The battle for Texas was the NFL’s most hyped week 3 game and the league’s most hyped team was practically a no-show as the Cowboys destroyed the Texans 27-13.Â Dallas outplayed Houston in every facet of the game and gave the Texans and their atrocious defense an early-season reality check.
What Went Right
If I had not already committed to making this section a weekly feature, it would’ve been omitted this week.Â Nothing really went right for the Texans.Â The offense couldn’t find the end zone or develop any rhythm and the defense, as has been their wont, decided to not cover any receivers.
Prior to a 4th quarter fumble, Arian Foster was again proving he deserves to be among the NFL’s elite running backs.Â The only Texan able to make a dent in the Dallas defense, Foster ran for 106 yards and caught 4 passes for 20 yards.Â However, the fumble proved costly and killed any chance of a comeback.
What Went Wrong
First, complaining again about the Texans’ secondary is futile.Â They’re terrible.Â While one could argue they showed improvement by only allowing 284 yards passing instead of the 400+ of the previous two weeks, rookie Kareem Jackson is getting progressively worse, as evidenced by falling down and allowing Roy Williams to walk to his second touchdown reception.
Every pregame analyst emphasized the Cowboys’ need to establish the run.Â At the beginning of the game, coach Wade Phillips did just that, calling primarily run plays to start.Â However, since Phillips apparently didn’t watch film of the Texans’ last two games, it took a few wide-open receptions for America’s Team to realize running the ball only helps the Texans.
Second, seeing a number eight Texans jersey lying on the ground so often made me think David Carr was back at quarterback. After setting a franchise passing record last week, Matt Schaub spent the day on the grass.Â The Cowboys shut down the Texans passing attack and Schaub never looked comfortable.
Third, where was Mario Williams?Â He didn’t record a statistic and his name wasn’t mentioned after the pregame introductions.Â Romo wasn’t pressured and the Texans can’t win if their infamous #1 draft pick doesn’t make a single tackle.
Finally, Andre Johnson again left the game with ankle troubles.Â However, there were no Willis Reed-like heroics this week, as Johnson (and the rest of the receiving corps) was a non-factor after his return.Â He even stumbled on a deep pass route and allowed an interception to Michael Jenkins.Â This injury could be a lingering problem, and with the Texans’ bye still three weeks away, Johnson may need to miss a game or two to completely heal.
The Texans’ comeback momentum took a serious hit after the Jenkins interception.Â The Cowboys capitalized on the turnover and quarterback Tony Romo marched up the field against the weak Texans secondary, completing five consecutive passes for 71 yards and the embarrassing post-Kareem-Jackson-fall touchdown.
Work On It
The Texans entered the game as the NFL’s most hyped team (Up to #3 on ESPN’s Power Rankings), but the hype proved premature as the 0-2 Cowboys delivered a humbling reality check.Â Houston fans, high from the victories against Indianapolis and Washington, had Super Bowl expectations after two games.Â This game further exposed the Texans’ glaring weaknesses.Â The Texans cannot compete in the post season with their current pass defense.Â If I can see the secondary’s futility, every offensive coordinator in the league can, too, and they will plan an aerial assault when facing Houston.
While the Cowboys defense deserves credit for stopping the Texans’ high-powered offense, the Texans still cannot present a balanced attack.Â In week 1, Foster’s rushing dominated.Â In week 2, Schaub broke passing records.Â In week 3, they’re back to rushing dominance and weak passing.Â The Texans must have every offensive player show up at the same time.
The Texans travel to Oakland to face the perennially disastrous Raiders next week â€“ a game that should allow them to work out their kinks.
Numerical Indications of Athletic Achievement
Schaub: 23/32, 241 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Foster: 17 rush, 106 yds, 4 rec, 20 yds, 1 fum
Johnson: 4 rec, 64 yds
Jones: 5 rec, 51 yds
Walter: 3 rec, 34 yds, 1 TD
Rackers: 2/2 FG, 1/1 XP