The Houston Texans improved to 5-3 on the season with a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars by the score of 24-14. It was not a pretty win but the Texans did what they had to and most importantly they are 3-0 in the AFC South.
The Texans gave free chances to the Jaguars offense with some costly turnovers, the Jaguars only had three trips to Texans territory and two were results of turnovers. This game could have been uglier than what the scoreboard indicated, but let's rejoice in another Texans win.
Here are some thoughts on the Texans and Jaguars game.
1. Terrance Knighton, Jaguars defensive tackle, came out early in the week and said he "hates" the Texans for their arrogance. The whole game Knighton was trying to start fights by trash talking and during commercial breaks he was walking into the Texans huddle to give Arian Foster and Duane Brown a piece of his mind late in the game. He tried everything he could to get the Texans out of their game, but it was summed up well when Duane Brown pointed to the scoreboard when Knighton came up to talk more trash after an extra point. We can only imagine what will happen when the Texans travel to Jacksonville on November 27th.
2. The loss of Darryl Sharpton (torn quad) is big and the Texans need to address this as soon as possible. The Jaguars tried to take advantage of DeMeco Ryans in pass coverage against Maurice Jones Drew, but Blaine Gabbert couldn't complete the passes. Ryans is great in between the tackles, and the Texans can't afford to move Cushing outside of the box with how great he is playing now. The Texans have no inside backers on their practice squad so expect the them to look to free agency soon. Keep an eye out for the like of Lofa Tatupu,Hunter Hillenmeyer, Kevin Bentley,Stanford Kegler andChanning Crowder even though he is currently retired.
3. How much confidence do the Houston Texans have in Shiloh Keo, not much. Quintin Demps who was brought in this week gave some quality work in the game in nickel situations, and looked fast on the field. He almost had a pick in the game, but to see him apart of the game plan and look that good was an added plus. He lost out on a close battle with Dominique Barber for the last safety position coming out of camp, and Demps looks like he is in no hurry to leave this time.
4. There has been much debate about Jason Allen and Kareem Jackson and who should start. The point is you go with the hot hand and Allen has been making plays when it counts and has three interceptions to show for it. Still expect to see a rotation during the game, but Allen deserves to be the other corner opposite of Johnathan Joseph.
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5. Brian Cushing continues his growth as a NFL linebacker and had a great game on Sunday. With 7 total tackles and one huge interception he is one of the most complete linebacker s in the NFL. His interception on a tipped pass from Connor Barwin late in the 1st half proved huge and didn't give the Jaguars a scoring opportunity going into the half. Cushing is making sure he takes the Texans defense on his back and lead them to a top 10 defense in the NFL. He is pushing for another probowl appearance and some post season honors.
6. Matt Schaub had an interesting day on Sunday. He was 16-30 for 225 yards and one touchdown. He had a huge touchdown run to start the game which got the offense and Reliant going early. He did fumble once, but that was a great play by Jaguars linebacker Clint Session to get back up after a cut block by Arian Foster. He kept having issues on the deep ball trying to get it over cornerback Rasheen Mathis who looked like he had good coverage. Schaub is having a great season despite some early struggles and is putting wins on the board, and that is how quarterbacks make their money in the NFL.
7. Brooks Reed has been giving some quality work off the edge for the Texans. Reed had a scare late in the first quarter with a knee injury, but he came back to have a solid game with 4 tackles and a sack. Reed has balanced out the Texans defense and put offenses on their toes and trying to figure out who is rushing between him and Connor Barwin. Reed has been stout against the run and is having a nice rookie campaign.
8. One thing that made me realize that Derrick Mason is still learning the playbook is the fact the had trouble lining up on Sunday. One would think that Mason was brought here to contribute, and to be an upgrade over Jacoby Jones. Bryant Johnson too had some issues lining up and Schaub was trying to get him and Mason situated during the game. Mason can contribute, but it is a matter of getting into the rotation, and if he can over take Jones the Texans can have a solid three receivers when Andre Johnson comes back.
9. Don't look now but the Texans defense is playing at a high level now. They have held two consecutive opponents to under 200 total yards, Titans- 148 Jaguars-174, and they are winning football games. When the offense is struggling the defense bails them out and it taking the Texans to a new level in 2011. Also, they have held previous Texans' killer Chris Johnson to 27 yards rushing and Maurice Jones-Drew to 63 yards, and we all know what they have done to us in the past. The defense makes the Texans a dangerous team, especially knowing they can change the momentum with a sack or a turnover.
10. The best thing about Arian Foster's 112 yard rushing performance was the fact he had to grind it out. He didn't have his normal big run, he had to work for it. His long run was only for 14 yards, but he kept after it all game. He was rewarded with the game clinching touchdown run late in the game, but Foster's ability to stay focused on a tough running day proved huge for the Texans to get this tough win.
* Dear Texans fans let's not try to do the wave in the middle of an imporatant offensive series for the Texans. I understand when we have fun at the games, but that is hardly a homefield advantage when we created a false start against our own team, just something to watch out for next game.