With game one in the book the Houston Texans had a convincing victory over the Indianapolis Colts, 34-7. With one electric atmosphere with the 9/11 tribute across the NFL, opening weekend and Liberty White Day all wrapped up in one the Texans did not disappoint a packed house. With all of the action in the first half for the Texans, this game was all but in the bag after they dominated all three phases of the game on Sunday.
With a 1-0 record for the second year in row, the Texans will look to build on this decisive victory.
1. The Texans took a huge blow to their leadership and wide receiver corp with news that Kevin Walter broke his shoulder and is supposedly out for an extended amount of time. This becomes a problem for the Texans because now their active roster is down to three healthy receivers (Andre Johnson, Jacoby Jones, Bryant Johnson) and there will be a tough decision on whether or not to I.R. Walter for the remainder of the season. Walter had been a constant in the Texans offense with his sure route running and down the field blocking. Expect move to be made before Tuesday, to help the Texans roster at receiver.
2. Speaking of Jacoby Jones, he put the so-called "dagger" in the game with his 79-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the second half. Plus he filled in for an injured Kevin Walter and chipped 3 catches for 43 yards. I said in one of myearlier articles on Jones that he needed to show up, and he made a huge impression for the Texans on Sunday. Now it is up to Jones to continue for the rest of the season with Walter being hurt for a considerable amount of time.
3. It might have been the shoes or a new version of Brian Cushing, but he was all over the field. He had seven total tackles and looked like he was on every play. It was good to see a leaner Cushing look faster to the ball, and with him still learning the position expect improvements. With Cushing apparently healthy, it has to be a good sight to fans to see that he is back for the 2011 season.
4. For all the doubters out there Mario Williams put on a show rushing from the edge. Colt's quarterback Kerry Collins was feeling happy feet as the game went on. With two sacks and a forced fumble Williams looks like he has a chance to prove his worth to the Texans. Williams changed the game with his two sacks and proved that he is primed for a break out season in Wade Phillips new defense. It's good to see him back in the mix and making impact plays for the Texans.
5. It doesn't matter who covers Andre Johnson and he started the season with 7 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. Johnson and Matt Schaub looked like they were reading each others mind, with how in tune they looked out on the field. Johnson proves he can go across the middle, run a hitch or stretch the field. The Colts tried everything to cover him, but Johnson still created his own space on the field. Thank goodness he will retire with the Texans.
6. With 5 solo tackles and a fumble recovery, J.J. Watt made his rookie debut with a splash. Watt was in the backfield causing issues for the offense and provides another threat on the defensive line for offenses to worry about. Watt can play the run and push the pocket on the pass, and with his presence he makes the defense better. Watt is a perfect fit at the 5 technique and will look to continue to improve as a player as the season carries on.
7. The Texans defense did not give up the ever recognizable big play to the Colts. The Colts longest run was 13 yards and longest reception was 36 yards. The Texans were giving up big plays in 2010 with frequency which led to the demise of the defense and eventually to the season. We are talking about 35+ yard gains which usually resulted in touchdowns, but the Texans D made the Colts work for every yard on Sunday. The only touchdown scored by the Colts was a great catch by wide receiver Reggie Wayne against safety Glover Quin with some pretty good coverage on him.
8. Did anybody hear anything bad about the Texans secondary? I didn't and that's a good sign. The Texans secondary was solid under the new secondary coach Vance Joseph. Glover Quin almost had an early pick in the game and Kareem Jackson played nice coverage all game. Danieal Manning showed his speed to cover the deep ball and even showed he can blitz when needed. Johnathan Joseph was solid and tackled well, but the biggest plus was the fact there was no sign on last year's secondary on the field. It says something for the depth of the Texans secondary if 2011 second round pick Brandon Harris was inactive for the game.
9. It would have been great for the Texans to put some type of score on the board in the second half. After an explosion of points in the first half, the Texans went silent on the scoreboard in the second half. I don't know if Gary Kubiak pulled back the game plan or the Texans lost focus coming out of the locker room. Despite that disappointment it was a great game none the less.
10. The emergence of James Casey and Ben Tate give the Texans two young weapons for the offense. Casey had 3 catches for 29 yards and had some nice lead blocking during the game. He did have some blocks where he was abused by Colts linebackers, but overall it is nice to see a weapon developing in Casey. With Arian Foster on the shelf and Derrick Ward with an early ankle injury, Ben Tate was forced into action and did not disappoint. Despite a fumble late in the game Tate had 24 carries for 116 yards and 1 touchdown and averaged 4.8 yards a carry. The Texans have a bright future with these two in uniform for a while.