How about Gary Kubiak lighting his guys up on the sideline!? Cue people saying “he should do that all the time!!” Guess what, when you do it all the time – it doesn’t work. (By the way, the best thing about that picture – the look on Jacoby Jones’ face in the upper left corner.) Anyway, so that was just about the most exhausting win I’ve ever had to endure as a football fan.
Incredible highs: The blocked field goal/TD return at the end of the first half. The interception return/TD at the end of the game.
Incredible lows: The penalties that wiped out both of those plays, and of course – watching Andre Johnson fall to the ground in agony without being touched by a defender is like being a real life victim in the movie “SAW” (or having to watch one of the sequels).
If you read the game preview/Q&A at the Steeler blog I linked earlier today, you’ll see it pretty much was as simple as I made it out to be. The Texans got to the QB – and the Texans won. Simple, right? Hardly. I feel like I need an IV.
The Texans started the game with a dream scenario. A huge 19 play, 95-yard, 11 minute drive that was was INCREDIBLE to watch. They slapped the Steelers all over the field on that drive with ease. So much for the Texans being physically soft.
Following that, we were reminded that Arian Foster is pretty good. Some of us didn’t need to be reminded, but I’m sure those of you who thought Tate was at least close to Foster will step slowly back into the shadows now. Foster, who claimed in an postgame interview that he has three lungs, carried 30 times for 155 yards, including a 42-yard TD run. Tack on three catches for 11 yards as well. How great a feeling was it to see Foster out there running free, making HARD cuts, and showing NO hesitation whatsoever?
Andre’s injury is terrifying. It looks like the best case scenario at this point is that he misses a few weeks, but I’m still afraid the actual scenario is going to play out worse. He is apparently having an MRI on Sunday night, so hopefully we will know more on Monday.
Without Andre Johnson, you could already see the safeties playing up more than they usually would. Losing Andre is a season-changer, even if he only misses a couple of games. There’s just so much more you can do with Andre than without him. That said, if the Texans can lean on Foster as much as they did today, they may be able to weather the storm until 80 comes back.
I have seen a LOT of angry people regarding the two wiped out Johnathan Joseph touchdowns. Here’s how I see them:
On the blocked field goal – the idiot refs never named who the penalty was against. It was assumed to be Danieal Manning, but on the replay you can also see Brian Cushing laying a guy out 20 yards behind the play, and kinda sorta on the side/in the back. If the flag was on Cushing – it seemed to be the right call, unless there’s a stipulation saying that refs shouldn’t throw the flag if it does not affect the play. If the flag was on Manning, then yes – it wasn’t a “good” call, but it was close enough that I can see why the refs threw the flag. I mean, it was the punter. He was behind JOHNATHAN JOSEPH. He wasn’t going to catch Joseph, and Manning should have known that.
On the JJ Watt play – seeing a replay online, he got pushed into the quarterback’s legs, period. My first reaction to it was “correct call, horrible rule.” But seeing the replay – he didn’t “hit the QB low,” he instead got shoved into the QB’s legs. Bad call… and it robbed Joseph of what could have been his second defensive touchdown of the day.
Jason Allen did make two big plays in today’s game. Obviously the game-clinching interception was huge, and he had that HUGE jarring hit that kept Hines Ward from making a key catch. Unfortunately for most of the rest of the game, it seemed to me that he was getting killed out there. The pass rush was SO good in this game, however, that it ended up not being an issue (barely). Allen should absolutely start whether or not Kareem Jackson is healthy (sincerely – last season), and I think it may turn out that way… but let’s not get crazy. Jason Allen is NOT good – he’s simply less bad than Kareem Jackson.
So here comes the classic letdown game. The Raiders come to Houston next week, but this is a Raider team that physically beat up on the New York Jets defense last week. They can run the ball like mad, which is a weakness of this Texans defense. If the Texans start falling in love with themselves, the Raiders can easily come to Reliant and punch them in the mouth.
Play of the game: So many choices. The batted ball by Connor Barwin on a Steelers 4th down just before the two-minute warning. The aforementioned hit on Hines Ward by Jason Allen. The back-to-back sacks by Antonio Smith and Mario Williams midway through the 4th quarter. But I have to go with the special teams.
With just over a minute left in the game, punter Brett Hartmann hung a punt up in the air long enough for Brice McCain to make a NICE leap, catch and toss to rookie Brandon Harris, who downed the ball at the one yard-line.
THAT. WAS. BEAUTIFUL.
On the very next play, JJ Watt got to Ben Roethlisberger for what SHOULD have been the game ending pressure, causing the interception return TD by Johnathan Joseph… but we know how that turned out.
So that’s my vote for play of the game, and it’s nice to say there were MANY to choose from.
Great win. It sure feels like a “signature” win for the franchise right now, but we just won’t know until we see how the season plays out.
Finally, Antonio Smith: