Texans Fans Break Out the Wave in Win
Next victim: the McCoy-led Browns
By Barrett Walton, 6:09AM, Sat. Nov. 5, 2011
After rewatching the Texans/Jags game, I came away impressed with Jacksonville's D. The Jaguars played a very impressive game against one of the best offensive teams in the NFL. They just don't have a quarterback and the Texans have Brian Cushing. The big story line this week was how the Jags consider Houston to be a “dirty” team. It's comical.
Houston is anything but dirty. Confident? Certainly. Dirty? Hardly. But it's fun to watch this team become a feared opponent on Sundays. It's scary to play a team who likes to finish blocks on the second level on offense and likes to hit guys on defense.
Regardless of how scared of the Texans Jacksonville was, they showed up to play on defense. Arian Foster didn't have much room to run on Sunday. What little gaps he had, he made the most of. Ben Tate, the extremely impressive backup, had a terrific game until he fumbled. He's fumbled in consecutive weeks now and I can assure you, it's been brought to his attention. Kubiak really hates turnovers. He's the kind of guy who would rather you take what's there, rather than press and make mistakes. Houston's offense is built around precision. Mistakes can derail this team. It's too bad because Tate was basically in a position to put the game away on Sunday when he coughed up the ball.
You didn't see another snap for him in the game and Foster ended up running the Texans right down the field and securing the win with a tough drive against Jacksonville's stout front seven.
If Tate gets significant reps on Sunday against the Browns I'll be surprised. I would expect Kubiak to give him a taste of the dog house. Derrick Ward is waiting in the wings and I think a gimmie game against Cleveland is the kind of game that “Kubes” will use as a subtle lesson for Tate. Hold on to the ball.
Houston played the kind of game I thought they would have played two weeks ago when they steamrolled Tennessee. It was a gritty, physical game where the Texans were in control the entire game, but it never got to blowout status. However, late in the third quarter when Houston was driving to go up by two scores, “the wave” broke out in Reliant. I can't tell you how strange it is as a Houston Texans fan to be in the stadium when the fan base is so confident in their team that they are actually having fun. Reliant is typically a tense building. We all know that Houston can lose like nobody else and you never know when or how they will break your heart, but it's always there in the back of your mind. So to be participating in the wave in the third quarter was kind of surreal.
It can get really loud in the stadium and the fans caused a pretty good distraction for the Jags offense. The Texans were confused by the noise and it caused right guard Mike “Biscuit” Breisel to false start. I find it rather annoying that the offense was clearly irritated by the fans. It's football. Sometimes it's noisy. Just do your job. Later in the drive Tate fumbled, and sure enough that ended the wave.
Thanks Ben. We were having a good time until you dropped the ball.
On Sunday the Cleveland Browns come to town. The Browns remind me of the Major League Cleveland Indians more than a competitive NFL franchise. They have issues at numerous positions and while Longhorn fans will be excited to watch Colt McCoy on TV, they won't get to see him complete many passes.
The Browns are banged up and Houston should be able to key on McCoy. Madden darling Peyton Hillis re-aggravated his hamstring Friday during practice and former Horn Chris Ogbonnaya may get his first NFL start.
The Texans have continued to hold Andre Johnson out of practice and I consider that a good sign that they are completely confident that this game is winnable without him. They are playing it safe and will rest him for another week. If we don't see Andre back on the field for the week ten matchup versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then I think we can officially start to be concerned about the severity of his injury.
James Casey has also been eased back into the game plan and I don't see him being a huge factor this week.
Houston should approach this game with a more successful ground attack and win this one with ease. Cleveland is terrible against the run. This one could be over by 2:30 with the Texans dominating time of possession.
My prediction: Houston 31, Cleveland 13.
[Barrett Walton is the managing editor for Texans Bull Blog. Visit www.texansbullblog.com for news, analysis and commentary.]