March 19, 2018

Monday Roundup: The Drum Beats On For the Texans

It was apparent that no one knew what to expect from the Houston Texans on Saturday as they strapped on the pads in a do or die game against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals. With the home field advantage, it proved the difference for a team that only had 11 players with playoff experience. The Texans made sure they added some more playoff experience with an epic victory for the franchise and city of Houston, by beating the Bengals 31-10.


The word playoffs was in the air and the Texans stepped up to the plate and delivered, despite coming into the game with a 3 game losing streak. Head Coach Gary Kubiak played his cards right, and put the Texans into positions to succeed, and a mid game adjustment by defensive coordinator Wade Phillips proved huge.


Here is the roundup…


1. If you are happy for anyone be happy for the 9 year veteran Andre Johnson. He started slow had a few drops, but then went to the sideline and told Kubiak about the double move. 40 yards later Johnson scored and proved why he is the best wide receiver in the game today, and he was a welcomed sight for the Texans offense. With 5 catches and 90 yards plus a touchdown, it was a great way to get back into the flow.


2. Arian Foster started the game ugly, with a false start and two near fumbles. Then Foster woke up and rushed for 153 yards and 2 touchdowns, and capped the night off with a 42 yard scamper to put the game away. Talk about making your mark, Foster was running with a purpose and did everything he could to make sure the Texans came home with a win. He even paid homage when he did the “Dream Shake” for Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon after his first touchdown score.


3. With 5 tackles and 1 sack, Lycan Wolf Ninja, Antonio Smith had one of his best performances as a Texan. He was constantly pushing the pockets and forcing Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to move from his spot. Brooks Reed benefited from a great play by Smith which forced Dalton right to Reed to get the first sack of the game for the Texans. Smith played the run well and got down the line of scrimmage and was running down ball carriers and dropping them for losses. Smith is the catalyst up the middle for the Texans, and lets hope he can keep the solid play going into Baltimore.


4. T.J. Yates was exceptional for his first playoff start and finished 11/20 for 159 yards and 1 touchdown. He was rattled early, but made some big throws when needed. He played with fire when Bengals safety, Chris Crocker, dropped a sure interception that could have put the Bengals back into the game. Yates’ throw to Johnson to ice the game was a big time throw in a big moment of the game. Yates will have to tighten up his accuracy going into the Divisional round of the playoffs.


5. Speaking of interceptions, J.J. Watt’s changed the game. I don’t have words for it, but we all know what it meant to the game. Game Changer.


6. Johnathan Joseph was having issue with A.J. Green early in the game, and Andy Dalton started off hot by finding Green early and often. Joseph was matched up on Green man to man, but after aggravating his ankle injury, Phillips made the halftime adjustment of going into zone coverages and kept Green without a catch the whole second half. Joseph got an interception, which he should have knocked down, but it is the playoffs and get what you can. Then Danieal Manning finished the game with a tight rope interception to put the Texans on top.


7. The defense looked like it’s old self forcing 3 turnovers and getting 4 sacks. The Texans had a big performance from Earl Mitchell who had a sack and two batted balls. Brian Cushing (8 total tackles) and Manning (7 total tackles) provided some sure tackling. Shaun Cody kept linebackers free to make plays, and four different Texans had a sack on Saturday. The whole defense stepped up and once again proved that football is a team game.


8. Matt Turk had his best game since coming back to the Texans. He averaged 50.2 yards a punt (5 punts) and placed two inside the 20 yard line. Turk flipped the field on the Bengals and set the defense into feast mode with the Bengals pinned deep in their territory. Special teams coverage was exceptional too, Shiloh Keo, James Casey and Tim Dobbins were making things happen in coverage.


9. The offensive line looked great on Saturday, and wore down the Bengals by the end of the game. The offensive line protected Yates and cleared the way for Foster for his big day. The Texans are as good as any unit in the NFL, and they will be the key here on out if the Texans want to continue their success in the playoffs.


10. The fans at Reliant made life tough on the Bengals with the noise level. False starts, delay of games, too many men in the huddle and burned timeouts put the Bengals into all types of issues during the game. The Texans had a 12th man and it proved vital in the Texans first playoff victory.


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