Now that is how you play a complete football game. Offense, defense, and Shane Lechler were all on point in the Texans' 24-3 drubbing of their in-state rivals this afternoon as Houston’s second, third, and fourth stringers flexed the collective muscle of Houston’s deep reserves. There is no doubt that Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Sean Lee, and DeMarcus Ware would have made the game much closer had the ones been on the field, but a blowout win is a blowout win. I will take what I can get.
The first thing I wanted to see tonight was just how far along DeVier Posey has come in his rehab, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Posey flashing the same route running prowess, body control, and steady hands that made him one of the Texans' most exciting young players at the end of the 2012 season. I still firmly believe that had Posey not been injured, DeAndre Hopkins would not be a Texan right now. The fact that both of these future star receivers (yeah, I said it) are on the same roster for the foreseeable future should make Houston fans positively giddy. Posey did not get many snaps, but he certainly made them count. The highlight of Posey’s outing for me was his slick move to fake a stalk block on a run fake before cutting into the middle of the field and making a nice catch for a first down.
Posey might be bigger than the "modern" slot receiver, but his skill set as a reliable route runner and target over the middle puts him firmly in the Y receiver position in my opinion. Keshawn Martin had a chance to push for significant playing time in three wide sets; Posey’s apparent return to full effectiveness probably ends the competition (if there ever was one to begin with).
The other major story of the night was Cierre Wood’s absolute dominance. 19 carries for 107 yards (5.6 YPC) might seem impressive in its own right. When adding a gigantic touchdown run that was negated by a holding penalty, Wood probably would have put up over ten yards a clip. Dallas might have been fielding third stringers on defense, but Wood certainly did not have a first string offensive line blocking for him. The young undrafted rookie was clearly one of the, if not the, best player(s) on the field tonight. Vision, power, and speed were all on display, and of course the highlight of Wood’s night had to be the vicious stiff arm he laid down on Caleb McSurdy. I would like to see Deji Karim or Dennis Johnson do this.
Wood’s success was not entirely his own, however, as rookie left guard David Quessenberry continued to flash improvement from the start of the preseason. Every single week, Quessenberry has gotten better, specifically with run blocking in space and mirroring in pass protection, and tonight was no different. Several of Wood's best runs were to the left side, and I spotted a few instances of Quessenberry blowing nose tackles off the line and sealing linebackers on the second level to escort Wood ten yards down field virtually untouched. If Quessenberry continues his improvement throughout the year, Wade Smith might be out of a job come next season.
Special teams and defense were equally impressive, as Shane Lechler showed why he was and still is the best punter in the game. That coffin kick to down the ball at the five yard line was a thing of beauty. The (backup) Bulls on Parade notched seven sacks on their way to holding the Cowboys to just 178 total yards for the entire game. If Houston's first teamers can dominate like their second and third teamers, Texans fans are in for possibly the most satisfying season in franchise history.
The preseason is finally over. From here on out, it's real.