As I write this article I am constantly checking the game between the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks. What does that have to do with the Texans you ask. Well, if the Seahawks defeat the Ravens (which they are on course to do) the Texans will be the number one seed in the AFC. Wait a minute…that cannot be right…let me check that again….hmmm….Pittsburgh – no, Cincinnati- no, New England – no, Houston – OH YEAH!
The Houston Texans have been rolling over opponents like a steamroller over a smart car. Opposing offenses look unprepared for the hurt that the defense is bringing while opposing defenses are stuck in the mud as our running backs break off huge yardage against them. This week was slightly different, but for all of the right reasons.
Going into this game the Texans had an opportunity to accomplish two things they had never done: have a 7-3 record and be the top seed in the conference, let alone the division. Not only did the Texans finish this game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with their best record ever after 10 games but they did it with determination, confidence, and dominance. Winning a game by four touchdowns is not only a major slap in the face but it is also a statement, “We are here to stay and you had better be prepared for us!”
This game was, by all accounts, a complete game for the Texans. They finished off this game, defensively, with four sacks, three interceptions, and a fumble recovery. They allowed the Buccaneers only one touchdown, less than 100 yards rushing, and held QB Josh Freeman to a 33.6 QB rating.
ILB Brian “Crushing” Cushing once again showed why he deserved to be named one of the team’s captains. He finished the game with eight solo tackles, an interception, and a sack. His tenacity and ferocity on the field continues to make him one of the most dominant linebackers in the league.
Defensive back Quintin Demps showed why the Texans should never have let him go. After being signed back to the team, within the last month, he finished today’s game with three solo tackles, an assist, and an interception of his own. His ball awareness and speed shored up his presence on the team and made him a valuable asset today.
Other notable defensive players are: DE J.J. Watt, who finished with a half sack but also pressured Josh Freeman all afternoon; DB Brice McCain, who had one of the Texans’ interceptions; OLB Connor Barwin, who finished with a solo tackle, two assists, and one-and-a-half sacks; and OLB Brooks Reed, who was a menace off the edge while accumulating a sack.
Fans and critics alike can now, without any hesitation, ascertain that this year’s Texans defense is unlike any that has ever been seen by this franchise. In the midst of losing their best defensive player, Mario Williams, and after losing their star safety, Danieal Manning, they are still a defensive juggernaut. However, the defense was not the only thing impressive during this game.
Offensively, the Texans looked like they could win any game with or without star WR Andre Johnson.
RB Arian Foster had an amazing day with 186 all-purpose yards. His biggest play of the game came on a soft 10-yard pass from QB Matt Schaub. Foster secured the catch, broke for the sideline, juked a few Bucs, and ran the rest of his 78-yard reception into the endzone. As if that were not enough, Foster also added another 84 yards on the ground with one more touchdown just for good measure.
RB Ben Tate and Derrick Ward combined for another 99 yards of rushing. They both finished the game with a rushing touchdown as well. Most importantly, however, was the fact that they were able to effectively eat up the clock. The Texans finished with 35:06 for possession time to the Buccaneers 24:54, more than a 10 minute differential.
The Texans have the most rushing yards of any team in the NFL. They also lead the league in rushing TDs with 13.
Wide receiver Jacoby Jones showed up to play today. One the very first play from scrimmage the Texans did something that the Buccaneers never, ever expected, they threw the deep ball. Jones was open about 30 yards downfield. Schaub scrambled out of the pocket, rolled right, and connected with Jones who shook two Bucs defenders and ran another 50 yards for the TD.
Speaking of Schaub, he finished with his best QB rating of the season with an astounding 154.9. I guess completing 11 of 15 passes while adding two TDs and no interceptions does that for you. Likewise, he was only sacked once in this game. His command on the field is growing this season and you can see his confidence increasing with that of the rest of the team.
After today the Texans will enter their much needed bye week. WR Andre Johnson is expected to return to action after the bye and optimistically S Danieal Manning could as well. Manning’s injury was to take four to six weeks for recovery meaning that the next game against the Jaguars would be the fifth week.
As I conclude this article I will tell you this…the Seattle Seahawks did, in fact, defeat the Baltimore Ravens. The Houston Texans are the top seed in the division! Just in case you do not believe me, here is a video highlight of today’s game to erase any doubts that the Texans are the best in Texas…