Texans Wrassle Broncos for 3-0 Start

Tennessee Flaming Thumbtacks on deck

Texans Wrassle Broncos for 3-0 Start

Moral victories (remember those?) are something that bad teams use to make the best of a bad situation. Could it be said that Houston had a moral defeat on Sunday?

The Texans were leading the Broncos 31-11 and pounding down the field on their way to a 27-point lead early in the fourth quarter when Ben Tate fumbled the football. The Denver Broncos recovered and three plays later Peyton Manning torched Jonathan Joseph for a 38-yard touchdown. On the following offensive possession, Houston went three and out. Sixteen plays later the ghost of Glover Quin emerged as a tipped pass in the endzone landed in the hands of one of the nicest guys, Joel Dreesen. The problem was, said nice guy now plays for Manningʼs team.

The sky was falling. Manning was coming roaring back to eat the Texans children and set fire to their homes. Maniacal and full of rage, Manning would lead the Colts back with a 28-point turnaround in the final seconds of the game. Houston had a chance to put the game away when Sage Rosenfels leapt into the air and ...

Oh, sorry. My mistake. Wrong low-light reel.

What I meant to say was that Houston had a breakdown in their coverage and gave up a touchdown. On the next possession, Manning put together his first complete drive of the game but had to eat up 5:08 in order to do it and even then the touchdown was a fluke play that careened off of the intended receivers hands because two Texans defenders were engulfing him as he went for the ball.

On the Texans following possession they completed a huge third-down conversion on a perfect pass and catch from No. 8 to No. 80 that allowed them to run the clock down to 20 seconds and end any realistic hope of a Denver comeback.

Was it exciting? Yes. Were visions of Rosencopter entering everyone's head? Yes. Did we, as a fan base start to say “here we go again”? Yes. But what really happened is exactly what I told you would happen. Manning made a couple of plays. Heʼs good. He scored two touchdowns in the final quarter of the game but the Houston Texans did what they needed to do to put it away. They won the game. I wouldnʼt be surprised if we play this team again in January.

The best thing that came out of this win was how disappointed the players were in the locker room after the game. “We come in after the game and it wasn’t like there was a bunch of dancing in the locker room or anything,” Gary Kubiak said. “They were proud of winning the game, but they were disappointed that they didn’t close the game in a type of fashion we had played."

So in a way it was kind of a moral defeat if you will. The Texans felt like they completely dominated the opposition, just like they did in the two previous weeks. The competition was better but the result should have been the same, and they new it. They will learn from it.

Kubiak often talks about how good teams, like this team, hold themselves accountable. Good teams don’t have to be coached about things like that. The players coach each other. They have a higher standard. This is not fluff, rah-rah stuff. This is the 2012 Houston Texans. They look scary good.

Also looking a bit scary is Matt Schaub’s left ear, or what’s left of it anyway. Matt took several big hits in the game and two of them came with little yellow hankies attached to them as Von Miller and Joe Mays were both flagged for roughing the passer. The shot from Mays was accompanied by Von Miller yet again. In the middle of the sandwich was Schaub’s head. Mays lowered his head and collided with Schaub’s helmet sending it flying violently off of his head.

Schaub grabbed his head and you could see blood streaming down his ear. Initially it was thought that he was bleeding from his inner ear but then it became clear that a little chunk of his ear had been ripped off along with his helmet.

Schaub has looked exceptional through the first three games and Sunday was his best yet. We keep talking about how many different ways this team can beat you and Denver got to see what the deep ball looks like as it leaves Schaub’s hand and lands in the hands of Johnson or Kevin Walter perfectly as they stride down the field to the end zone. Schaub threw four touchdowns to four different receivers and the offense rolled all day long.

The only real negative was that Derrick Newton played his worst game yet. Newton was facing two very good pass rushers in Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil and it showed. He struggled all game long with mental mistakes and technique issues.

Defensively the Texans kept Manning in check until the last two touchdowns. Manning completed a pedestrian 50% of his passes. What’s even more impressive is that he had 52 attempts. That is a massive number of incomplete passes. The Broncos did suffer from a case of the drops though, and I do expect Houston to see plenty to correct.

Week Four Preview
On Sunday Houston will welcome the NFL officials back to the field. I can’t wait to hear how loud it’s going to be in Reliant Stadium when they take the field; the refs, not the players.

Houston never really suffered too much with the replacement officials but I did notice that the Texans secondary was grabbing much more in the third week than in the previous weeks. I’m sure they will have to put that to bed with the professional referees back in action.

Playing the Tennessee Flaming Thumbtacks shouldn’t be too much of a challenge, but this is a rivalry game, and when teams know each other well it can level the playing field. If the field is level then the groundskeepers did a good job – but that will have no effect on how much better the Houston Texans are than the Tennessee Titans.

Tennessee has some talented receivers but they have a young quarterback throwing to them. The Texans secondary will be hungry after dropping four fairly easy interceptions last week.

Chris Johnson is a non factor but he’s a nonfactor specifically because Kubiak won’t let the Texans look past him. Kubiak is good at reminding his team to respect talented players. Johnson has talent despite his unwillingness to use it.

Houston should be able to make easy work of the Titans defense with midrange passes to the tight ends as well as running the zone.

Texans will go 1-0 for the fourth straight week:
Texans 31 – Titans 10

More by Barrett Walton
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Ben tate, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub

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