Itʼs funny how quickly eight years of watching Peyton Manning coast up and down the lawn at Reliant Stadium has been replaced in our memory banks by Arian Foster gliding effortlessly past fields of blue-and-white defenders in the Colts secondary.
Foster likes to run against the Colts. He hasnʼt had the big runs this season that have been deemed “signature” for No. 23 by some. On Sunday he was back to his old tricks. Foster had three runs of more than 25 yards and as Duane Brown says, Arian ran “with heart.”
Fosterʼs teammate Andre Johnson likes to catch footballs. He doesnʼt like to talk much, but he does like to remind people that heʼs not old, not washed up, and not anywhere near done. Johnson had one of his Top 10 catches of his career on the second play from scrimmage.
Matt Schaub, always a bit slow to fire the ball downfield on the deep route off the bootleg, grossly underthrew Johnson who had to come back through Indianapolis defender Vontae Davis to make an absurd grab for a 52-yard gain. Later Johnson followed that up with a rare red-zone TD catch.
Johnson finished the game with 11 receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown. He is on pace for his third 100-catch, 1,500-yard season in his 10-year career.
And then there was J.J. Watt. I found myself just laughing by about the third quarter. Heʼs so dominant itʼs not fair. You really feel bad for the opposition. Wattʼs three sacks tied for the league lead at 19 1/2.
Watt recorded those three sacks (and several tackles for a loss, plus a forced fumble, just for fun) on Sunday against the Colts when he faced off against one of the worst interior linemen in all of football in right guard Mike McGynn.
McGynn and the rest of the banged-up Colts offensive line will have to line up against Watt once again in the final week of the season unless coach Gary Kubiak decides to rest players. If Watt is playing for the all-time sack record (of 22.5 previously set by Michael Strahan in 2001 with an assist from Brett Farve) I have to think that Kubiak will honor that attempt. At least early on.
The Texans have a big game this Sunday. (That you will have to watch at a sports bar if you live in Austin. The game wonʼt be televised locally due to the hapless Cowboys feeble attempts at yet another disappointing playoff failure.)
If Houston beats the Vikings they will have secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Neat, but itʼs incredible to think that on the field at Reliant on Sunday will be a running back (Adrian Peterson) playing for the all-time single-season rushing record, a 3-4 defensive end/tackle playing for the all-time sack record, and a wide receiver who is on pace to go into history as one of the all-time greatest wide receivers to ever play the game of professional football.
But instead, weʼll get to watch Jerryʼs funhouse of mediocrity. Thank you, Austin.
Texans 27 – Vikings 23
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