Yet again, the Texans did what they were supposed to do. The NFL put a vastly inferior team in front of them, and they took care of business.
The Texans looked a little bit sluggish in parts of the game, but even while the Titans were hanging around at 14-7, it never really felt that close.
Chris Johnson did seem to find his way a little bit in this game, finishing with 141 rushing yards. I do have to say though, despite all those yards he chewed up, he STILL was leaving a lot of yards on the field. There was one play in particular, I believe it was his longest of the game, where that play would have been a no-doubt TD back when CJ was CJ.
And that’s all the letters I’m going to type about Chris Johnson.
On offense, the Texans certainly did not finish with dominant numbers, but they got up on the Titans early, and let the defense do the rest. Matt Schaub had another solid game, taking what the defense gave on the way to a 20 for 28, two touchdown, zero turnover day. Schaub hit seven different receivers over the course of the game, including six to Owen Daniels and five to James Casey.
Arian Foster was solid, but does not look like the Arian Foster of the last two years. More on that later in the week, but I’m not overly concerned at this point. I would like to see a little more from Ben Tate. It’s a long season and Arian is taking a pounding out there. I’m already worried about him wearing down later in the year.
Though the offensive line didn’t dominate in the run game, they certainly gave Schaub all the time he needed to sit comfortably in the pocket. The Texans did not give up a sack in the game, and Schaub barely even got hit after getting pinballed all over the field last week.
No Texan on offense had eye-popping numbers, and the team as a whole did not have the offensive output that I expected against arguably the worst defense in the NFL. But again, they took what was there. They didn’t hit the big play because they didn’t need the big play. The running game chewed yards and clock when it needed to, and Schaub worked the short and intermediate pass game effectively. The defense did the rest.
Oh, yes, the defense. With the Titans hanging around 14-7 to start the third quarter, each team traded unsuccessful drives. On the first play of the Titans’ second drive, Danieal Manning returned a tipped Matt Hasselbeck pass 55 yards for a touchdown. Just like that, the score is 21-7 and the game is basically over. Add an Owen Daniels touchdown after the Titans quit on their tackling, and another returned interception touchdown by Kareem Jackson, and this turned into an ugly blowout.
JJ Watt finished with two more sacks, four tackles, and a fumble recovery. Just another day at the office for the most consistently dominant defensive player in the NFL today. Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson benefited from not having to deal with Kenny Britt, and shut down Titan receivers accordingly. The Texans gave up rush yards, but avoided giving up big plays.
Player of the game – offense – I’ll go with Schaub again, who played mistake-free football, settled for underneath routes, and played a smart game in leading the Texans to their 12th win in their last 16 regular season games in which he started.
Player of the game – defense – This was a tough call. I’ll once again go with JJ Watt who AGAIN notched a multi-sack game with two, had four tackles, and scooped up a fumble recovery. When he wasn’t getting numbers, he was causing utter chaos for the Titans. They had no answer for him all game long. Nobody does.
Play of the game – the aforementioned interception-for-TD by Manning. It put some separation between the teams on the scoreboard, and the Titans never recovered.
Next up, Houston heads to New York to face a Jets team that is in complete meltdown mode. The Jets were pulverized by San Francisco 34-0, and on paper shouldn’t fare much better against the Texans. But you never know. It’s gonna be a hyper atmosphere on Monday Night Football, and the Texans are going to have an aggressive, angry, desperate team to have to deal with. (But oh my GOD are the Jets bad.)