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This Week in the Red Zone, or Can We Please Start the Playoffs Now?

As you have probably surmised by the title of this post, the Texans are in a good place right now.  They have the best record in franchise history after the first ten games.  That same record, 7-3 if you weren't already aware, means that if the playoffs were to start now, the road to the Super Bowl would go through Reliant Stadium.

I don't know about you, but I still can't fully wrap my head around that.  That's not even taking into consideration the complete transformation of the defense by Wade Phillips, who may or may not be a witch, and that most of those wins came without our best players on offense and defense.

I love watching this team play; not just the offense, but the entire team.  I can't think of many times in the course of the Texans' nine previous years of existence where I could make that statement without being accused of sarcasm.

I especially love watching this team in the red zone, which we happen to have some stats on. 

If you want to see how the Texans fared in the red zone, and judging by the score, you probably do, hit the now.

First Quarter

First Red Zone Drive

Today's first red zone appearance begins with the Texans at the Bucs' 20-yard line on second-and-eight.  On that play, Arian Foster gets the ball and takes it for a 10-yard carry, gaining a fresh set of downs.

With first-and-10 at the Buccaneers' 10, Matt Schaub attempts a pass to Bryant Johnson (apparently, he still plays for the Texans) which falls incomplete.

Second down comes and Foster gets the carry again, this time for a gain of one yard.

On third-and-goal at the five (after a Bucs penalty), Matt Schaub throws at, I assume, Derrick Mason, but is instead intercepted by Aqib Talib in the end zone.

But wait...Kubiak throws out the challenge flag, contending that the ball was incomplete.  Surprisingly, and fortunately, the referees actually agreed with him and ruled the pass incomplete.

With Schaub's usual WTF interception wiped off the books, the field goal team took the field on fourth down and Rackers kicked a 22-yard field goal.

Time Spent in Red Zone:  1:52
End Result:  22-yard field goal for Neil Rackers.
Score:  Houston 9 - Tampa Bay 0

Third Quarter

Second Red Zone Drive

The second red zone drive of the game started at the Buccaneers' 15-yard line, courtesy of a seven-yard pass to Jacoby Jones.

The Glacier, Derrick Ward, on second-and-three, sliced his way up the middle for a gain of nine and a first down.

Since his last carry went so well, on first-and-goal at the six-yard line, Ward got the ball again, but gained only a yard on the play.

Then came Foster, who rushed off the right guard's side for five yards and into the end zone.

Time Spent in Red Zone:  1:31
End Result:  Arian Foster pounds the ball into the end zone for a Texans Touchdown!
Score:  Houston 23 - Tampa Bay 3

Third Red Zone Drive

The Texans again penetrated the red zone, this time due to a pass to Foster, which landed them at the nine-yard line.

The Glacier took the ball on first-and-goal and hammered off the left guard's side for a gain of five.

On second down, Ward got the ball again and finished the job, taking it four yards and into the end zone for the score.

Time Spent in Red Zone:  :46
End Result:  Derrick Ward runs the ball in for a Texans Touchdown!
Score:  Houston 30 - Tampa Bay 3

Fourth Red Zone Drive

This drive doesn't have quite as happy an ending as some of the other drives.  But at least it started with a Brice McCain interception, starting the Texans at the Bucs' 14-yard line.

Unfortunately, that's about the only good thing you can say about this drive.  On first-and-10 at the 14, Foster took the ball and lost six yards on the play, taking the Texans to the very edge of the red zone.

Second-and-Tuesday comes, and Ben Tate runs the ball for a four-yard gain.

Now it's third-and-12, and the Texans decide to run the ball with Tate again, only to have him lose three yards on the play.

The field goal unit came out on fourth-and-doesn't matter, and Rackers misses a 37-yard field goal wide left.

Time Spent in Red Zone:  1:51
End Result:  Neil Rackers misses a 37-yard field goal try.
Score:  Houston 30 - Tampa Bay 3

Fourth Quarter

Fifth Red Zone Drive

This drive is a tale of two running backs, starting with Arian Foster who gets the Texans into the red zone (again) with a nine-yard run to the Bucs' 18 on first down.

Foster gets the carry again on second-and-one and gains two yards.

Then it was Tate's turn for a carry on first-and-10 at the 16; Tate gained five yards on the run to the Bucs' 11.

On the next play, Tate finishes what he started and ran 11 yards and into the end zone.

Time Spent in Red Zone:  1:39
End Result:  Ben Tate becomes the third Texans RB with a rushing Touchdown!
Score:  Houston 37 - Tampa Bay 9

Sixth Red Zone Drive

The Texans' sixth, and final, red zone drive was as quick as it was insignificant.  But it did happen in the red zone.

On fourth-and-eight at the Tampa Bay 18-yard line, Derrick Ward carried the ball for a loss of a yard.

Time Spent in Red Zone:  :02
End Result:  Turnover on downs
Score:  Houston 37 - Tampa Bay 9

Final Results

Number of Trips in Red Zone:  6
Total Amount of Time in Red Zone:  7:41
Average Amount of Time in Red Zone:  1:16
Red Zone Efficiency:  4/6 (66%)
Scores in Red Zone:  3 TDs (Foster, Ward, Tate) 1 FG (Rackers 22)

The Texans are off next week but after that face a squad of furry vengeance in the Jacksonville Jaguars.  In the meantime, let us bask in the glow of having, for now, the best record in the AFC.

Texans vs Buccaneers coverage