"Watch Out. Here Come The Texans"--Houston v. Carolina Postgame Breakdown

I think Amobi Okoye said it all here:

"I tell you what -- we have something special here," said rookie defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, who registered the first two sacks of his career. "We really do have something special here. And coming on the road and winning is a real big thing.

"Watch out. Here come the Texans."

What else can you say?  First 2-0 start in franchise history.  Most points scored in franchise history.  Scoring 31 unanswered points.  On the road.  After being down 14-0.  To a team that many pundits picked to make some noise in the NFC.  To put it in context...I think it's the third biggest win in franchise history, behind the inaugural win over Dallas, and last season's Christmas Eve win over the Colts.  Bottom line is that your Houston Texans showed the kind of guts and, more importantly, got the kind of results, that have been in extremely short supply since the franchise took the field for the first time on September 8, 2002.  So let's take a closer look at yesterday's amazing game...

  1.  Although there was no shortage of standout performances yesterday, the headline, to me, has to be the defense.  In particular, the run defense.  Do you realize the Panthers racked up one (1!) first down via the rush all day?  And only had 66 total yards on the ground?  That is insane.  It seemed like every time a Panther got the ball in the backfield, there was a swarm of Texans converging on him.  It was truly a sight to see.
  2.  Keeping the focus on that defensive line...that Okoye kid sure is a bust, huh?  I'm no accountant, but I count four (4) sacks, one (1) forced fumble, one (1) fumble recovery, one (1) TD, and eleven (11) tackles in two (2) games between The Biggest Draft Blunder In The History Of Sport and this year's horrible mistake.  Allow me to be the first to say it...keep on being terrible, fellas.
2(a).  The stat line shows that Super Mario only recorded one tackle and defended only one pass, but anyone that watched the game knows what a beast he was.  I counted no less than three (3) times that he was oh-so-close to removing Jake Delhomme's head from his body.

2(b).  Welcome back, Anthony Weaver.

2(c).  You know what I like best about Anthony Maddox?  No, it's not his ability to deliver furniture.  It's the sacks.  Hear that, Travis Johnson?

2(d).  Cedric Killings played like his hair was on fire in limited action.  I loved it.

  1.  How much of a stud are you when your seven (7) tackles (including a couple of drive killing snuffs at the line of scrimmage) is simply seen as an average day at the office?  Ask DeMeco.
  2.  Do not sleep on Von Hutchins.  Ideally, you don't want your safety notching eleven (11) tackles; it usually means you're getting beat badly.  But Von's 11 weren't like that.
4(a).  Seriously, that is easily the quietest 11 tackle performance I've ever seen.  I'm not even sure if Steve Tasker knew who he was.
  1.  Will Demps just makes plays.  I mean, "play."  He would've done more, but he is still getting caught up on the scheme.  And by "getting caught up on the scheme," I mean "making the sheets at the Charlotte Airport Ramada reek of Drakkar Noir."
  2.  Dunta Robinson is a Pro Bowler.  I don't need another fourteen (14) games to determine this.
  3.  Petey Faggins, on the other hand, is not a Pro Bowler.  He is, however, an All Star when it comes to making me question the existence of a kind and benevolent Creator.  And he's All World when it comes to making me drink angry.  When I need a liver transplant in five (5) years, I'm sending him, Phillip Buchanon, and Matt Stevens the bill.
7(a).  Uhhhhh...that second TD by Steve Smith?  That attempt at a tackle gave me a flashback of P-Buc's "ole!" effort against the Steelers in the home opener of the 2005 season.  And then I passed out.

7(b).  But I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Petey was the one who caused the fumble that Kevin Walter recovered in the endzone.  So he's got that going for him, which is nice.

  1.  I've never felt as strongly about a punter as I do about Matt Turk.  After those two (2) pins at the one yard line, I'm disturbingly close to commissioning Michael Bolton to write a song about him.  Something original, too.  Like "When A Man Loves A Punter."
  2.  Kris Brown is...automatic?  I don't want to jinx this, particularly with what is sure to be a week's worth of highlights of his FG to win the Colts game as time expired last season.
  3.  Jacoby Jones is close to breaking one.  I can feel it.
10(a).  Call me stupid, but I think that Jacoby's presence is pushing Jerome Mathis to be better too.  He seems to be returning kicks with a renewed sense of purpose.  Or maybe it's just that Kubes told him he can't have his motorcycle back until he scores a TD.  Either way, I'm happy.

11.  The offensive line was, in a word, effingamazing.  The Schaub wasn't sacked, and you can count the number of times he was even touched on one hand.

11(a).  Steve McKinney simply dominated.  After last week's down performance, that's a great sign.

11(b).  Kris Jenkins, who scared the bejeezus out of me going into yesterday's game, was harmless.  Completely neutralized, which I never would have guessed.

11(c).  After that first drive, I didn't hear Julius Peppers' name again.  We have Ephraim Salaam to thank for that, folks.  And if he can shut Peppers down, I feel damn good about how he'll fare week in and week out.

12.  There's so much to love about The Schaub that I don't even know where to start.  The quick release?  The unflappable calm, even in the face of a two TD deficit?  The willingness to stand strong in the pocket until the last possible second (e.g., the first TD pass to 'Dre)?  The fact that his hair isn't long enough to merit a ponytail?  His steadfast refusal to don dainty white gloves that would be better suited for a tea party than a football game?  I'm not sure.  I just know that I feel like a complete idiot for ever questioning whether Smithiak gave up too much for him.

12(a).  As The Schaub said after throwing that INT (that was reversed), "I promise that won't happen again."

13.  That Ahman Green fellow (15 carries, 71 yards, 1 TD) sure is past his prime.

13(a).  Shoulda drafted Reggie who?

13(b).  Few things make me happier than watching Ron Dayne fall forward for three yards at a time when the Texans are winning.  When he began staying in for every snap in the late third quarter, you knew the Panthers were going to get all they could take of the Dayne Diet.

  1.  Probably the most underrated option on the Texans offense?  Vonta Leach.  He is a legitimate option catching screens out of the backfield.  He had five (5) catches yesterday for 26 yards.
  2.  Nice recovery by Owen Daniels after that initial fumble.  Shows you that the guy won't let himself get beat down.
  3.  Andre Johnson is one of the three (3) best wide receivers in the NFL.  End of discussion.  That said, I really hope he doesn't rush back from the knee sprain; 'Dre is far too important to this offense to risk greater injury by coming back too soon.  If he's healthy on Sunday, great...get him out there.  But if he's not...the season is a marathon, not a sprint.  I'd rather have him at 100% in November than on the IR in October.
  4.  Kubes for Coach of the Year.
  5.  Rick Smith for Executive of the Year.
  6.  Smithiak for Exoach of the Year.
  7. Fake Game Balls:  On Defense--Amobi Okoye.  On Offense--The Offensive Line.  On Special Teams--Matt Turk.
  8. Bring on the champs.  They'll be favored to win, as they should be. But Sunday should be a lot of fun.
This is what football season is supposed to be about...a legitimate chance to win every game.  For the first time since the team's inception, the Texans have that chance, largely because they're winning the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball.  I could not be any more stoked.
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