After a sluggish first half with a minuscule 7-6 lead, your Houston Texans came out a much sharper and consistent football team to pull away from the Buffalo Bills for a 21-9 victory. With the victory, the Texans move to a franchise and AFC best 7-1 on the 2012 NFL season.
The game's biggest storyline was, of course, the return of Mario Williams to Reliant Stadium. After a near two weeks of hype, Williams just amounted for five tackles and one sack. Right tackle Derek Newton handled Williams one-on-one for nearly the entire day, aside from the one sack made on a nice inside move.
The franchise's new pass rushing phenom, J.J. Watt, continued his torrid pace to the NFL Defensive Player of the Year by adding a sack, his 10.5 of the season. With the sack, Watt became only the 11th man in NFL history to have 10-plus sacks and 10-plus passes defensed in a single season. He has done in half a season what 10 other men did in a full season, think about that.
The Bulls On Parade, while not looking like their normal, blitz-happy selves, held the Bills to three field goals on the day. Outside linebacker Connor Barwin picked up his second sack of the year, as did the rookie Whitney Mercilus, while six other Texans batted or tipped a pass. Mercilus stripped Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for a forced fumble, which was recovered by returning safety Quintin Demps. The Mercilus-Demps fumble was the lone takeover on the day for either defense.
In other offensive news, wide receiver Andre Johnson showed that those predicting his demise were a bit premature. On 10 targets, Johnson caught 8 passes for 118 yards and seven first downs. The 100-yard performance was the 40th in Johnson's esteemed career. Running back Arian Foster added 111 yards and a rushing touchdown, his 10th on the season, while quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns to Badgers. The first touchdown was a 39-yard strike to Owen Daniels, his career-high fifth of the season, and a six-yard toss to Garrett Graham, the first of his NFL career, was the second.
Houston still had some special teams gaffes, in the form of penalties, some bad returner decisions, and a blocked field goal attempt, but the Texans shook off the mistakes and bye week rust to move to 7-1. Now, they move on for a week 10 date with the balanced Chicago Bears on NBC's Sunday Night Football. Battle Red Blog will have more on the victory later and over the next few days.
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