Though it wasn't a pretty win, the Houston Texans still won on Sunday night, defeating the Chicago Bears 13-6 on Sunday Night Football.
As the score suggests, Houston's defense was dominant in the game, limiting the Bears to just six points. However, Chicago's backup quarterback Jason Campbell played the entire second half, after starting quarterback Jay Cutler left with a concussion.
The folks at Battle Red Blog, SB Nation's Houston Texans blog, noted that Houston's defense two years would have been incapable of games like Sunday night's.
Two years ago, the Bears would have exploited those runs up the middle all day long to the tune of 150 yards. Jay Cutler (or even my terrible cousin, Jason Campbell) would have picked the Texans' D apart on that last drive. Jesse Nading would have been involved, most likely in covering Matt Forte out of the backfield, which would have been good for tearful laughs as we kicked our pets and spouses.
But, as the calendar will confirm, this ain't two years ago. This is 2012, where your Texans are tied with the Falcons for the best record in the NFL.
Formerly the Achilles heel of the team, the Texans' defensive unit has blossomed into one of the league's best, capable of shutting down even the most prolific offensive attacks in the NFL.
With an 8-1 record, elite defense, and the top point differential in the entire AFC, it looks like the Texans have emerged as the AFC's team to beat -- and much of the credit certainly belongs to Wade Phillips' defense.