Well, that sure was nice. I honestly cannot recall a more complete performance from your Houston Texans. Ever. Yes, there have been nice wins (though they've definitely been far fewer in number than we would've liked). But can you recall a win that featured the Texans looking like world beaters in every phase of the game? I can't.
Does that mean your Houston Texans have turned some sort of corner? I don't know. Fact is, they won three (3) out of four (4) games at home. Of those four (4) games, on paper, there's little doubt they should've won two (2) of them, as they were against opponents that have yet to win a game this season and are struggling mightily. The win over Miami was a hard-fought victory over a scrappy team that should push for a winning record, so you'd have to consider that the team's signature win thus far.
Now we're going to see what the Texans are made of the next two (2) weeks, first at Minnesota and then with the rescheduled home game versus Baltimore on 11/09/08. Win both of those, and things get reeeeeeeeeeeal interesting. Salvage a split, and the Texans are a dangerous team that probably needs a bit of help to play meaningful games in December. Lose both, and the last three (3) weeks look more like a mirage than a breakthrough. Truth be told, all of this is probably moot if the team doesn't mix in a couple of divisional wins as well.
I'm putting the cart before The Schaub, so let's turn our attention back to the here and now. Thoughts on the win over the Bengals:
1. Matt Schaub has thrown nine (9) incompletions the last two (2) weeks, along with five (5) TD passes and zero (0) interceptions. That does not suck.
2. I hope scientists discover a way to clone Andre Johnson, and that the Texans retain the draft rights to the 'Dre clones.
3. Not a bad showing against his old team for K-Dub, huh? Query: Name another player who has made the kind of quantum jump in value and/or importance to his new team that Kevin Walter has made since his days in Cincinnati ended.
4. Maybe it's the Rudy in me, but I have a fever. And the only cure for it is more David Anderson.
5. Owen Daniels was quiet yesterday. Bet you he's much louder in Minneapolis.
6. I know the Bengals don't boast a fierce pass rush. Still, anytime your offensive line gives the QB enough time to make a sandwich in the pocket, you lavish praise upon the big guys up front. Simply tremendous work.
7. Steve Slaton was much, much less of a factor than I thought he would be. That's no fault of Vonta Leach, though! I actually feel bad for Dhani Jones. He might as well retire.
8. Welcome to life as a Texan, Ryan Moats. Nice burst in your limited playing time.
9. Far be it for me to make a broad proclamation about Jacoby having his mojo back. Two (2) TDs in two (2) weeks does make me remember how great he looked in the 2007 preseason, though...
10. I can't believe I'm saying this. It's downright heretical. But it needs to be said...(deep breath)...Zac Diles is outplaying DeMeco Ryans right now.
11. While we're on the topic of linebackers, I'll continue to harp on Richard Smith's steadfast refusal to EVER bring one on third down. I wish Vegas would start setting an over/under on number of times Richard Smith brings pressure from anyone off the line. That number would never be more than 1 each week, and I'd take the under every time.
12. I think having a DE who actually goes after the ball instead of just the QB is highly underrated. And I think Super Mario might be the best in the league at going after the ball while trying to swallow a QB whole.
13. Fumble recovery aside, I'm concerned about Amobi Okoye. Why does it look like he's regressed since his rookie year? He's been better the last few weeks, but he still looks like a shell of the kid we saw last year.
14. Travis Johnson notched his first sack since his rookie year yesterday. That makes two (2) sacks in three and a half years from your first round defensive tackle. Slow down there, Trav. You're making Anthony Weaver and his one-more-sack-than-a-dead-man-since-coming-to-Houston-in-2006 look bad.
15. Is Nick Ferguson the best safety on the roster? I realize that's not saying he'll make anyone forget about Ronnie Lott, yet I'm at a loss to explain why the Houston reserve safeties have consistently looked better than the purported starters.
16. Eugene Wilson got an interception. And didn't give it right back. That's what I call progress!
17. Don't let the sweet INT fool you. Dunta Robinson was so much more than that on Sunday. He's playing far more and far better than I ever dreamed he would. Rounding into shape at a rapid enough rate that visions of last year's starting CB tandem are dancing in my head...
18. Speaking of DBs, when is Richard Smith or Jon Hoke going to stop the insanity of starting Petey Faggins and/or Jacques Reeves over Fred Bennett? I understand the notion of letting Dunta work his way back. I do not understand why you'd continue to play two (2) obviously inferior cornerbacks over Fred Bennett.
19. One final gripe about the coaching: Have we learned nothing from last year's game at Carolina? It's great that Andre Johnson was having so much fun that he didn't want to leave the game. But Kubes HAS to pull 'Dre in a rout. Has to. You can't risk him getting hurt. Same rule should apply to Schaub, Walter, Daniels, Mario, DeMeco, etc. It's not worth losing one of your stalwarts for the season.
20. Fake Game Balls: Offense--Matt Schaub; Defense--Dunta Robinson; Special Teams--Jacoby Jones.
Not to get greedy or anything, fellas, but is asking for the first four (4) game winning streak in franchise history too much? Beat the Vikings! Remember--they wouldn't give you that second-rounder for Sage! Who do they think they are? Unleash the fury, lads! Unleash the fury!