The Texans continue to prove they are something entirely different in 2011, this time after a merciless 37-9 beatdown of a mediocre Buccaneer team in Tampa Bay. For the second time this year, the Texans embarrassed an opponent in front of their home fans, and never gave them a chance to get back in the game.
The domination on the ground continues. While the numbers aren’t as eye-popping as they were last week (wow, how spoiled am I?), the Texans still romped for 185 yards on the ground, again led by the unquestioned best one-two running back punch in the NFL. Neither Arian Foster nor Ben Tate were able to cross the 100-yard rushing mark, but both seemed to operate with ease at times. The Texans ran the ball 44 times, including 17 for Foster and 13 for Tate.
Foster flat out made the Bucs look silly on several plays, particularly on the 78 yard touchdown catch and run. The second cut he made to the inside of the field that sprung him for the score was simply astonishing. I’ll say it for the hundredth time – if you think Arian Foster is a system back, you are absolutely in need of a full lobotomy.
Foster hauled in four receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown, plus 84 on the ground for another score. The offensive line I’m sure chuckled heartily as they saw their old buddy Albert Haynesworth on the field. Big, Lazy, Quitting, Half-assed Fat Albert had his best game since he left Tennessee, but since nobody else on Tampa’s defense was interested in trying after the first half, it didn’t matter.
Matt Schaub only had to throw the ball 15 times. FIFTEEN. He completed 11 of those attempts, including an 80-yard catch and run to Jacoby Jones for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
Oh, then there’s the defense. After watching the Texans for 10 years, and launching this blog in 2007, I cannot tell you how much joy it gives me to watch this defense work after what we’ve been subjected to over the years. The NFL’s number one defense was once again dominant, though they (gasp) weren’t able to become the first team in NFL history to hold an opponent under 175 total yards for four straight games. Oh well.
The Texans notched four more sacks – Brooks Reed (1), Connor Barwin (1.5), J.J. Watt (.5), Brian Cushing (1), and caused four turnovers, including three interceptions, one each from Brice McCain, Quentin Demps, and Brian Cushing. Even Kareem Jackson made a couple of nice plays. That’s right, I said Kareem Jackson.
It’s really quite incredible considering the Texans are currently without the services of Andre Johnson, Danieal Manning, and Mario Williams. That should tell you 1 – The Texans offensive line is flat-out destroying right now, and 2 – that Wade Phillips is some kind of a defensive savant who has all his guys buying into his system in a way I’ve never seen before.
It’s almost too bad the Texans are taking a week off with the way they’re playing right now – but this team is certainly beaten up. Andre Johnson should be back after the layoff, and Danieal Manning should be getting pretty close by then. Matt Schaub left the stadium in Tampa in a walking boot this afternoon after an ankle injury that occurred in the second quarter, so it’s perfect timing for him as well.
So here we are, 10 games into the season. The Texans sit comfortably atop the AFC South with a 7-3 record, and after another inexplicable loss by the Baltimore Ravens to a team they have no business losing to – the Texans are the top team in the AFC and – forgive me for being the guy that says this – would have home field advantage throughout the playoffs if the post-season started today.
The whining, crying, (and TERRIBLE) Glitter Kittens of Jacksonville will be motivated and ready to take down the Texans when Houston heads there on November 27. Their local fans will be enjoying regional action on TV as the Jags can’t sell out their own home stadium, but how ever many fans actually show up to the game should see a hard-fought divisional matchup that is sure to have a ton of pushing, shoving, and hopefully even more tears from Jaguar players after the game.
Man, this is fun. It’s just FUN. I’ve got a lot of other interests outside of Houston Texans football, but don’t mind telling you – I am giddy about this team. I feel like I felt when I was a kid going to the Run-n-Shoot-era Oiler games with my parents. It’s been a long time coming. Let’s enjoy the ride.
Number one defense… number one defense… number one defense…