In a big game to take control of the AFC South, the Houston Texans FINALLY put together a game they could be proud of, a decisive victory over the Tennessee Titans 41-7. The Texans looked like a team on a mission, seek and destroy and they did.
The Texans silenced critics by going 2-0 in the AFC South with a big victory. There was not much to be upset about as fans, but you know someone will find something to complain about.
Here are 10 thoughts on the Texans victory.
1. I thought Darryl Sharpton was taking more snaps than DeMeco Ryans on Sunday, but Ryans had 17 snaps compared to Sharpton's 12. The snaps were low because the Titans were spread out with 3 to 4 wide receivers pulling Ryans and Sharpton out of the game. I don't know if this will continue to be a trend going into the season, but Sharpton has been giving some good time when he get a chance on defense, he had two tackles and combined with Johnathan Joseph on a caused fumble. Ryans looks a tad slow and has trouble in the coverage game, but shows he can still be a force downhill from the inside in the run game defense. Keep an eye out for distribution of snaps between the two inside backers.
2. Speaking of Johnathan Joseph he set the tone early in the game when he put the pain on Titans wide receiver Damian Williams on a big hit to separate him from the ball on a flea flicker early in the game. Joseph played big in the contact game than the coverage one, and was a force tackling Titans all day long. Joseph proved that he can be physical when needed and provided an early spark for the Texans defense.
3. The whole defense rallied to the football especially when Titans running back Chris Johnson touched the ball. The Texans limited him to 18 yards on 10 carries and only gave up 54 total rushing yards for the game. The Texans defense looks like they are a top unit in this league, and completely dominated the Titans on Sunday, making it one of the most lopsided victories in team history.
4. Brice McCain has been lost in the shuffle, but he had given some quality as the 3rd corner on the roster. He had the nail in the coffin interception for a touchdown to ice the game, but he has had a good 2011 season. His play early in camp won the praise of Defensive Back Coach Vance Joseph and it is paying off for McCain.
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Speaking of corners, I wish the coaching staff would pick either Jason Allen or Kareem Jackson to start opposite of Joseph. They are not letting either player establish themselves on the field, and making it tough to get some consistency on the other half of the field.
5. Arian Foster brought his "A" game and he outgained the Titans in total yards by 86 yards! Foster had 234 total yards compared to the Titans 148 yards. (thanks Bryan Hilpert for correcting me) We saw flashes of the 2010 Foster with quick cuts and some hard-nosed running, and ended up with 3 touchdowns on the day. Also, Ben Tate joined in on the fun a provided 104 rushing yards of his own and averaged 6.9 yards a carry, and can carry the load when needed. Foster and Tate can preserve each other's health with games like this, and it is nice to have both back for the long haul.
6. If you haven't noticed but Joel Dreessen has been as solid of a tight end this year for the Texans in the running and passing game. Dreessen does not get as many looks as counterpart Owen Daniels, but he is called on to pass and run block majority of the time against bigger players. Dreessen shows some pass catching skills when needed, and he caught the first touchdown pass of the day from Matt Schaub which started the snowball of offense. Dreessen is important for the Texans and provides them another weapon they can keep on the field to overwhelm linebacker and defensive backs in the run game.
7. Matt Schaub was on point Sunday and had a big day with 296 yards though the air and 2 touchdowns. Schaub is good when he gets help in the running game and proved he can deliver the ball when he has time. He made some solid reads and had a game that was needed in an important AFC South game. He hit seven different receivers and did not take a sack all game.
8. The Texans knew this was an important game, watch the replay (if you can) and look at the excitement on the sideline from each player after plays. There were high fives after plays and they looked like a team. Every play they played like it was the most important of the game. I was pleased to see the Texans pull together and show some emotion on the field and pull out this much needed victory.
9. The offensive line we know and love showed up and dominated the line of scrimmage. The key for this game was the offensive line to get the Texans going in the running game and cleared the way for 222 yards on the ground. Also, the kept Schaub upright which was a big help for the ailing quarterback.
10. The Texans are supposed to send messages when they play inferior teams and Sunday the Texans did. If you take away something from this game, it is the fact they are beating teams that they are supposed to and showed they are the best team in the AFC South in 2011. With their last division opponent coming to town on Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be put to the test on this new look Texans team. Anyone who says they are the same Texans we know, you are wrong, 41-7 has never happened before in Texans history. The Texans control their own destiny the rest of the season, and they can make headway in the division with a victory over the Jaguars.