Wow. Everybody put your defibrillators away; I’ll give you a second to catch your breath. None of that would be constituted as pretty, but in the NFL a win is a win. Also, at 4-2 the Texans are guaranteed to have at least a share of first place in the AFC South going into the bye. Now that we have gotten the pleasantries out of the way, get ready for some not so nice words about your beloved Houston Texans.
This defense is one of the worst I’ve seen in detail in my life. Kudos for coming up with the stop so the offense can win, but the ugly truth is that it would have been a lot worse if Matt Cassel had capitalized on the lacking coverage more. Today, it just got a lot worse with the loss of DeMeco Ryans. No word yet on the severity of his injury, but Achilles injuries usually aren’t minor. For a more in depth look at the game that was, follow after the jump.
Let’s get all of the negatives out of the way. As noted above, this was far from a good game for the defense. The feeling I have right now after that game does not equate to 31 points given up, which isn’t a small number to begin with. Not only did Matt Cassel become the latest quarterback to have a phenomenal game against the Texans secondary (20-29, 201 yds, 3 TD’s), but the defense was gashed for 228 yards on the ground. The Chiefs are an impressive running team, but the Texans aided that effort with poor tackling and soft zones that allowed easy, short passes to extend drives on third downs.
These defensive flaws are going to hinder the team all year. The Texans did not tally a sack until the last play of the game when it was Hail Mary time. As opposed to a lot of games this year, the Texans weren’t able to pressure the quarterback either. This further exposed a secondary that has a hard time covering for three seconds, much less six or seven. Mario Williams has to step up. He was obviously held on a couple of plays that weren’t called, but he still needs to provide more of an impact than he did today.
Speaking of the secondary, it’s not looking any better. By my estimation, we have one defensive back that might start for another team; Glover Quin. Bernard Pollard is a great run support safety but is a liability in coverage and is prone for emotionally inspired lapses of judgment like the late hit penalty today. Kareem Jackson may warrant his first round selection some day, but right now he doesn’t look physically insufficient IMO, but he often looks lost. Lastly, Eugene Wilson is BAD. When he whiffed on Dwayne Bowe on his dump-off pass turned touchdown, I would have been happy to see him cut on the spot.
The Offense played much better, but had some problems of their own. If you looked at the stats from the first half, they were impressive but they did not match the production on the field. The major problem that the O seems to have is sustaining drives. I’m glad that in the second half they established a rhythm, but at this point it almost has to be near perfect to win games and will be playing from behind often.
On a positive note, the offensive line did well in protection today and Matt Schaub played lights out. He has improved vastly with his ability to extend plays yet knowing when to get rid of the ball. He seemed to twist his ankle a bit on one of the two sacks he suffered, but managed to play through whatever pain came from that ding. In addition to protecting Schaub, the offensive line opened some nice holes for Arian Foster and Derrick Ward. Derrick Ward’s effort today was a good metaphor for the Texans at large; not pretty, but at the end of the day it just worked.
The Chiefs and Brandon Flowers might have a legitimate complaint against the pass interference call, but before they complain too much, Dre didn’t go for all 138 yards on that play. One call didn’t lose the game, especially because it came on second down and the Chiefs simply couldn’t stop the Texans pass attack at that point. I am impressed by how good their defense is this year, but bad calls from the refs don’t lead to 35 points. Just saying.
So with all the doom and gloom out of the way, I’m proud of this team. Prepare for cliché that’s true in 3...2…1… It takes a lot of heart to hang in and come back in a game like the one today. No matter how it was accomplished, I think that most of us would be happy to know the team would be 4-2 going into the bye before the season. The Texans now head into a much needed two week break to get healthy and regroup on a positive note. They need to figure out how to fix this defense with the likes of San Diego, Philadelphia, New York Jets, Baltimore and Denver coming up, plus the rest of the division. Hope it’s a productive bye week.