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Reflections On The Texans Divison-Clinching Win Over Cincinnati

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It was a great feeling, finally seeing the Texans clinch a division title and earn the first playoff spot in team history. So, where do they go from here? Let's talk about a few things that stood out in the 20-19 comeback victory.

  • First of all, this was all about T.J. Yates and that glorious drive in the clutchest of clutch moments. Yates was patient, didn't try to force the ball where it wasn't working and got some huge help from his receivers. The catches that Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter made saved that drive as much as Yates' throws.
  • But, his run for the first down was even a bigger part of the drive. He wasn't exactly Mr. Nimble back there in avoiding the pass rush, but Yates did look a good deal more mobile than Matt Schaub. It's not saying much, but it's a very promising start.
  • Oh, and then the pass in the end zone? Just a great play call. They broke it down during the game, but the takeaway meant that a lot of time had been put in to seeing just how the Bengals play goal line situations and knowing they'd drop into a zone. Whatever Kubiak's faults as a coach, he's a heck of an offensive mind.
  • Amid all the happiness, of course the Texans needed a bit of a downer. We found out Monday that Mike Brisiel is out with a broken fibula. That promotes Andre Caldwell to starter, but how will it affect the Texans running game? Those false starts two weeks ago were pretty bad, but Brisiel has done a good job on the best line in football. His absence will be felt.
  • The Bengals defense has been up and down this season. They looked very good early in the season, but have been on a downward slide. But, they did an excellent job of closing down Arian Foster. Tate was able to make some traction and overall, the running game put up decent numbers. However, the biggest problem is that the Bengals shut down the run and made Yates beat them. He did that, but it was not the smoothest this offense has run. Unfortunately, the Texans won't have a true test on defense until Week 17 against the Titans.
  • Danieal Manning also had some trouble matching up with Jermaine Gresham and Glover Quin looked out of place for the first time in games. Add that to a missed tackle by Brian Cushing on that long Benson run and the Texans defense looked sloppier overall than it has in quite a while.
  • Johnathan Joseph also had some trouble working against A.J. Green, but it was more about his size than anything. Joseph was in good position quite a few times, but Green's size and body control on those jumps were a big difference. I came away from this one very impressed with the rookie receiver.
  • Alas, Derrick Mason will no longer be running routes for the Texans. The venerable receiver had two crucial drops against Cincy and hasn't been open very often in his time in Houston. It'll be interesting to see who Houston replaces him with. Maybe Jeff Maehl is ready to come off the practice squad...

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