The Houston Texans came back from an abysmal loss to the Green Bay Packers, with a blowout of their own against one of the league’s elite: the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens were able to force a three-and-out on the Texans first drive and kick a field goal on their own, after that it was all Texans. There is no better way to enter the bye than with a blowout win against a team like the Ravens.
The offense certainly did their part as they set the franchise-record for points scored, however the defense was stingy all day, and showed that last week against the Packers was nothing more than a bump in the road.
Unfortunately, it would appear that I jinxed J.J. Watt last week by saying that I wouldn’t discuss him until he got shut down. He was double-teamed for the entire game by two of the better offensive linemen in the NFL in Marshall Yanda and Michael Oher. He was still able to bat down two passes but it was the first time this season that he was held without a sack.
That was the lone dull spot on the defense. Whitney Mercilus racked up his first NFL sack, and Connor Barwin had his first this season on back-to-back plays resulting in a Ravens safety.
Most impressive, perhaps, was the fact that in the fourth quarter after a very questionable pass interference call on fourth down, Antonio Smith got his second sack of the year, and didn’t unsheathe the Ninja Assassin sword. On the next play however, he unsheathed it as he reached Joe Flacco for the second time in as many plays and racked up his third sack of the year.
Overall the front seven was an unstoppable force that helped lead the Texans to a much needed win.
Johnathan Joseph had an interception that he returned for a touchdown, which was a sight for sore eyes as he was repeatedly torched for the last two weeks.
Kareem Jackson, who is the most improved player on the Texans roster, had another impressive game this week holding Anquan Boldin without a catch for a majority of the game.
Glover Quin Jr. Was the player of the game this week, at least on defense as he led the team in tackles with six, pass deflections with three, and had an acrobatic interception that was arguably the play of the game.
It was good to see a defensive secondary that had been destroyed last week come out and show that it was nothing more than a hiccough and that they were actually this good.
I can’t say enough for the special teams. Alan Ball has come over this year and along with Brian Braman, been our coverage team stud who consistently makes plays downing the ball inside the 10-yard line. Brian Braman makes big, but sure, hits on the return man on a regular basis, and while Jacoby Jones was able to break a few kick returns for decent gains, we didn’t give up a touchdown.
Donnie Jones punted five times with two downed inside the 20 and more importantly allowing only one to be returned for a mere one yard.
Finally, Shayne Graham continued to be almost automatic and went a solid 2-2 on field goals and 5-5 on extra points.
This was the most complete game the Texans have played this year and if they continue to hit on all cylinders like this then they will be unstoppable.