Rare Air for Houston: Texans vs. Colts

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AFC South champs for the second season in a row and a 12-2 record, the Houston Texans are in some rare air especially when it comes to professional football in Houston. The Texans took care of business in a sloppy 29-17 victory against the Indianapolis Colts and quieted their doubters for at least another week.

There were some ups and downs but it was good to see the defensive pass rush show up again and the Texans put together some bright spots in all three phases of the game. With the New England Patriots losing Sunday night, the Texans are one win away from clinching home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Rundown

Bryan Braman

Bryan Braman #50

- The play of the game had to be when Bryan Braman blocked a punt and recovered it for a special teams touchdown. It was the turning point of the game for the Texans and helped open up the lead for the Texans going into halftime. We have been critical of Braman as a defensive player, but his ability on special teams has been something special to watch. There is no reason to not think that Braman will not be in Hawaii, he is a true difference maker on special teams.

- Just reading this is enough.

- Also Andre Johnson did this.

- The Texans' offensive line struggled to open the game and really were ineffective moving the Colts defensive front when needed. Kubiak opened the game by running completely to the right side, trying to get Ben Jones and Derek Newton going with their run blocking. The first half of football, running the football was not looking well at all as the Texans failed to establish their presence. Coming out the second half, the offensive line looked like a different group and in the 4th quarter they dominated the line of scrimmage and Arian Foster had 79 yards rushing (165 rushing for the game). The running game came alive and the Texans moved the ball with ease, and it will take an effort like that for the Texans to make some serious noise in the playoffs.

- The Texans safety play has been struggling of late and Danieal Manning and Quintin Demps had a day they would soon like to forget. Manning has been taking some bad angles in run support, has been a liability in coverage, and has turned himself into a weak link on the back end of the defense. He has turned into a feast or famine safety who at one point was very consistent for the defense, but teams are making Manning make plays in coverage and the run game. He has been struggling to find the things that have made him successful at the beginning of the season.

As for Quintin Demps, he gave up a deep ball to T.Y. Hilton that let the Colts back into the game when he was caught peeking into the backfield, which let Hilton speed by him untouched. Demps did not see a defensive snap the second half and was replaced by Shiloh Keo for the remainder of the game. Keo held his own but this shows that the defensive staff is no longer messing around with mental mistakes and not scared to make a change. Throw in a huge dropped interception before giving up the big touchdown, Demps had a game he would also like to forget.

- Antonio Smith has turned his level of play up and caused some headaches for the Colts offensive line. He set the tone early with a big sack of Andrew Luck and forced the pocket to collapse during the game. Smith talked about turning up his aggressiveness for the remainder of the season. If there is any time for Smith to earn his money, it has to be now. Helping the pass rush is vital for the Texans playoff run.

- DeVier Posey had a huge part in the game and came out and impressed with 3 catches for 46 yards in his first extensive action of the season. He was being used in the three wide receiver sets and even lined up opposite of Andre Johnson at times. Posey looks more of a complete wide receiver right now than Lestar Jean and Keshawn Martin with his size and speed as a receiver. It will be interesting to see how the Texans plan to use Posey on the bigger stage.

- A big factor for the Texans success was their ability to hold Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne to three catches for 14 yards. Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson and Brandon Harris all lined up over him during the game. Add a pass rush but keeping Wayne under control was a huge factor in slowing the Colts offense and forcing Luck to look elsewhere in the passing game. Taking away his comfort zone did not give Luck much confidence and made it a long day for him sitting in the pocket.

- It is hard to even realize that the Texans are 12-2 and notched their second AFC South Banner from the Reliant rafters in as many years. This is after the lean years in Houston where the Texans went 55-89 between the years of 2002 to 2010 and in just two seasons (30 regular season games) they have won 22 of those contests. Not to mention they have put together back to back AFC South Championships which seemed like a pipe dream three years ago after a terrible 2010 season. What the Texans are giving to the city of Houston is a rare time and it is something that should be appreciated because times like these do not happen often in the sports realm. There are bigger goals, but winning is all that matters. So enjoy this Houston.

You can follow Patrick on Twitter. He is the Editor of State of the Texans.