Texans Tidbits: True Grit in Indianapolis

Dec 27, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Houston Texans kicker Nick Novak (8) celebrates kicking a field goal with teammateTexans punter Shane Lechler (9) during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 27, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Houston Texans kicker Nick Novak (8) celebrates kicking a field goal with teammateTexans punter Shane Lechler (9) during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports /
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During the win at the Colts on Sunday, there were plenty of times where the tide was turning against the Texans and they could have folded and let their AFC South foes overtake them. But the Texans showed their fight and pulled it out the win:

John Wayne didn’t need to be a hero in this one. Not even Jeff Bridges needed to show up for the Texans. Instead, their own heroes stepped up as the Texans went onto victory.

To start with, things were already going against the Texans. The Colts were the hot team, winning three of their last four while the Texans had dropped three straight. Indianapolis surely wasn’t going to lose two in a row on their home field to the Texans after winning their first 13 at home in the series. But alas, they did not expect the Texans grit to stand firm.

The first unsung hero that stepped up in a big way was Whitney Mercilus. While he did not record a sack, he was constantly in the Colts backfield as he led the team with four quarterback hits. As a team, the Texans had 13 and that pressure kept Luck off his rhythm and contributed to the two interceptions.

Another name that deserves recognition is Nick Novak. He has quietly been one of the best kickers in the NFL this season. He is tied for the lead in field goals made across the league with 28. While he doesn’t have the big leg (he’s 6-8 from 40-49 and just 3-6 from 50+) he’s been the steady hand the Texans needed after the disaster of Randy Bullock.

While his 84.4% accuracy may not sound that great from the outside, he’s actually 12th in the league in that category. He drilled five field goals on Sunday, including a 52 yarder at the end of the first half to help the Texans take momentum into half. Moreover, it came after a miss by the ageless wonder Adam Vinateri.

In the third quarter Jadeveon Clowney had a strip of Andrew Luck with the Colts in the red zone that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the game. It got the defense into it and assured the team that everything was going to be okay. I’m firmly convinced that was what gave them enough confidence to make the defensive stand at the end that won the game.

There were times the Texans could have laid down and given up. But they didn’t and with this win they have control of the AFC South.