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Post-Game Breakdown: Texans Hang On Against 49ers

BFD already did a fine job taking a look at many of the individual performances from Sunday's win over the Niners, so I'm going to focus on the bigger picture in this PGB. First and foremost:

1. I can't help but notice how many of us seemed viciously unhappy with the "W" on Sunday. Reading many of the Comments in the open game threads, you'd think the Texans lost the game. This isn't exactly the first time we've responded like that, either; recall how down and/or critical many of us were after the win over Oakland. My thought? The Texans don't have a rich enough history of success for any of us to be depressed about a win, no matter how nasty it got at the end (and it did get way too close for comfort). I lose sight of this from time to time. We're not the Steelers. We're not the Colts. Our best single-season winning percentage is .500. To put it mildly, wins have been scarce. When we get one, we shouldn't let the potential sting of a near-loss ruin the experience. Now, is there a lot to discuss and question? Absolutely. Never should have gotten as close as it did. But I'm going to do my best not to let those concerns completely overshadow the relative rarity of a Texans victory. In a year or two, with some semblance of sustained achievement, perhaps. Not yet, though.

2. Even with the second-half struggles, I can honestly say that I never had a doubt the Texans would hold on. I don't recall ever feeling that way before.

3. The defense remains a work in progress, but the rush defense is exponentially better than it was at the beginning of the season. It's been exceptional for the last month.

4. Not coincidentally, Amobi Okoye is becoming more and more of a factor every week. I no longer think his face should be on the back of a milk carton.

5. Nice to see Super Mario return to the sack column. Query: Is that injured shoulder affecting him more than he or the team is letting on?

6. Jeff Zgonina: Second-best DT on the roster? Third-best? Under any analysis, Frank Okam is getting embarrassed week in and week out.

7. Every superlative performance by Owen Daniels makes it less likely that he gets a long-term deal from the Texans. I cannot see Smithiak giving him the Kellen Winslow, Jr. money he wants considering the upcoming obligations the team has to address (e.g., DeMeco Ryans, Matt Schaub's option, a new deal for Mario Williams, etc.), and games like Sunday only reinforce the notion that OD deserves to be paid like one of the top TEs in the league. What's more, given the animosity between the parties that surfaced this past summer, banking on OD taking a hometown discount to stay in Houston seems foolish. Thus, the question becomes whether you think the Texans should pay a TE, even one as gifted as OD, the $20 mil or so guaranteed that it'll likely take to keep him happy here. I hate to say it, and I absolutely love Owen Daniels, but I don't think you can, given the dollars you're going to have to dole out to others. And that's not even taking into account whether James Casey can be a reasonable facsimile of OD.

8. Has any player fallen farther during the Smithiak Era than Fred Bennett? From rookie stud to not even dressing for a game when presumably healthy. Who ever would have thought we'd be here after the 2007 season?

9. Eugene Wilson and Bernard Pollard are the best safety tandem the Texans have ever had.

10. What did Ryan Moats do to Gary Kubiak and/or Kyle Shanahan? I'm all for yanking Steve Slaton when he puts the ball on the ground, but why is Chris Brown the exclusive backup? Especially since Moats looked so good against Oakland?

11. Watching Matt Schaub play QB for the Houston Texans makes me truly appreciate how wretched David Carr was and makes me even angrier that it took me almost five (5) years to stop making excuses for Carr.

12. Is the Texans' offense multidimensional enough to warrant playing it safe with Andre Johnson this week? And what is playing it safe--can you dress 'Dre and play him as a decoy? Or do you give him two weeks to heal in preparation for the divisional battle with Indianapolis? I'd like to think the Texans can win one without 'Dre, but I would not want to be making that decision.

13. Alex Smith should send the Texans a nice care package for getting his career back on track. No disrespect to Smith, of course, but three (3) TD passes to the exact same player on what appeared to be the exact same route? He owes Frank Bush a bottle of scotch.

For all the positive vibes we've seen from the first winning streak this season, the Texans must keep it going on Sunday at Buffalo if they truly are in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Bills have had several chances to roll over and haven't, so they're not to be taken lightly, and a road game is a road game. Even with Andre Johnson, this wasn't going to be a picnic. Without him? Very, very dangerous.

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