Unsung Hero: Overdosin' On Owen Daniels

"Golly gee whiz! I'm finally sung!"

As always, a victory by the Houston Texans leads to a Monday morning acknowledgement of the unsung or forgotten man who played a significant role in the recent victory.

Yesterday's 17-10 victory over the defending AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers was a good win for this team, especially since Houston seemed to learn its lesson about finishing on both sides of the ball from the previous week. Mario Williams and Antonio Smith deservedly got their praise for showing up in the pass rush, Connor Barwin's received a lot of acknowledgement for his best game of the season, and Arian Foster's incredible performance has garnered a lot of headlines.

Who does that leave? Another post about the incredible offensive line? An attaboy for Mr. Brice McCain for a beautiful downed punt late in the fourth quarter? Worthy for sure, but there's one guy whose performance has been overshadowed both yesterday and the entire season (thanks to an improved defense and emergence of James Casey and Ben Tate). It's time we show some love for Owen Daniels by jumping.

I am still in amazement that Daniels has regained everything that he was from before his 2009 ACL tear, partly because I had written him off after his third such injury. I was wrong and can admit that. OD's speed has returned, and he's still just as capable as finding open space, which he showed during Sunday's game. Five catches for 69 yards and a touchdown isn't setting the stat world on fire, but those catches came at critical moments.

Three of Daniels' five receptions went for first downs. During the dominant opening drive, OD kept the drive alive with an 18-yard catch on 3rd and 10. Later on in the same drive, Daniels would sneak open and catch his third touchdown of the season.

During Houston's second touchdown drive, Daniels converted another 3rd down to keep the drive alive. The very next play was a big 30-yard strike from Schaub to his favorite tight end before Daniels would make his biggest play of the game.

When you watch Arian Foster's game-winning 42-yard touchdown, look at who makes the key block to free him. What you will see is Owen Daniels run up the seam, square himself up, and knock inside linebacker James Farrior back about four or five yards, which is enough to clear the cut-back lane for Foster to scamper into the end zone. OD's not known as the greatest of blockers, but he got the job done when it needed to be done.

A man who was absolutely critical in both touchdown drives should not go forgotten and unsung. For that, we salute tight end Owen Daniels - week four's unsung hero.

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