Final numbers from the victory over Detroit are here. I suppose I'd have to say that Sunday's win was better than the previous week's win, primarily because the offense looked simply unstoppable for a half against the Lions, while it was much more inconsistent throughout (cough...Schaub...cough) versus Miami. So that's a positive, I guess. On Sunday, after doing a reasonable impersonation of a pro-caliber defense in the first half (albeit one that had the fortune to face an offense led by Dan Orlovsky), Richard Smith's gang (especially the secondary) reverted to its typically awful ways in Half Two. What I want to know is this: When are we going to see a complete, thorough effort from your Houston Texans? Is it too much to ask? Is the defense even capable of providing that kind of performance? Why do I feel like these are rhetorical questions?
Lest I sound like I'm complaining too much, let me make clear that I'm ecstatic about a second win. Winning streaks for our beloved franchise are about as rare as quiet nights at home are for Pacman. I'm not turning my nose up at winning two in a row. The fact remains, however, that you're not going to beat many teams playing like the Texans did in the second half last Sunday. Good teams can afford the occasional lapse like that; struggling teams looking to put something together cannot. To the specifics:
1. I'm starting with the OL this week, and with good reason. Every week, I see the run-blocking improve. At this rate, the Texans are going to have a, dare I say, dominant running game by season's end. The pass-blocking was overwhelmingly good as well; the three (3) sacks surrendered looked to be more of the coverage variety than the smoked-off-the-snap vintage.
2. A bit confused as to the new Duane Brown-Ephraim Salaam rotation. It would have made a lot more sense at the beginning of the season. Now, it strikes me as odd, though there's no doubt that D. Brown has had trouble staying in front of the quicker DEs he's faced so far.
3. Tremendous bounceback game for The Schaub, one red zone fumble before the half aside (which proved to be costly from a momentum standpoint, as the offense stalled for much of the second half and generally looked a bit out of sync). Completing twenty-six (26) out of thirty-one (31) passes isn't something you see every day. Unless you're watching the Horns, of course. Again, I temper my enthusiasm with the caveat that it came at the expense of the Lions, but perhaps The Schaub Train is picking up steam after his dramatic game-winning scamper against the Fins?
4. Andre Johnson could catch the speed of light if he wanted to do so.
5. Owen Daniels finally got off the TD schneid in a big way. He's been so consistently good that I think I'm in danger of taking his excellence for granted.
6. In the Comments below, take a shot at listing all the current RB 1-2 punches in the NFL that you believe are better than Slaton-Green. Not better single RBs, mind you, but better RB tandems. I think you'll be amazed at how short the list is.
7. One more word on Slaton...he's already the second-best running back the franchise has ever had, and he's only six (6) games into his career. That's really exciting and terribly depressing at the same time.
8. If you weren't lucky enough to be at Sunday's game, check out this video someone taped of the defensive starter introductions. If you're pressed for time, fast forward to about 2:15 and watch Dunta's entrance; the team wisely introduced him even though he wasn't starting. I'm not ashamed to say I got a little choked up when I saw him jumping around after emerging from the tunnel. I don't know that we'll ever see anyone so happy to get back to work as Dunta was last Sunday.
9. Speaking of Dunta, he was most assuredly rusty; Mike Furrey had him beat far more often than not. It'll come, though. And it can't come soon enough, because...
10. Petey Faggins remembered he was Petey Faggins and played accordingly. The only, and I mean the ONLY, explanation for why Richard Smith would allow Petey to even get within five (5) yards of Calvin Johnson by himself is a botched lobotomy. It explains everything, really. Our defensive coordinator has been lobotomized and is scheming to reflect that. How else do you explan that Smith finally saw fit to call a couple of blitzes? You know he didn't do that willingly. The icepick did it. The icepick giveth (blitzing), and the icepick taketh away (assigning Petey Faggins to single-handedly hold C. Johnson).
11. Congratulations, Jacques Reeves. You were far from good, but your inadequacy was upstaged by Petey. Clever trick.
12. Will Demps looked really good in run support, though the concerns about the safety play in pass coverage remain.
13. The linebacking play, and specifically that of Zac Diles, seems to be improving each week. Shockingly, it really helps the pass rush when the linebackers are occasionally turned loose to pursue the QB, as evidenced by Diles' sack. Novel idea, I know, and I'm not even lobotomized.
14. Aside from a single long jaunt by Kevin Smith, the front seven did a fine job against the run.
16. Speaking of Bulman, note that he notched his first sack mere days after granting us an interview. Coincidence? I think not. Amobi, you know where to find us.
17. Exactly what sort of compromising pictures does Anthony Weaver have that merit him getting snaps, much less starting? What else do Bulman and/or Earl Cochran have to do?
18. Kris Brown has not missed a field goal in nearly ten (10) months.
19. Matt Turk was as responsible for the Texans holding on to win as any single player, with assists by Apostrophe Davis and Antwaun Molden. Three (3) punts downed inside the five yard line? Are you kidding me?
20. Fake Game Balls: Offense--Owen Daniels; Defense--Zac Diles; Special Teams--Matt Turk.
One winless team in the rearview mirror, and another one dead ahead. Don't get complacent, though...Cincinnati has some weapons in the passing game, and they're completely capable of exploiting the horrendous secondary we know and hate begrudgingly tolerate. It won't be easy.