Since breaking out as a playoff contender, the Texans established an identity early on. On offense, quarterback Matt Schaub will constantly throw to receiver Andre Johnson, while running back Arian Foster will move the chains and gash the defense on the ground. The defense, on the other hand uses their front seven to dominate the game behind the line of scrimmage.
Through the air, Schaub constantly threw to Johnson as he went 23/32 (74%) while Johnson caught 11/13 targets for 152 yards and a touchdown. Johnson has been Schaub’s go to receiver for a number of years as he’s been a bright star for the team since being drafted. The rest of the receiving core must step it up in the post season to give the offense a chance, as the better teams in the NFL will undoubtedly double cover Johnson.
Foster had a similar game to last week, that is until the second half.. Last week, Ben Tate was able to match Fosters yardage in garbage time. This week, Foster was back to form as he began to gash the Colts defense in the second half. Long run after run, Foster was able to move the chains and get his team into scoring position. Usually a team will pass the ball more often in the second half, but a talent like Foster can get it done as he picked up chunk after chunk. Foster’s biggest plays came in the final minutes of regulation, as Foster had runs of 26, 9 and 25 yards to essentially put the knife in the Colts back and end the game.
Going into this game, the defense would be the most scrutinized after they surrendered to the Patriots last week. To no shock, J.J. Watt spear headed a defensive stand as he forced Mewelde Moore to fumble on the 1 yard line. Watt ended up finishing the game with 3 sacks and the lead the team in tackles with 10. The next tremendous play came on a blocked punt/recovery/touchdown by linebacker Brian Braman, who extended the lead to 20-3. The linebacker position has suffered without Brooks Reed and Brian Cushing, so to see a backup linebacker make a play on special team shows improvement.
On a final note, kicker Shayne Graham was reliable on the day, but not perfect. He converted 5/6 field goals, missing only one field goal of 48 yards wide left at the half. While Graham showed he could convert on a 40+ yard attempt in game, he needs to be able to convert in the playoffs, or face the fate of the likes of Billy Cundiff.
With the AFC South clinched and a 12-2 record, the Texans are only one game from clinching a 1st round bye. With the 8-6 Minnesota Vikings up next, The Texans will have to stay at their “Wattage”, as the Vikings are being hunted for their number six seed.
– Antonio Furgiuele