It was an emotional roller coaster ride. Being down 5-0, being up 16 in the first half and 20 in the second. Then seeing Peyton Manning come alive like Jason in a Friday the 13th sequel.
Those who question Manning’s arm strength will rethink their position after today’s 300+ yard outing. He was firing bullets all over the stadium. Accuracy is another question. Manning isn’t as on-target as he was in Indianapolis but give him time.
The Texans defense can exhale now after watching the master march up and down the field in the fourth quarter in a game where the clock seemingly moved at a glacial pace. Ultimately, a Matt Schaub 12 yard pass to Andre Johnson for a first down enabled the Texans to kill enough clock to make the Broncos’ last possession Manning-proof.
Schaub was magnificent much of the day. He took some hard hits (like the Joe Mays shot that knocked him out of the game for a play) and hung in there for his best day of the season with four touchdown passes.
Gary Kubiak showed little against Jacksonville last week that would have helped the Broncos today as Schaub kept throwing deep and connected on bombs to Johnson and Kevin Walter. There was none of the sugar-huddle display that probably added many man-hours to the Broncos preparation.
Even the first two turnovers of the season didn’t prevent the Texans from winning but they helped keep Denver in it, leading to ten points. And the drama continued on the right side with Ryan Harris replacing Derek Newton at right tackle late in the game.
J.J. Watt’s Pro Bowl campaign is morphing into a defensive player of the year campaign. The Texans defense kept getting off the field for most of the game before Manning’s Glenn-Close-out-of-the bathtub act.
It’s still early and projecting greatness onto this team would be premature. Looking around the league, it’s clear that NFL success is a week-to-week thing. But it’s also crystal clear that this is the best Texans team we have ever seen.
Tags: J.J. Watt, Matt Schaub, Peyton Manning
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