Exasperating? Frustrating? Maddening? Perhaps. As long as you're putting that qualifier before "Houston Texans win," I'll take it. The Texans won a must-win game. On the road. Against a Dolphins squad that also had to win. That counts for a whole lot around these parts, particularly when you realize that Houston enters the final week of the season with the possibility of a playoff berth still in sight.
Granted, it's not the greatest of possibilities, what with Smithiak & Co. needing two of the Raiders, Chiefs, and/or Bengals to win. Plus, there's that pesky matter of having to beat the Patriots for Ravens-Raiders, Broncos-Chiefs, and/or Bengals-Jets to be of any consequence. In all our excitement over the thought of actual postseason football involving the Texans, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the dream ends if the Texans don't defeat arguably the most consistently excellent team of the last decade. Consequently, I'm not getting ahead of myself. Beat New England on Sunday, and then see what happens. On to some quick thoughts from yesterday's victory in Miami:
1. Best half of football in franchise history? Best half of football in franchise history.
2. Followed by the worst half of football in franchise history? No, not the worst. But it was execrable, and it's demonstrative of the Jekyll-Hyde nature of the Texans.
3. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that we witnessed an actual running attack, courtesy of Arian Foster, Ryan Moats, and an offensive line that blocked better than it has all season. Although the stats may have been gaudier in the win over Buffalo, handling the Dolphins is a much more impressive skin on the wall for the offensive line. Still...let's hold off on proclaiming Arian Foster the panacea to what ails the Texans' rushing game, shall we? We've been down this road before. One game does not a solution make.
4. Matt Schaub may well be the most underrated QB (or just player, period?) in the NFL. And I say that even after he appeared to lose some touch in the second half. Poets should write sonnets about Schaub's play in the first half.
5. I'm with LZ:
Kyle Shanahan did a terrific job of putting together a gameplan that isolated the Dolphins' LBs in man to man coverage as well as isolating the Dolphins rookie CBs. It's clear to anyone who watched the game that Shanahan (and Kubiak) saw plenty of game film that told them that they could have great success if they were able to get TE Dreesen in man coverage against the Dolphins LBs and that is exactly what happened.
6. Speaking of Joel Dreessen...yesterday was the first time since Owen Daniels went down that the Texans truly utilized the TE in the passing game, and it was a treat. It did help that Dreessen seemed to get the ball with no one within 10 yards of him, of course.
7. Good things seem to happen when Kyle Shanahan decides to get the ball into Andre Johnson's hands early in the game. Signed, Matt Millen.
8. Sometimes we get so fired up over Brian Cushing's ascendance (and man...Cushing has been a revelation) that we forget how unbelievable DeMeco Ryans is. Cap'n 'Meco's play yesterday was about as good as it gets. DeMeco could get "Pay Me, Rick!" tattooed on his forehead and I'd write a glowing review of the inkwork.
9. Seriously, Rick. Pay DeMeco Ryans.
10. I'm growing increasingly of the mind that the Texans should just line up on each sideline, crafting a runway to the end zone, instead of playing another snap in zone coverage. It would net the same result, and it'd get the ball back in the offense's hands quicker.
11. Dunta Robinson ought to send Lousaka Polite a gift card for letting him off the hook on that Ted Ginn TD. Imagine the rage against Dunta if that catch had stood and the Dolphins finished off the comeback.
12. Fake Game Balls: Offense--Matt Schaub; Defense--DeMeco Ryans; Special Teams--Kris Brown.
It's December 28th. Your Houston Texans have a winning record and a shot at the first ever winning season in franchise history. Your Houston Texans still have a shot at the playoffs. That, my friends, is good stuff.Texans vs Dolphins coverage