What a way to win a game...
The Texans lost Matt Leinart to a broken collarbone Sunday, but managed to win the game with a great defensive performance.Before we start getting sad about how bad the second half was, what with all its punting, let's take a moment to praise the defense.
Do you know what a high motor player looks like? J.J. Watt. He was all over the field in this game, making tackles downfield, pressuring the quarterback through sheer bull force. He and Connor Barwin both had excellent games, as Barwin pushed his sack total to a team-leading 8 1/2. Watt also had two sacks, giving him 4 1/2 for the season while Brooks Reed had one, giving him six for the season.
Those six sacks also gives Reed the Texans' rookie record by a good margin. It wasn't exactly hard, as Amobi Okoye set the record back in 2007 with 5 1/2. But, it's still a heck of an accomplishment and means that the Texans have gotten 11 sacks out of that positon (counting Mario's five).
Johnathan Joseph also joins a group of seven Texan players with at least four interceptions in a season. Marcus Coleman holds the record with seven back in 2003 and only three players have more than four picks in a season (Aaron Glenn, Dunta Robinson and Coleman). All that talk about what a good investment Joseph has been is right on the money. He's been everything Houston could have wanted at corner, including being healthy so far.
Now for the bad part. With Leinart out of the game, Houston's offense stagnated. The running game couldn't get going. Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels were insignificant and T.J. Yates looked tentative in the pass rush.
It's hard to evaluate Yates based on what we saw, because we didn't see down the field enough. Only one shot I saw in the game broadcast showed another receiver besides the one Yates threw to. It had him immediately going to Foster in the flats instead of seeing an open Daniels over the middle. Is it enough to think he was out of his league? Not really, but it was not the best showing. There was a reason Kubiak was calling so many running plays. There is only so much coaching you can do during a game.
The running game was also minimized, but the Jags did the same thing in the first meeting. Having no quarterback made it possible to stack the box heavily, slowing down what Foster and Tate could do. But, Jacksonville's depleted defense still did a good job of stopping the run when they knew it was coming.
If the Texans want to continue winning, they need to get the running game rolling each week. They also need Andre Johnson to make the passing game work, but that means finding a QB who can get him the ball. That didn't look to be T.J. Yates, which means (God help me), maybe a return to Sage Rosenfels...