I finally got to watch and think about every minute of this weeks game and I am nothing but excited. Sure the score says it was 31-12, but that's not what I saw on the field. I saw a solid exciting football team playing their hearts out.
The Texans have faced 2 of the nastiest challenges possible back to back and have gotten better each week. They to Pittsburgh and got buried, but gave them a few good licks. And then the Texans got battered by Hurricane Ike before taking the field on the road again to battle the Titans.
And battle they did. I don't think I saw a single play where I wondered "what in the hell are they doing". I was cheering into the final seconds.
Many congratulations are deserved this week. First and foremost, Gary Kubiak for having the balls to go for it on 4th down 6 times. This was an all out dog fight. What better way to show your players that you have confidence in them than to let them make a play. The Texans didn't catch as many breaks as they needed, but they still made huge plays, especially on 4th down. Keep calling them Kubiak.
Whatever it was that got him to call this game the way he did, please, please let it happen again. Our defense blitzed and pressured all game. Yes, we didn't have any huge game changing plays this week, but there was real life there. There was a real defense on the field. Most plays 5-6 guys were crossing the line of scrimmage. The Texans gave up some coverage and Collins found some holes, but they kept battering him. By the second quarter, he was sweating profusely and breathing heavily. Several of his throws were off target and several plays, both runs and passes, were blown up. That's the kind of Texans defense I want to see.
Whether it was Kubiak or Shanahan calling the offense, they did worlds better this week. They got Schaub moving and it showed in the line play. The offensive line was much better in their protection. Most importantly, especially with our undersized mobile line, we had the Titans big fat men, running around laboring for breath. At one point we even chased Albert Haynesworth off the field.
Another thing they did well was adjust the play calling. For some reason they started Schaub with 5-7 step drops and the Titans were getting to him. By the second quarter they had switched to 3 step drops and screens which was really tearing up the Titans defense.
Third, they tried several different things and stuck with what worked. There were no vanilla formations for the Texans. They showed several different looks and both ran and passed out of them. The Titans defense was noticeably slowed until the 4th quarter when they could pin their ears back.
Fourth, Kubiak's philosophy is starting to get traction. Schaub had several good bootlegs. The running game actually worked this week and Kubiak was able to execute a few of his favorite plays off of it.
Lastly, They absolutely attacked the end zone. They ran plays attacking the end zone from all over the field. If any of those plays and scored, this would be an entirely different game. None the less, they attacked over and over again. The Texans will score on these plays.
Offense and defense both played a great game. A loss to a division opponent sucks, but I've never been happier about where an 0-2 team is.
More on some individual players after the jump.
He played a great game. He's not Cortland Finnegan, but he made some of the same plays. Early on the Texans got to Collins and forced the quick throw. Reeves jumped the route and had a great pick. He got beat a few times, but he played hard all game. Staying aggressive up front will let him stay in position to attack the ball.
He showed up in several sideline shots celebrating big plays with the team. He was dressed in street clothes, but it was hard to miss him. He congratulated the DBs on any of their big plays and was always talking to the defense when they came off the field. This is a team player. I can't wait to see him out on the field.
He seems to be mostly playing special teams right now, but his name was called several times this week. He made himself Chris Carr's best friend. Running up and hugging him repeatedly. He didn't break the starting lineup, but he's out there making plays wherever he can. Kudos.
He's getting a feel for how to be a play-making LB. He was in on several plays. He's giving the Texans solid SLB play right now. If he can step up his game one more notch, he'll be making game changing plays. Speaking of game-changing plays, he did force a fumble.
Is he a ninja? I saw 3 plays where his leg came up and it looked like he was kicking someone. I may go back and watch him tackle. He may need to work on it a little. I could swear he tried to stop Chris Johnson with his leg at one point.
A very quiet, but solid, game from this guy. He's showing a real veteran's savvy. He came up on several plays and touched the ball carrier to be sure he was down. He's not a rangy safety, but he'll make decent plays. Only knock I have on him is that on some of his tackles he went low rather than wrap the ball carrier up.
There could be several reasons for his mood given all that happened, but he wasn't his usual dominating self until late in the game. He wasn't the guy that demands double teams. I don't know how difficult to catch any of the several drops he had in the game were, but any of them, especially in the end zone would have been huge in this game. There was a major contrast later in the game when the Texans were going for 4th downs, AJ stepped up his game and it showed. I hope whatever it was that was holding him back isn't there when they go to Jacksonville next week.
An average game from him all around. He made plays on offense and in the return game. I think he was pretty solid and didn't benefit from coverages being rolled toward AJ so he came out and played.
There were a few plays where it was Andre Johnson, Andre Davis and Owen Daniels on the field in various I forms. I thought this was awesome. They attacked the end zone over and over in this game. Putting deep threats on both sides of the formation said they were going for it.
5'9" 203 lbs of pure awesome. This guy is a weapon. He carved the Titans defense on several plays. The Texans will need to find another RB to spell him, but Slaton is a scoring threat. He had 3 huge plays for 10+ yds as well as grinding out much of the difficult yardage including a 4th down conversion and a TD.
More players in another post.
Some kudos for the Titans
They did 2 things amazingly well. They got the whole world believing that Kerry Collins was going to sit in the pocket all day. They ran several plays that were obviously designed for Vince Young. The first couple times, Collins caught the Texans defense napping as he bootlegged and sprinted down the field.
The other thing they did that was deeply annoying to watch was stack 3 WRs trips left and have Collins roll right with Chris Johnson going out into the flat. This play worked over and over. It gave Collins options to throw to down field and if nothing was open, a good dump off option in Chris Johnson.