The Houston Texans continued their dream season with their 8th win of the season with a victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-13. The Texans once again proved their defense is one of the best in the league, but the team took another tough loss to their depth chart.
With the team seeming they can't catch a break, they will be hitting the free agency quarterback pool by Monday morning. Despite the bad luck in the 2011 season, the Texans are still putting together one of the most impressive seasons in franchise history and are slowly closing in on the AFC South crown.
Here are 10 thoughts on Sunday's win against the Jaguars.
1. The Texans offensive line and running game in general looked like they were still in bye week and Thanksgiving mode. Only totalling 78 yards on the ground and add in two fumbles the running game was anemic at best. Missed blocks by offensive lineman and wide receivers proved costly and led to a horrible day on the ground.
2. Arian Foster who has been stellar this season, uncharacteristically put the ball on the ground twice. He refused to cover the ball with two hands in the pile and lost one on the opening drive that resulted in a touchdown return by Ashton Youboty. Foster made up for it with a long run of 43 but only had 65 yards for the day. It wasn't only on Foster for the day, but his performance was "un-Foster" like.
3. I was all for James Casey in the fullback position to start the season, the offense looked good and it gave quarterback Matt Schaub a new weapon offensively. The only big issue was the lack of running game with Casey in the lineup. Casey gets hurt against Pittsburgh and Vickers is inserted into the lineup and the running game takes off with him clearing the way. Vickers has a hurt hamstring and the Texans are getting handled up front and Casey is getting abused lead blocking. I know he is not the reason for all the issues in the running game, but it is something to watch for these coming weeks.
4. It is hard to believe that the Texans can't escape the injury bug and early signs point to Matt Leinart being out for the season with a collarbone injury. With that said the Texans looked like they were hitting their groove late in the second this fluke injury.
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Insert rookie T.J. Yates the Texans and he marched them down for a late field goal. It seemed that head coach Gary Kubiak was holding on for dear life and trying to escape Jacksonville with a win. The offense went vanilla and only gained 1 first down in the second half. Yates looks promising and looks mobile and even has a live arm, but will the Texans turn the team over to him or look else where. The choice is going to be interesting, but the other 10 players on offense have to step their game up and help Yates for the remainder of the season.
Stats of the Texans QBs:18-28 127 yards 1 TD, 0 Sacks, 0 Turnovers
5. Some comeback game for Andre Johnson, only with two catches he was quiet majority of the game. It was good to see him back, but it would be nice to see him contribute soon. Yates knew who to throw to and he was looking for Johnson and this could be a factor if Yates takes over the offense. With his two receptions Johnson became the 2nd fastest wide receiver to have 700 career receptions for his career.
6. Texans fans have to be impressed with the way Connor Barwin has come back from injury that ended his 2010 season. Barwin set a franchise record with 4 sacks and totalled 10 tackles for the game. Barwin now has 8.5 sacks for the season and looks like he is ready for a big 5 game stretch to close out the regular season. Barwin's play might even get him some consideration for NFL Comeback Player of the Year award, but it's early for that.
7. The Texans defense registered 7 sacks in the game (4 Barwin, 2 Watt and 1 Reed) and this marked the third straight game with 4 or more sacks for the defense. The Texans pass rush bruised and battered Jaguars quarterbacks and may have made Blaine Gabbert damaged goods. Gabbert was looking over his shoulder after every snap and was ducking for cover at times.
8. Hats go off to the Texans special teams who played their best game of the season. Sherrick McManis had a kickoff return of 45 yards and even caused a fumble on kickoff coverage. Shiloh Keo blocked a punt and Jacoby Jones had some nice punt returns to set up some nice field position. Throw in Neil Rackers being steady in the kicking game, the Texans special teams could prove even bigger this late in the season.
9. If anyone was active for the Texans defensively look no further that Glover Quin. This was by far Quin's best game tackling (7 total) and one pass deflection which could have been an interception. Quin is currently 2nd in the team in tackles, but he made some big tackles on Sunday to prevent some big gains. Quin is slowly coming to form and rounding out an impressive Texans secondary.
10. With all of this talk on the injury front for the Texans something has to be said for Gary Kubiak and his staff to keep this team going in the right direction. Kubiak has to be in the discussion for Coach of the Year honors, because the award is a direct reflection of him and his coaching staff. With all of the adversity the team has faced with the amount of star power they have lost for the season, the Texans are still in the hunt for the playoffs. Kubiak will have his work cut out for him these next 5 weeks trying to get the Texans to the top of the AFC South for the first time in team history.