As you most of you know, I am a huge New Orleans Saints fan. I also have to admit that the Houston Texans are my favorite AFC Team. I picked them to win the AFC South this year and do well in the playoffs. I was extremely proud to see how well the Texans did against the Saints. It was a hard fought game and I believe that they took a lot away from this game that will help them in the future. They jumped out to an early lead, but everyone in the league knows that even if the Saints are down by three TD’s, they can come back and beat you by double digits, just ask Miami about that game in 2009. Anyway, the Texans did well, and even though I normally only do this for the Saints, I felt inclined to present the following write-up in honor of how well they did. Without further adieu, here is the AAAC for the Houston Texans.
Anger, Accolades and Areas of Concern
Offense: Most specifically the Red Zone offense. Out of 6 trips to the Red Zone, only 2 resulted in TD’s. 4 out of 6 trips resulted in field goals, and when you play the Saints, if you kick field goals in the Red Zone on 66% of the trips, expect to lose. Not only did they get stopped in the Red Zone, they got stopped inside the 10 yard line 4 times. Of those trips inside the 10, 2 of the stops occurred on the 4 yard line. It is almost embarrassing to see that many Red Zone field goals when the Texans moved the ball so easily through the rest of the field. They went to the well one too many times against Jabari Greer and watched him knock down two passes and intercept Schaub giving the ball back to the Saints and Drew Brees.
Defense: Most specifically the 4th quarter defense. It did not look like the defense came to play the whole game. It almost looked like they gave up as soon as the third quarter finished. They have to finish the game, all four quarters, if they expect to win. The defense gave up 23 points in the 4th quarter alone. They can get away with playing that way against this year’s Colts, Jags and Titans, but if they expect to beat the Saints, they have to shut them down in the 4th quarter. The Run Defense appeared to look great, but the true story is they were not. The Saints ran the ball a total of 19 times, not counting the times Drew Brees took a knee. They rushed for 105 yard on 19 carries, which averages 5.5 yards per carry. Two runs were TD’s – Mark Ingram had a 13 yard score and Darren Sproles had a 30 Yard score. When you look at the passing defense, you find 2 INT’s. Those were gifts from the Saints receivers running incorrect routes, and they can bet that incorrect route running will not happen again if they meet them in the playoffs, which would mean the Super Bowl. I don’t see them making the Super Bowl if the defense continues to give up 40 points and 454 yards to teams like they did the Saints.
Offense: The Offense put up 33 points and 473 total yards, and in efforts like that they should expect to win. Schaub, for the most part, ripped the Saints Defense apart. A large part of that was having time to throw, and the Offensive Line did a great job at keeping him protected from Gregg Williams’ various pressure and blitz schemes. The average passing yards per attempt was 9.6, and that is a pretty good average in the passing game. The receivers ran routes crisply and effectively, the running game averaged 4.4 yards per carry which is extremely well considering Foster didn’t even play.
Defense: For three quarters, the defense looked like they had the Saints shut down. They had them figured out, and knew how to limit everything they did. They sacked Drew Brees twice, they intercepted Drew Brees twice. They had a clamp down on the receivers, had made corrections to limit the running game and force Brees to drop back and unload before he was ready. If it weren’t for the 4th quarter, this would have been a win.
Special Teams: 4 Field Goals ranging from 22 yards – 36 yards. Kicker did his job, NUFF SAID!
Areas of Concern –
Coaching: Did someone remove Kubiak’s testicles? He was in the Red Zone 4 times that he walked away with Field Goals. At some point he has got to think that kicking that many field goals against a high powered offense is going to lose the game, so maybe he should have went for the TD on 2 of the four trips that resulted in field goals. I would normally put penalties in its own category, but I am breaking away from that. Penalties are the product of anxiety and sloppy play, which both should be remedied by proper preparation and coaching. The Texans gave the Saints a total of 56 yard on 7 penalties, two of which resulted in first downs. There were two other instances where defenders fish-hooked Saints players’ helmets and I bet if they do it again, it will get called. These are things that Wade Phillips and Gary Kubiak both need to work on with the team, to limit the opportunities that they give opposing teams.
Offensive Player of the Game - Matt Schaub
Defensive Player of the Game - JJ Watt