The fine folks at Gillette --- makers of the incomparable Fusion ProGlide Power, which is great for shaving whatever you might wish to shave (we won't judge you here) --- have sponsored a new series of posts that will run through the end of the regular season. The concept is simple: I pick what I think were the five most important defensive plays from the previous game, and you vote for the play that you think was truly the cat's pajamas. (If that explanation is not clear enough, see last week's post for an example. Also consider remedial education.)
This week's selections come from a bizarre game that saw a Kareem Jackson interception but zero sacks. Which is another way of saying that it wasn't easy to come up with five plays that stood out in a positive manner. But I soldiered on and did it for you. You're welcome.
Now jump already and engage in some Texans-related suffrage!
1. Kareem Jackson's interception. This one has been dissected ad nauseam in the comments around here, so you know the long and short of it already. From what anyone can discern, Jackson was (shockingly) the only player in the secondary who sniffed out the flea flicker, and he covered a lot of ground to get between the ball and Roddy White. Sure, KJax was helped to some degree by the fact that Michael Turner's pitch back to Matt Ryan was high and threw off the timing of the play and from J.J. Watt's pressuring of Ryan, but no one thought any less of Helen Keller just because Anne Sullivan hooked a sister up with some assistance. KJax is our Helen Keller.
2. Jason Allen's interception. Not long after KJax picked off Ryan, Allen jumped underneath Julio Jones and picked off a pass, returning it to the Falcons' 40. I'd like to take this opportunity to invite Allen to stop running all the way to the endzone and celebrating when you did not score a TD, because you are just begging for a Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty, which will cause me great consternation and result in my wishing that bad things would happen to you. Sincerely, MDC.
3. Glover Quin and Earl Mitchell's tackle of Michael Turner for a 3-yard loss. Last play of the first quarter, the Falcons line up with the TE right and FB offset to the right. On the snap, the TE and Roddy White block back toward the center to try to set the edge, the FB (whose name I don't care enough to look up) is the lead blocker, and Turner gets a pitch to the right. The defense swarms to the ball, Quin submarines the lead blocker, hitting Turner at the feet right as Mitchell, who dodged a block by Tyson Clabo, flew in and hit Turner up high.
4. Jason Allen's defense of Julio Jones in the end zone. Facing 3rd & 1 with 2:41 to play, Ryan took a shot at the end zone, targeting Jones up the right sideline. Allen played Jones perfectly, maintaining inside position, looking back at the exact right moment, and using the sideline as an extra defender. Jones came down with the ball, but landed out of bounds. Just textbook coverage of a sideline route.
5. Dunta Robinson's defensive holding of Kevin Walter. Hey, nowhere did it say that the defensive plays that I picked had to be Texans' defensive players. And this play was huge. On the second play of the fourth quarter, with the score tied at 10, T.J. Yates (who is a homeless man's Aaron Rodgers) made his only rookie mistake of the day, telegraphing a pass in the right flat to Arian Foster. Mike Peterson stepped in front of it, picked it off, and took it to the house, seemingly giving Atlanta the lead . . . except Dunta had been fooled on an outside-inside move by Walter, and he grabbed the wideout's jersey to keep from getting burned deep. Flag on the play, touchdown negated, automatic first down, and the Texans would drive the length of the field for Arian Foster's go-ahead touchdown.