While we all should be elated that the Texans are 5-0 going into the toughest stretch of their 2012 schedule, the loss of Brian Cushing is quite a dark cloud.
Cushing will be sorely missed, not just because of how good he is, but because of how limited their options are. Nobody is going to “replace” Cush. All the Texans can hope for is that (probably) Tim Dobbins will slide into his position and be, at best, solid. If you’re hoping for more, just stop now.
What the Texans and all we fans CAN hope for, is that this team has been so good this year, that other players and facets of the game will step up to make up the difference. It sounds overly-simplified, but with this team it actually makes sense.
Last night, for example, Arian Foster was the Arian Foster we had been missing this season. Sure the blocking is part of it, but he had a bit more wiggle, and he was able to fall forward in that classic Arian manner that got them tough extra yards. Of course some guy named JJ Watt just decided he would control the game on his own, forcing yet another interception, and batting down the final pass of the game, among other things.
But make no mistake – Cushing will be missed on and off the field. His leadership, his emotion, his attitude, and above all else – his high-level of play.
Now, on to the game.
ATTENTION HOUSTON TEXANS FANS EVERYWHERE
CALM THE HELL DOWN. THE TEAM IS 5-0
People are freaking out as if the team lost, and lost badly. How some of you don’t understand the way the NFL works after presumably having watched it for many years, I don’t know.
Yes, the Jets are an inferior team in almost every way. The Texans should have blown them off the field. But these are the Jets. They have a head coach who can coach his ASS off when it comes to defense. It’s what he does. The Jets were desperate for a win. They were at home. They were on the huge Monday Night Football stage. They had been called quitters all week. They were coming off getting their heads bashed in 34-0, in front of their home fans.
The Jets gave the Texans their best shot. They played multiple quarterbacks. They tried trick plays. They put in alternate personnel. They tried an onside kick… despite all of that, the Texans won the game on a night where a couple of their stars were subpar.
Matt Schaub – started great, finished average.
Andre Johnson – nowhere to be found.
Johnathan Joseph – had his worst game as a Texan.
… but the Texans won anyway. Houston never once returned a kickoff beyond the 20-yardline, AND they gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown – but they won anyway.
What do good teams do? They win games when they don’t play well.
What do good teams do? They win on the road.
What do good teams do? When things happen that they aren’t prepared for, they find a way to win anyway.
What do good teams do? They play great on special teams? Well, not this good team.
Andre Johnson isn’t ineffective, he just got HANDLED
Like, seriously handled. It’s hard to give Antonio Cromartie a lot of credit, but he shut Dre down, PERIOD. There’s no reason to freak out. He, like Joseph, just had a bad game. When I look at them I don’t see guys who are hiding injuries, or who are suddenly about to be terrible (really, some people think that). I just see guys who had bad games. I say that without re-watching the game yet, or seeing the all-22 coaching film – but I don’t think it’s a stretch. It happens.
Speshul Teemz r speshul
The Trindon Holliday Watch continues. While I wasn’t surprised that he has made it this far into the season, I will be mildly surprised if he survives this week. You can read the previous entry for my thoughts on Holliday. As for the rest – I don’t know what can be done. Can you fire your special teams coordinator five weeks into the season? Are teams better served to try something different personnel-wise and/or scheme-wise? I don’t know, but eventually the Texans are going to lose a game because of this. I think we all kind of agree on that. It would be one thing if we could isolate one bad thing the special teams does, but it really is everything.
We will hit more on the WIN in New York – the WIN that pushed this team to 5-0 – later in the week. I’ll re-watch the game, check out some coaching film, and share some more.
For now, let’s try to enjoy this even with the injury to Cushing. I can’t believe I need to say “look at the bright side” after going 5-0, but losing the guy in the upper-right corner will do that. Kareem Jackson is playing better. JJ Watt is THE JUGGERWATT, and remains unstoppable. Arian Foster looks like he is in midseason form. Owen Daniels is quietly having a great season. Matt Schaub wasn’t sacked against the Jets, and has only been sacked three times all season.
FIVE and 0. It wasn’t pretty, and this team isn’t perfect – but we already knew that. Enjoy it!