The Houston Texans welcomed back Mario Williams this week with a win, but it wasn’t as convincing as many fans would have liked to have seen. The Bills may be better than their record shows, but they are a 3-5 team and they kept it close with the Texans for the entire game and were able to move the ball consistently.
The Texans defense was the definition of bend don’t break on Sunday allowing the Bills to earn over 300-yards of total offense but only giving up nine points.
While Connor Barwin didn’t meet my multi-sack expectation, he did have a sack in his second straight game and matched the total that Mario earned so that was good enough. Barwin played well, but J.J. Watt was back to his consistently beasting tendencies and racked up a sack as well as five quarterback hits.
Along with the solid play from the starters the front seven saw significant time from rookies Jared Crick and Whitney Mercilus who stepped up and played admirably. In fact Mercilus had his second sack and forced fumble in as many games and made many Texans fans happy with the decision of letting Mario go.
The secondary played well. While Fitzpatrick seemingly was able to throw it wherever he wanted to, Trent Dilfer said it best, “there’s no defense for a perfect pass.” There was more than one occasion where the Texans corner was draped on the receiver but the ball was placed perfectly.
Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson and Brice McCain played well enough that if they were to mimic that play next week against the Bears that they would probably earn more than one interception against Jay Cutler who has been known to throw it to the opposing team.
The special teams had their ups and downs on Sunday as Donnie Jones continued to punt like a Pro-Bowler, but there were more penalties on special teams plays again which left many cringing. If penalties were the most worrisome people could sleep easy but the fact that the Texans gave up their first blocked field goal in over 40 games certainly didn’t inspire confidence either.
With the exception of another phenomenal day from Alan Ball, and a decent punt return from Keshawn Martin the special teams wasn’t really that special. In fact former Texans return man Trindon Holliday returned his first career kick for touchdown this week for the Denver Broncos leaving many fans wondering what if.
If the Texans special teams plays that poorly against the Bears next week it will be a long night.