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Post-Game Breakdown: The Grasshopper Prevails

My apologies for the late turnaround on this, but here goes nuthin'.  My thoughts on Thursday's epic win over Denver, aired nationally for at least a third of the country to see, are discussed below.  But first, a more general observation:  We shouldn't lose sight of the fact that your Houston Texans have tied the single-season franchise record for wins and still have two (2) more shots  to set a new team record, albeit against two (2) exceptionally strong, playoff-bound, divisional foes.  While many of us had high hopes before the season and only saw those hopes skyrocket after the 2-0 start, let's take stock of what's been accomplished in the face of a nearly historical dose of injuries.  Take a look at the contributions the team is getting from guys who weren't being counted upon as regulars when camp broke.  Rick Smith said it best:

"It shows the character of our team that guys are stepping up when they have opportunities," general manager Rick Smith said. "And our coaching staff is doing a heck of a job getting all our players ready to play. It's really incredible. Injuries are supposed to be part of the National Football League. You just accept it. But not like
this ... "

I'm not going to say that the Texans are being held together by duct tape and good thoughts, but for crying out loud.  If anyone can remember a team that was comparably gutted by injuries and responded like this, please let me know.  As stated here, the only other example that has been brought to my attention was the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers (who went on the win the Super Bowl, which is completely mind-boggling).  While injuries are a part of the game, you just don't see a team wracked like this.  Yet despite all that, your Houston Texans are at .500 with two (2) weeks left to play.  Unbelievable.

On to the effort against Denver:

  1.  As if there is anywhere else to start but with our franchise defensive end.  3.5 sacks and an entire evening chasing down Broncos all over the damn field.  If you didn't get a little emotional watching Super Mario serve notice upon the nation that he was undoubtedly the correct selection atop the 2006 NFL Draft, you don't have nearly enough invested in the Houston Texans.  Make sure to check out the interview (approximately eight and a half minutes) Mario gave the NFL Network crew after the game.
  2.  Just for fun, and with the obvious warning that numbers never tell the whole story, here are Reggie Bush's career numbers and Vince Young's career numbers.  Please let me know if there's a single person among you that would rather have Bush or Young over Mario.  (Waits patiently).  That's what I thought.
  3.  I've been trying to analogize another player in MLB or the NBA to better describe the lack of credit Morlon Greenwood receives despite his stellar play.  Greenwood's body of work this season clearly screams Pro Bowl, but he's got no chance of actually getting a ticket to Honolulu.  I'm stumped.
  4.  Stone hands aside, it seems like Will Demps plays a better game every week than he did the week before.  He's been playing at a consistently high level since he broke into the starting lineup, and his emergence should demand that Smithiak invest some guaranteed money in him in  the coming months.
  5.  I think Fred Bennett outplayed Champ Bailey, who's as good a CB as there is in the NFL, on Thursday night.  I can't believe I just wrote that.
  6.  As good as Will Demps has been since his insertion into the starting lineup, Von Hutchins has experienced the opposite effect with each game he's played back at CB.  Brandon Marshall had his way with Von more often than not on Thursday night.
  7.  Methinks DeMeco is hurt worse than the team is letting on.
  8.  There's been a noticeable uptick in Amobi Okoye's productivity over the last two (2) games.  Given the long break the team has before tangling with Indy on Sunday, I'm hoping that additional rest this week lets Amobi finish the season like he started it.
  9.  Do it again, Anthony Weaver.  One game doesn't justify a contract, and N.D. Kalu has been more valuable on the line than Weaver has.
  10.  For the second week in a row, Richard Smith delivered a tremendous game plan, replete with blitzes.  Judging from Denver's 33% conversion rate on third downs and 0% conversion rate on fourth down (not to mention another stellar night defending the run), a little bit of pressure goes a long way.  I can't say enough about the excellent play-calling by Smith, which is one of the more improbable things I've ever typed here at BRB.
  11.  Want to point to a single stat that sums up why your Texans beat the Broncos?  Simple.  The Texans were in the red zone four (4) times.  Of those four (4) forays within their opponent's 20, they put points on the board each time.  Considering the red zone hiccups that accompanied most of the first two-thirds of the season (with, admittedly, Matt Schaub under center), that might be the best argument you could cite as to why Sage Rosenfels might deserve a shot at the starting gig.
  12.  Darius Walker is doing a pretty credible job of making Texans fans forget Ahman Green.  Similarly, Ron Dayne is making me wonder why the coaching staff doesn't simply send him on an all-expenses-paid vacation to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory for the first half of the season.  His splits are absurd.
  13.  Not only did the OL fail to give up a sack, they kept Sage squeaky clean all night.  Might have been their best overall performance of the entire season.
  14.  I've run out of adjectives to describe Andre Johnson, so I'm going to make one up.  Andre Johnson is spectalutastic.
  15.  Surprised that Kevin Walter and Owen Daniels only finished with three (3) catches each; I seem to remember both of them being far more vital players in Thursday's offense.
  16.  It's official:  Apostrophe Davis should be considered the kick return man going into the off-season.  He's performed far too well to justify the team burning a roster spot on Jerome Mathis again next year, and unlike Mathis, Apostrophe can actually line up and contribute at WR.
  17.  Big kudos to Kubes for beating his mentor and "The Mastermind."  Hate to nitpick, but Action Item No. 1 on his off-season improvement list should be exercising better discretion on when to throw the challenge flag.
  18.  Fake Game Balls:  Offense--Andre Johnson.  Defense--Mario Williams.  Special Teams--Apostrophe Davis.
After some much needed rest, the Texans travel to the RCA Dome in Indianapolis in search of their first divisional win.  While the Colts have wrapped up the AFC South, Tony Dungy has stated that his starters will play on Sunday.  As such, we shouldn't expect anything less than Peyton & Co.'s best shot as the Texans seek their first three (3) game winning streak in franchise history.