Fans at Reliant Stadium ran the gamut of emotions Sunday afternoon as the joy from the Texans’ thrilling 35-31 come-from-behind victory over the Kansas City Chiefs replaced the agony and despair caused by a perpetually awful defense.
What Went Right
It was a tale of two halves for the Texans offense.Â After a dreadful first half, they were outstanding in the final two quarters, engineering a rally capped by a go-ahead Matt Schaub scrambling touchdown pass to Andre Johnson.Â After the Chiefs defense stumped them for three quarters, the Texans put up 21 fourth quarter points with Â contributions from emerging superstar, Arian Foster.
Matt Schaub is finally evolving as a quarterback and learning to improvise when on the move.Â He’s spent a lot of this young season under pressure and hasn’t responded well until today.Â Instead of taking a sack or throwing it away, Schaub scrambled and extended plays â€“ most notably the game-winning touchdown he threw while on the run.Â Schaub has always been more of a Kurt Warner type quarterback, standing in the pocket and airing it out, but now that he’s adjusted to incoming defenders, he’s added another facet to the Texans’ already deadly offense.
What Went Wrong
I’m starting to feel sorry for the Texans’ defense.Â It’s like watching that one team in little league that just can’t get it together and gets destroyed game after game.Â But when one of the kids on that team actually does something well, all the parents scream like they just won the championship.Â Likewise, expectations are so low with the Texans defense that when Antonio Smith actually tipped a pass at the line, I was shocked and excited at this usually mundane achievement.Â They’re overmatched and under-coached, have allowed the most touchdowns in the NFL and have reached the â€œso bad it’s sadâ€ level.
Before meeting up with the Chiefs, the run defense was respectable and the pass defense was atrocious, but after the Chiefs rushed for over 200 combined yards, all aspects of the Texans’ defense are officially dreadful, and losing linebacker DeMeco Ryans for any period of time will only exacerbate the situation.
However, after allowing the Chiefs to score on four straight possessions, the Texans forced a punt that led to the game-winning drive and even ironically ended the game with a sack.Â If there is any silver lining to this dark cloud, it’s that they came through when it counted most.
Kansas City head coach Todd Haley made Texans coach Gary Kubiack look timid in the first half.Â Haley was brash and creative, calling unconventional plays and succeeding on multiple fourth down conversions while Kubiack punted on fourth and short and kept his game plan as conservative as possible.
However, in the midst of the Texans rally, Kubiack called a gutsy 4th and 1 pass to tight end Owen Daniels that extended the drive and gave the offense a sense of confidence it had lacked until then.
Work on It
If you’ve read up until this point, you know exactly what needs work.Â A team cannot give up 400 yards a game and expect to compete for the Lombardi trophy.Â With a bye next week, defensive coordinator Frank Bush has two weeks to work on keeping his job and helping the offense rest and prepare to continue scoring 30 or 40 points a game to bail him out.
A recent ESPN article profiles the Texans lack of defense, crediting their struggles to using a very young secondary â€“ aptly labeled the â€œKiddie Corners.â€Â It’s a very good discussion of what ails the Texans.
Numerical Indications of Athletic Achievement
Schaub: 25/33, 305 yds, 2 TD
Foster: 18 rush, 71 yds, 2 TD, 6 rec, 26 yds
Johnson: 8 rec, 138 yds, 1 TD
Daniels: 5 rec, 79 yds
Ward: 3 rush, 58 yds, 1 TD
Dreessen: 1 rec, 5 yds, 1 TD
Rackers: 5/5 XP