EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.– On the prime time stage that is known as Monday Night Football, the Houston Texans stole the show from the media loved New York Jets, winning 23-17. The Jets, playing like a team with their backs against the wall, had a win-at-all-costs mentality. The Jets faked a punt, attempted an onside kick, and even managed to get their best cornerback on the field as a wide receiver – all to no avail.
When asked about the mentality of the Jets, Kubiak said, “We knew we came in here with a team that was really backed into the corner, so to speak, coming out of last week. We were going to get everything. They threw the kitchen sink at us from onside kicks to fake punts, you name it. So we got it all and I thought we really were handling ourselves well.”
Offensive Player of the Game
In our Texans to Watch Jets Edition, we outlined that if the Texans were going to win this game, the offensive line would need to create running lanes for Arian Foster. Foster, this week’s Offensive Player of the Game, finished with a game high 152 yards on 29 carries and one touchdown. Probably his most significant run of the game came when the game was tied 7-7 and the Texans were pinned on their own 4 yard line – Foster took a Schaub handoff through the left side, cutting up the middle for a 46 yard gain. Foster carried the ball nine times for 100 yards in a first half that saw the Texans take a 17-7 lead into halftime. They never trailed the Jets, and the run game allowed the Texans to chew up over 35 minutes of time of possession, which was the difference maker.
When asked about his performance, Foster said, “It's always good to perform well on the Monday Night Football stage. But, it was a total team effort and a good win for our team.”
Kubiak was less modest when asked about Foster’s game, “He was exceptional. I really challenged him last week. He’s what makes us go. He stepped up and rose to the challenge. He’s been close all year long, he hadn’t had any big plays but he found some big plays tonight and I think that was the big thing.”
Also in this game, Foster became the fifth fastest back to reach 5,000 rushing yards, which puts him in Hall of Fame company. However, in typical Foster fashion, he was asked about the feat and said, “That’s from a collective effort with my teammates. It's one of those things that if you play the game with everything in you, you can accomplish those things. But that's just an individual accolade, you play to win games.”
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Defensive Player of the Game
In our Texans to Watch Jets Edition we focused on the linebacker play as a key component to stopping the Jets. The Texans’ linebackers were exceptional. Brian Cushing started the game with 5 tackles in 20 minutes until he left with a possible season ending injury. Fellow inside backer, Bradie James stepped up and led the Texans with 8 total tackles and registered half a sack. Outside linebackers Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed also played well and combined for at least 3 batted balls. Reed also contributed with a sack. The linebackers played well as a unit and helped seal the victory but this week’s Defensive Player of Game is J.J. Watt, again. He finished with 6 tackles and one crucially timed third down sack, but his greatest affect on the game was his pass deflecting ability.
In some estimations, Watt single handedly kept at least 10 points off the Jets’ scoreboard. One, the tipped ball before halftime that resulted in a Brice McCain interception and ultimate Texans’ field goal could have been 3 points for the Jets, giving them at least a six-point swing. And two, the near Watt interception later in the game appeared destined for a wide open Jet receiver in the end zone.
After the game, the always colorful Jets’ coach Rex Ryan said, “That JJ Watt’s the real deal. I think the Knicks should pick him up too with all the shot-blocking he did. It’s not like he doesn’t do it to everybody, but he certainly did it tonight. He’s an excellent football player.”
Now the country knows who J.J. Watt is.
But, that didn’t stop ESPN from bombarding fans with Rex Ryan's post game interview, Jets highlights and analysis, Mark Sanchez's interview, and Tim Tebow’s interview all sandwiched around three minutes with Arian Foster on the Monday Night Football set with Trent Dilfer and Steve Young. Still no respect but that’s okay, the Texans just keep winning.
The game was probably a little bit closer than the Texans would have liked, but when the dust settled in the Meadowlands of New Jersey, the Texans came away with their undefeated record intact for another week.
Next up, the Packers on NBC’s Sunday Night Football at Reliant Stadium.