With the outcome of Saturday's contest it is a testament the job the Houston Texans' front office did during the offseason.
Being labeled as incompetent by the Houston fan base, fans wondered what owner Bob McNair was thinking when he brought back Head Coach Gary Kubiak and General Manager Rick Smith for another opportunity with the Texans.
Rick Smith went all in with player signings, the 2011 NFL draft and bringing in Wade Phillips. Saturday's result was all the work that one offseason put together with calculated moves could produce. The Texans had a performance for the ages, don't believe us the performance on Saturday spoke volumes. Take a look who made some impact plays on Saturday.
Wade Phillips- Not only responsible for the defensive turnaround in 2011, on Saturday the Texans were getting abused by the rookie phenom A.J. Green and with Johnathan Joseph injuring his ankle, Green had 5 catches for 47 yards. After an in-game adjustment by Phillips, the Texans kept Green without a catch after the first half, and produced 4 sacks and 3 interceptions to go along with the adjustment.
Brooks Reed- He had 5 tackles and 1 sack in Saturday's game, and his sack was caused by the pressure created by Antonio Smith. His relentless pursuit got him to Dalton and pushed the Bengals out of field goal range. Reed played majority of the defensive snaps against the Bengals.
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J.J. Watt- Like you want to know again, but he had the game changing interception and touchdown to change the "momentum" going into halftime. Then he added a sack to end the half that got Reliant rocking for the second half. Watt only had 2 tackles in the game, but he had the game changing play.
T.J. Yates- He got away with some bad decisions and tip balls intended for his receivers, but Yates made the throw that counted to ice the game. The throw was the 40 yard double move to Andre Johnson in a critical part of the game. Yates finished 12/20 for 159 yards and 1 touchdown, but most importantly no turnovers.
Danieal Manning- One of the better games put together by a Texans defensive player, Manning had 7 tackles and an interception. Manning picking off Dalton in the 4th quarter killed any chance of a Bengals late scoring drive.
Johnathan Joseph- Even with a hobbled ankle, Joseph added 6 tackles and an interception on a lofted ball on a key 4th down. Joseph was off early in the game, but turned up his play in the second half with the rest of the defense.
What do all of these players have in common, they were not on a 6-10 team from 2010. Plus they all made impact plays in the biggest game to date in Texans history. All are new faces that have shaped the 2011 Texans into a different football team.
Yes, it is a team game and a team effort, but that list of players and coach have proved difference makers for the Texans. It is a compliment to the job Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak have done to make this the best team in Texans history.
The new blood in the locker room paid off, so fans better be careful what they are asking for because Smith and Kubiak have developed a roster built for the long haul of a NFL season, and the playoff game showed their hard work.