All it took was a decent writing resume, a love of the Texans, and a few Jedi mind tricks to convince Tim to rubber-stamp the idea of giving me a weekly column. The only guideline I had to follow: "Don’t suck."
I’ve had weekly columns at numerous other websites covering a variety of topics, but never one as auspicious as this. So, like a second-string quarterback who can’t believe it when he sees his number one receiver running uncovered towards the end zone, I’m going to wing it up and hope for the best. However, just like said signal-caller, I might get so excited I miss the target (i.e., this could suck from time to time; your mileage may vary).
That’s enough of an introduction for those who are wondering what the [kitten] is going on. Time to get down to business.
Week One of the 2016 NFL season is now history. The first steps towards Super Bowl LI have been taken and right now only half the league remains undefeated. Yes, that half includes the Houston Texans.
Better yet, the ENTIRE AFC South is winless… except the Battle Red Boys of H-Town.
For those who missed Sunday’s game against Da Bears, there was a LOT to be excited about. However, as most expected, there was also also cause for concern. Let’s face it, the New & Improved ® Houston Offense is going to need some testing under live fire. While the Bears aren’t the most impressive defense in the league, a starting defense fighting for a win is always tougher than a preseason squad full of guys trying to make the team in vanilla, situational schemes.
In a microcosm of last season, Houston started off slow, clunky and mistake prone. But, after the half, the defense dialed in, Will Fuller put on a record-breaking rookie receiving performance, and Brock Osweiler made fans feel as if Houston finally had a franchise quarterback.
Oh, and while all that was going on, Lamar Miller carried the ball more than he ever had in a single game since high school, racking up 106 yards. Whitney Mercilus led the team with two sacks. The Texans' special teams coverage was arguably the best it’s ever been with Charles James smothering the Bears' return men on almost every attempt. The Ancient One, Shane Lechler, boomed five punts for a massive 49-yard average and rookie Tyler Ervin racked up 72 yards on three punt returns.
On the flip side, the Texans coughed up 69 yards on six mental-mistake penalties. Two false start penalties turned into drive-killers. Will Fuller let a sure touchdown bounce in and out of his hands. Worst of it all, friendly-fire took out Brian Cushing with a knee injury that'll keep him out several weeks.
The best takeaway from day was one the stats don’t show, the highlights miss and the mainstream media most likely won’t even see: This team is built to win.
Despite stumbling out of the gate, losing the heart and soul of their defense on the very first snap, dropping far too many passes, having to settle for punts and field goals on eight drives, and shooting themselves in the foot with six penalties and a turnover, the Texans rose to the occasion and took the game.
This column is called "Red Zone Play." Everyone knows the plays in the red zone are often the most important in any game. When a team drives down the field and gets inside the 20-yard line, scoring is imminent. The Texans took the opening kickoff in 2002 and drove down the field from then until now. This year, the 2016 Houston Texans are in the red zone.
The beautiful City of Houston hosts the Super Bowl this year. Houston's team is arguably the most talented it’s ever been. The conditions are ripe. All the Texans have to do is punch it in.
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