Texans Look To Snare Dolphins
Not your Same Ol' Texans!
By Barrett Walton, 3:16PM, Thu. Sep. 15, 2011
The Texans put a licking on the hapless Colts Sunday. With all due respect to Kerry Collins, the Indianapolis is not much of a threat. Indianapolis' offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL. It has always been masked by Peyton Manning and his ability to read defenses and deliver the ball quickly.
Things aren't much better on the defensive side of the ball for the Colts. The entire defensive scheme is based around the concept of playing with the lead. Indianapolis' defensive ends, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, are speed rushers who have noticeable deficiencies as run stoppers. Typically that would be fine since the Colts are most likely playing with a lead and teams are having to throw the ball to catch up.
The issue with Indy is that they chose, as an organization, to put all their eggs in one basket. Given that said basket is one of the best to ever play the game, I can understand the decision. But a decision like that comes with a decent amount of risk. In the unlikely event that Peyton Manning should go down, the Colts entire system goes out the window. Well, guess what? Manning is out for an indefinite amount of time with a neck injury. Most teams, when they lose their top passer rely heavily on the run to take pressure off of the quarterback. Indianapolis hasn't had a running game since Edgerrin James.
Enter the Houston Texans. You know, the ones who always find a way to blow it. Houston has put it to the Colts several times in recent years only to blow it in the end. I'm sure you remember the "Rosencopter" game. The Texans were dominating that game with their backup quarterback only to have it all slip away in the end. Last year, Arian Foster ran roughshod over the Colts but even in that game they crept back in after a kickoff return for a touchdown. It wasn't ever close, but I remember thinking, “Oh no, here we go again.”
This year's Texans are not the Same Ol' Texans. Houston completely dominated the Colts on Sunday. Even though two turnovers late in the game kept the Texans from scoring in the second half, the Texans looked exceptional in ever phase of the game. The offense was crisp despite Foster being out with a hamstring injury. Second-year running back Ben Tate managed 116 yards and a touchdown in his pro debut. The defense was relentless, wreaking havoc on Collins all day long. The Texans forced two fumbles and recorded three sacks on there way to what should have been a shutout. Special teams even got in the mix. Free agent addition Danieal Manning returned the opening kickoff 40 yards and Jacoby Jones returned a punt for a touchdown right before the half.
Now for the good news! After the game, the locker room was reportedly very subdued. Players went about their business while reporters clamored for juicy quotes about Houston's dominant performance. But they found none. Manning or no Manning, these Houston Texans expect to completely roll over the Colts. There was no David and Goliath story to be told. These Houston Texans took care of business. They beat a clearly inferior team by a large margin. That's what good teams do. These Houston Texans are just that, a good team.
Next week will be more of an actual test, but the results should be the same. They travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins. Miami took a beating last week from the AFC's other dominant team, the Patriots. Tom Brady passed for more than 500 yards thanks to a late 99-yard touchdown pass.
The Texans should be able to execute their offense effectively against the Dolphins porous defense. Foster is expected to play in this game after participating fully in Wednesday's practice at the Methodist Training Center in Houston.
The real fun begins when the defense takes the field. Miami has a much better offensive line than Indianapolis and it will be a much better test for Wade Phillips. The Dolphins don't have much of a running game right now and it's likely that Houston will get out to a lead early, so Chad Henne will probably be asked to drop back frequently. It could be another field day for the Texans pass rush led by Antonio Smith.
Houston is favored to win this week. Get used to it Texans fans. These aren't the Same Ol' Texans. I'm predicting Houston wins 27-17.
[Barrett Walton is the managing editor for Texans Bull Blog. Visit www.texansbullblog.com for news, analysis and commentary.]