Part I is here. I won't rehash what's said there. Except to say that if I gave grades for performance, the Texans' offense deserved a "G-" for the first three quarters. An "F" would be too high. As ballsy as the fourth quarter comeback was, make no mistake--the Titans enabled a good portion of it by going EXTREMELY conservative on both offense and defense. The comeback was almost legendary. But it had as much or more to do with the Titans as it did with Sage & Co. On to the defense and other miscellaneous items...
- DeMeco Ryans is not from this planet.
- It's a disturbing, recurring theme halfway through the season: Why in the name of all that is decent and holy don't the Texans blitz more? Their one sack (by DeMeco) came on a blitz. Aside from that, the pressure on Collins was sparse all day. Look, I understand Richard Smith's reluctance to bring the house on passing downs. First, your front four contains three (3) former first round draft picks. In theory, those guys should be able to pressure the QB without any help. Secondly, blitzing necessarily leaves your secondary on more of an island than they would be otherwise, and everyone knows that the last place you want to leave Petey Faggins is on an island. At least metaphorically...I'm sure many of us would chip in on a one-way plane ticket to send Mr. Smiles to the Aleutian Islands right now. But...if you don't pressure the QB (which the front four clearly are not doing with any consistency), an NFL QB is going to pick you apart. Damned if you and damned if you don't, I suppose. Personally, I subscribe to the theory that you want your corners to spend as little time as possible in coverage; the more time they are forced to cover, the more likely they are to get juked or burned. So why not take a risk and blitz? The status quo certainly isn't working.
- Speaking of corners, I was shocked at how often the Titans went right at Dunta yesterday. With regard to the big play to Roydell Williams, I don't know if Dunta could have played it any better. That was just a perfect throw from Kerry Collins, who I thought was legally barred from making such throws.
- News flash--Petey Faggins is still very, very bad at his job. But the newest development seems to be that he's even terrible at nickel, which was supposed to be his natural position. Given his penchant for defensive holding, pass interference, and every other penalty imaginable, what do Dexter Wynn and/or Jamar Fletcher have to do to replace him? No way either of them can be worse.
- Stats aside, Fred Bennett looks to be the real deal; I'm more excited about his future every week. The kid is going to take his lumps, but he's got a knack for delivering the big hit and/or making the play more often than not.
- Once again, Morlon Greenwood quietly turned in a ridiculously good game (12 tackles). Our natural fixation with DeMeco probably takes attention away from Greenwood, but the guy is playing extraordinarily well right now.
- Von Hutchins had, I think, his poorest game since moving into the starting lineup.
- Travis Johnson was a force of nature on Sunday. I've never seen him so active and involved. I'm not naive enough to think he's figured it all out. I will, however, pray that he bottled up some of that intensity for San Diego.
- I can't conclude an analysis of Sunday's game without mentioning the fans and the mass exodus that occurred during the second half. Matt has his take here. Mine's a bit different. There's nothing that says people have to stay at a game until the bitter end. You can come and go as you please. But here's the deal: One of these days, the Texans are going to make the playoffs. One of these days, the Texans are going to win the Super Bowl. One of these days, it'll be popular to be a Texans fan. When those things happen, there's going to be a lot of people who claim that they supported the team since the beginning; that they were there for all of the bad times; and that they always stuck by the team. And the vast majority of those "fans" will be liars. The 10,000 or so people (and whoever watched the complete game, be it at home, at a bar, via DVR, etc.) who stuck around Reliant for the whole game on Sunday won't be in that group. And we'll be the ones who deserve the inevitable success the most. So here's to the diehards.