No, yesterday was not a dream. It happened. You can take a deep breath and let yourself smile. The Houston Texans will be playing playoff football. The Houston Texans are the 2011 AFC South champions. The Houston Texans will host at least one playoff game at Reliant Stadium.
As great as it is, it is time to press on. The AFC South championship is nice, but there is still a first round bye, home field advantage, conference championship, and Lombardi Trophy to play for. It is time for the Texans to start gearing up to go 1-0 this week.
Likewise, I am also moving back into that "business as usual" mindset as we prepare to name the 10th(!) Unsung Hero of the season. Before we name that man, I will say that it is not quarterback T.J. Yates.
Yates played well, but he has had articles on him everywhere. Unsung means unsung, so I will stick to that by giving some praise to someone who has not heard any....but attaboy, T.J. That is how you get the job done (and how you make me look good since I mock-drafted you to Houston back in the day).
Now make a champion-like jump and find out who is this week's Unsung Heroes. YES! Heroes because I have two worthy of such an honor.
This week there are two guys who have not received the praise they should have.
The first earns it for a majorly important play - right tackle Eric Winston.
The offensive line had a mixed game (allowed five sacks yet helped churn out 144 rushing yards to the tune of 5.1 yards per carry), but Winston's game-saving fumble recovery has gone largely unnoticed.
With 11:35 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Texans started their second-to-last drive of the game on their own 25. It was a controversial play, but Yates passed to Arian Foster who "fumbled." Bengals DT and former TDC draft crush Geno Atkins "recovered" and (thanks to Chris Myers who gets an honorable mention here) "fumbled," which is how Winston recovered at the two-yard line. If Winston doesn't recover, the Texans don't go on to kick that needed field goal and worse, the Bengals probably get the game-sealing touchdown. It was a big play that made a huge impact.
As for the second Unsung Hero, Kevin Walter had himself a fine game (as someone predicted). The effort on the touchdown pass is not the reason he won himself a share of this fictitious honor, as it came on blown coverage, but Walter, as he typically does, came through with reliable hands and big plays all day - six receptions for 76 yards, with four first downs and the aforementioned game-winning, division-winning touchdown pass. With all this "get a receiver" talk, it certainly does add to the unsungedness of Mr. Walter.
With that wonderfully written work about winning Texans, Kevin Walter and Eric Winston are named this week's Unsung Heroes of the division championship clinching week!
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