A day later, I really don't feel any different than I did last night. I still maintain that Sage Rosenfels gave Indianapolis the game. I still maintain that the coaches and/or playcalling were not responsible for the loss, though I appreciate the solid back-and-forth that the two camps had going in the Comments to the previous post.
Regardless of how much affinity we have for the Texans, we will always remember yesterday for the last four (4) minutes in the fourth quarter. And that's a huge shame, because there were so many standout performances from other Texans. Although it's surely no consolation to Sage, I also think one Texan in particular should send Sage a cash basket in appreciation for keeping the suck spotlight off of him. Let's get to it:
1. The reason the Texans looked like a complete football team for the first time this season was due entirely to the appearance of an element that's been absent nearly the entire season. That magical component? A pass rush. Your Houston Texans, and specifically their front four, got consistent pressure on Peyton Manning and knocked him on his rear throughout the game. Super Mario notched two (2) sacks and was in Peyton's kitchen all afternoon, disrupting the flow of the Indy offense. We've come to expect that from Mario, so that's not a big surprise. But you know who did show up for the first time this season?
2. Amobi Okoye! He got more penetration than we've seen all season; he was getting to and knocking down Peyton consistently in the second half. Could yesterday have been Amobi's arrival as a force to be reckoned with, like Super Mario did against Kansas City last year?
3. Linebacking play was far better than it's been all season, too. While DeMeco is always going to be a stalwart, I was impressed with how well Zac Diles and (gasp!) Morlon Greenwood played. Greenwood in particular made some nice tackles at the line of scrimmage and slightly behind it.
4. That brings me to another crucial point: The tackling was infinitely better yesterday than it's been all season. The Texans wrapped up and generally didn't let the opposition squirm away, unlike their efforts the previous three (3) games.
5. Was it just me, or did anyone else think we got better safety play from the "reserves" than we have from Brown and Demps?
6. Fred Bennett had a couple of very nice plays, though I'm not sure that each one called for a celebration akin to having won the Super Bowl. Hopefully, like Amobi, this is the start of something big.
7. The worst player on the field whenever the Colts had the ball was easily Jacques Reeves. If not for Sage monopolizing the fanbase's scorn, Reeves' insistence on continuing to play CB as if he has no arms and wearing a neck brace would be the overriding negative of the game. He's simply awful, and he's clearly the weakest link in a weak secondary. It's only a slight exaggeration to say that I'd rather have Dunta Robinson hobbling around on crutches out there instead of Reeves at 100%.
8. In the rare event that Pepe Le Pew has any defenders, please do not point to the pass he "knocked away" in the end zone in the first half. Marvin Harrison had Reeves beat; Peyton simply underthrew that ball. Frenchy wouldn't have been able to lay a hand on it if he'd actually been in good position. That's not good corner play. But congratulations, Jacques Reeves. You've done the impossible. You've made me long for Petey Faggins to get more snaps. Do you know how dirty that makes me feel?
9. Seriously...I'd rather have Petey Faggins, who I thought was the worst DB in the league, get more playing time than a free agent acquisition inked to a multi-year deal mere months ago. Chew on that for a bit, and then try not to vomit.
10. The offensive line, both in run and pass blocking, was superb. Duane Brown in particular did an admirable job holding off Dwight Freeney. Freeney beat him a couple of times, but I thought the rookie acquitted himself in tremendous fashion. And did you see how Brown was sprinting after Gary Brackett after Sage's first fumble? Talk about heart.
11. The next decent snap Bryan Pittman makes will be the first I've seen in a month. How has he not been cut yet?
12. Steve Slaton continues to look like he was the steal of the draft. I honestly could not be any happier with him.
13. Was that Ahman Green I saw running hard between the tackles? And not pulling up lame? I must have been drunk.
14. 'Dre--Nine (9) catches for 131 yards and a TD. He's back.
15. Quick: Name five (5) current tight ends you'd rather have than Owen Daniels. Can you do it? Because I can't.
16. As a whole, the offense looked like a well-oiled machine. Well, at least until the unpleasantness at the end, that is.
17. Fake Game Balls: Offense--Andre Johnson; Defense--Mario Williams; Special Teams--Kris Brown (with a special nod to Kevin Bentley, whose special teams play is becoming a consistent rave every week).
18. I'll leave you with an observation from my buddy Jay. You remember Jay; he become a bit of a legend around these parts after his conduct in Nashville last year. When we met up after the game, Jay attempted to express his feelings on the loss. I can assure you I am only barely paraphrasing here when I report that he uttered the following line:
If today's game was a hurricane, I feel like my house got blown away. And then I was raped by looters.Ahhhh, Texans fandom. Bring on the Dolphins, I guess.