The fine folks at Gillette --- makers of the incomparable Fusion ProGlide Power, which could probably shave a clan of badgers if you needed it to --- have sponsored a new series of posts that will run through the end of the regular season. The concept is simple: I pick what I think were the five most important defensive plays from the previous game, and you vote for the play that you think was truly the dog's bollocks. (If that explanation is not clear enough, see this post for an example.)
This week's selection comes from the first Texans game since week 1 that did not see a Texans player log an interception. All the same, there were some big moments. So jump and vote already.
1. Connor Barwin's sack-fumble. Early in the third quarter, Texans trailing 16-3, Barwin came flying around the left tackle and attacked Andy Dalton's right hand just as the Gingerslinger was about to bring the ball up to throw. The resulting fumble was recovered by Brooks Reed, and T.J. Yates led the team down the field in short order, hitting Joel Dreessen for a TD.
2. Chris Myers' forced fumble. After the farcical "fumble" by Arian Foster in the 4th quarter, Geno Atkins picked up the loose ball and headed for the endzone. Chris Myers gave chase and, after Yates slowed Atkins by diving into the DT's knees, forced a fumble that was ultimately recovered by Eric Winston. While calling Foster's drop a fumble was ridiculous, Myers' effort shouldn't be discounted just because the officials are idiots.
3. The Texans' team effort in holding the Bengals to a FG after Cedric Benson's 42-yard run. The Party-Boat-and-Sunchips enthusiast had just ripped off the second-longest run of the season against the Texans' D, setting up the Bengals with 1st & Goal from the 1. Prior to the next play, Bobbie Williams got flagged for a false start, moving the Bengals back to the Houston 6. From there, the Bengals were shut down on three straight plays --- Glover Quin dropped Benson for no gain, Brice McCain made a very nice tackle on a quick two-yard pass to Andre Caldwell, and Johnathan Joseph broke up a pass at the goalline to Caldwell (that really should have been a 100-yard pick six). Result: Bengals come away with only a field goal.
4. Johnathan Joseph's 4th Quarter defense of A.J. Green. It wasn't JoJo's best game overall, mainly because A.J. Green is an otherworldly being who makes catches even when bracketed by perfectly positioned double coverage. Nevertheless, in the 4th quarter, immediately after the Texans' failed 4th-down play, Joseph made a nice open field tackle on Green for a 2-yard pickup on 2nd & 13, and he defended a pass on the very next play as Dalton looked for Green deep down the right sideline. The Texans got the ball back and marched down for FG to cut the lead to 6.
5. Shaun Cody's pass defended. Fourth quarter, the Bengals' second possession, immediately after the Texans scored a TD. On 2nd & 11, Cody got his hands up and knocked Dalton's pass to the turf. The way he celebrated, you'd think he hadn't been a massive hole of absolute suck through the first half.