The Texans got their biggest win of the year as they defeated the Bengals in Cincinnati 10-6. The defense was absolutely fantastic as they held the Bengals out of the end zone and extended their streak of keeping opponents out of the end zone to ten quarters. Here is what we learned from this win:
1. The Texans are the team to beat in the AFC South
Even though the Colts are still in the lead in the division by virtue of their win over the Texans earlier this season, the Texans made a statement that they are the best team in the division. The Colts managed to scrape past each of the three divisional squads and then beat the self destructing Broncos. So far the Texans really didn’t have a very good win, defeating the Jaguars and Titans as well as the Buccaneers before downing the Bengals on the road. The Colts did pull their upset of the Broncos in the big oil drum in Indy, which no doubt was an advantage. Better opponent and on the road=better win belongs to Houston.
2. The defense looks to finally be playing up to their potential
As I mentioned earlier, the Texans have not allowed an opponent into the end zone in the last ten quarters. J.J. Watt is still playing on another level, and we saw guys like Brandon Dunn, an undrafted rookie from Louisville and Christian Covington, a rookie from Rice, making their presence felt on the defensive line. Another guy who really stood out tonight was John Simon, a third year linebacker from Ohio State, who made three tackles and picked up a sack on the night. Lastly, the young corners both had good nights as first round pick Kevin Johnson followed Marvin Jones around most of the night and held his own against the Bengals burner. Charles James also played well, the former Raven corner has fit in well in this secondary.
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3. DeAndre Hopkins is a monster
Hopkins has led the Texans in receiving yards in six of the last seven games and having easily his best year. While he didn’t fill up the stat sheet in this defensive struggle of a game, he still showed that he has the athletic ability to rival anyone in the league; and showed that he is the guy that the Texans go to if they need a play to be made. His body control is absolutely off the charts. He doesn’t have the size of a guy like Calvin Johnson or A.J. Green, but he has decent size and the quickness of a guy like Keenan Allen. He is the best of both. The sky is the limit for this young man.
4. The Texans might be able to survive without Brian Hoyer
If I knew that T.J. Yates was coming into this game and you had told me the Texans would win, I would have laughed. How could the Texans possibly beat the mighty Bengals on the road with a backup quarterback? Well, they showed us how. Suffocating defense and one big play from DeAndre Hopkins. Even though Hoyer’s overall numbers are good on the year, let’s not forget that he was benched for Ryan Mallett in the season opener and has been in and out of the starting lineup. It’s like Hoyer is the second coming of Tom Brady. My point is even though Hoyer has had a good year, he is really not much more than a solid quarterback and far from irreplaceable. If Yates can manage the game, let Hopkins do his thing and the defense plays a shutdown game the Texans have a shot to win in any game they play. Hopefully though Hoyer will be able to play next week after suffering a concussion in this game.