The whiners will be out in force all week, because that was NOT a pretty game, and yes – there are a lot of issues the Texans need to deal with.
But that was exactly the kind of grind-it-out gutsy performance that we as Texans fans are simply not familiar with. The Texans were in a struggle today. They battled injuries, sloppy secondary play, a sputtering red zone offense, and well – Brandon Marshall – to pull out a workman-like victory.
I wasn’t all that concerned at halftime. I figured the Dolphins’ defense would wear down in the second half, and that’s exactly what happened. Unfortunately, the Texans’ offensive line looked worn out as well. But in the final quarter, this team – who some consider to be soft, or a finesse team – took the football, grabbed the Dolphins’ defense by their collective collar, and stuffed the football down their throats until it choked them out.
The offensive line – seemingly exhausted in pass protection – dug deep and BRUTALIZED the Dolphins’ run defense in the last ten minutes of the game. It was an impressive display, especially considering how the emotional momentum of the game swung HEAVILY in Miami’s favor in the second half.
I know it’s a cliché, but if ANY win in the NFL is a tough win, then any ROAD win in the NFL is golden, even if the Dolphins have been garbage at home.
Speaking of garbage – let’s talk about Reggie Bush. I don’t know who is more addicted to the uber-pure, ultra-potent meth – Reggie Bush for thinking he’s an every-down, between-the-tackles NFL running back, or the people who continue to play Reggie Bush as an every-down, between-the-tackles NFL running back. Well, I guess the answer is the former, because today the Dolphins figured out what EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE FOOTBALL UNIVERSE ALREADY KNEW AS AN UNDISPUTED FACT – and put the Bust on the bench.
Houston did get gashed in the running game against Miami once they put a non-Reggie Bush running back in the game. It’s definitely something to be concerned about. As I’ve said before, I’m worried about our inside linebacker crew – both starters, and especially depth.
Brian Cushing actually looked pretty good out there today. He led the team in tackles, and made a critical stop of Chad Henne to force a Dolphin punt late in the game. Henne looked woozy, and I’m not sure he knew exactly where he was afterward. Love to see that out of Cushing, but I’m sure when I watch the game a second time I’ll see Cush getting beaten in the run game… but probably not as badly as…. OH it hurts to say this…
DeMeco Ryans. He looked slow, he missed tackles – ugh. The Texans went out of their way to try and convince us that Owen Daniels wasn’t himself last year because he wasn’t totally back from his injury. Can they now somehow convince us that the same doesn’t apply to DeMeco, because I truly HOPE that’s what the problem is. It’s too early to panic on DeMeco. Let’s not forget it’s a new defense to him, and he didn’t get any preseason reps. But yeah – Houston’s ILB play against the run is a concern, and it’s not like the team has great depth at the position.
So Mario Williams is pretty good. No sacks today, but he most definitely had a very positive impact on the game. He directly caused the interception by Johnathan Joseph that led to a Matt Schaub to Owen Daniels TD pass. He was consistently double-teamed, especially in the second half. He opened up chances for other players to get pressure on the QB. Jake Long certainly got the best of Mario for parts of the game, but the point is – as an OLB, Mario is trending UP. He’s not trending down, and he’s not leveled-out.
There’s a report out there that Kareem Jackson didn’t start due to disciplinary reasons. Funny, I thought it might have had more to do with “he is terrible” reasons, but the blind squirrel did put his helmet on a nut today, and forced a turnover for the Texans. Great job, Kareem. Predictably AWFUL outside of that one play.
Our shiny new CB Johnathan Joseph notched his first interception as a Texan on the aforementioned Mario QB hit, then our collective hearts sunk as he headed to the bench with what looked like some kind of ankle injury. Luckily for my blood pressure, he returned to the game and appears to be fine. Jason Allen got embarrassed out there against Brandon Marshall, but that’s the fault of whoever had him in single coverage against Marshall. Come ON, guys. How many corners in the entire LEAGUE can handle Marshall one on one?
Big win by the Texans. Ugly or not, who cares. A ten-point road win in the NFL is nothing to sneeze at. It’s going to take a hell of performance to get out of New Orleans with a win, so it’s good to have two wins in the pocket.
Offensive Player of the Game
Ben Tate. No doubt about it. Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub had good games too, but you have to give it to Tate, who got the TOUGH yards near the end of the game, even when the Dolphins new he was getting the ball on every snap.
Defensive Player of the Game
Mario Williams. Not a dominant performance by any stretch – but he caused an interception-turned-touchdown, and got good pressure on the QB while commanding double teams.
Play of the Game
I have to go back to that stop of Chad Henne by Cushing. It killed Miami’s momentum and forced them to punt while deep in their own territory. Hustle play by Cushing, who delivered a thunderous hit that I’m sure had Henne’s mother cringing.