of yesterday's victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on the first play of the game.
In talking with the newspaper, Tate didn't seem too concerned about the injury:
"It was a small pop. I don't think it's that bad at all. We'll go to the doctors and see what's going on."
If Tate is out for any extended period of time, it will be another blow to the Texans' depleted corps of running backs. Tate had been filling in admirably for the injured Arian Foster, who returned yesterday after missing last week's game with a hamstring injury.
Was it just my imagination or did the Steelers have the ball for the entire third quarter? I think the Texans were lucky to only be tied right now instead of down. If they had gotten any offensive production at all in the third, this would be a totally different story.
Since Andre Johnson left with the injury, Pittsburgh has outgained Houston 209-32. You're not going to win many NFL games with numbers like that. Last week, Matt Schaub showed the Texans can come back when needed, as they scored that late touchdown to Kevin Walter to take back the lead. However, without Dre...
The Texans really need to come out in the fourth quarter and sustain a drive. That'll give the defense a chance to rest and eat up some of the clock. Both of those things are going to be important to this quarter. I'm just hoping Houston can end up on the right side of this game, but I'm afraid they're going to rely too much on the run without Johnson and it appears Pittsburgh has figured out how to stop Foster.
After the Steelers put together their first good drive of the game, the Texans decided to deny them any points. After getting a stop on third down, Roethlisberger decided to try and draw the Texans offsides. When that didn't work, he let the clock run down and called a timeout.
That set up a chip shot of a field gaol, which Houston promptly blocked to preserve the shutout. The increasingly important Johnathan Joseph came up with the ball, but a dumb block in the back by Danieal Manning negated the return for a touchdown and, with the clock expiring, the Texans didn't get another play. It was yet another damaging penalty in a half full of them for Houston.
Let's take a quick look at the numbers:
What a difference a healthy Arian Foster makes in this offense. After struggling to get yards in the red zone last week, the Texans just carved up the Steelers defense with Foster, who consistently bounced off tacklers and made savvy runs to put them in position to score early.
That touchdown was a sign of how dangerous Foster and the running game can be, as the Texans pulled off a beautiful run fake, leaving Owen Daniels wide open for the short touchdown. Foster already has 69 rushing yards while Daniels has three catches for 30 yards.
Those penalties have still hurt Houston as holding calls and an especially ill-timed illegal contact call kept the Steelers first drive alive, even after Connor Barwin came up with a strip sack of Ben Roethlisberger. As expected, Wade's defense has been able to put consistent pressure on Big Ben and has done an especially great job of bottling up Rashad Mendenhall to this point.
Lots of game left to play, but so far, the only team beating the Texans is themselves.
Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.