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
Posted in Marc Vandemeer | No Comments »
My buddy Josh Innes from Sports Radio 610 asked me if these first two Texans games reminded me of my days with
Miami when they would blow out the likes of Florida A&M or Temple. It’s never that way in the NFL. Every game is a potential loss. But it shows you how far we’ve come that these questions even come up.
I’ll give you one Miami comparison: depth. The fact that you give defenses a ‘break’ when you take Arian Foster out and put in Ben Tate is just another example of how strong the Texans are.
Miami used to rest Clinton Portis with Willis McGahee (who we will see this Sunday). And when the bench emptied with the blowout on, they would put in a freshman named Frank Gore. I am lucky enough to have a championship ring from that ’01 squad that saw 13 players eventually drafted in the first round. Unbelievable.
No, I am not saying this Texans team is the NFL equivalent of that. I don’t think it’s possible. But there is a lot of depth here. Earl Mitchell is playing nose just about every other series. Whitney Mercilus led the NCAA in sacks last year and has to push to get playing time. Tim Jamison could start for a lot of teams but is a reserve here at defensive end. But the best example is Tate, who is a punishing runner and part of the best running back stable in the league.
The stakes go up now. Denver will be angry and ready. The Broncos will stack up against the run and hope their talented DBs can deal with Andre Johnson and company. And is anyone really convinced that Peyton Manning will play as badly as he did early against Atlanta?
The Bulls on Parade have to be ready to deal with those quick Manning drops. J.J. Watt may have another batted ball or two but will it be enough? Will Manning’s ability to call run or pass be effective against the Texans front seven? And if Houston needs to bring Danieal Manning up to help on McGahee and Knowshon Moreno, don’t think Peyton won’t be ready to unload.
It’ll be a great chess game and a physical showdown. And, by far, the toughest game of the 2012 season to date.
Tags: Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Frank Gore, Knowshon Moreno, Peyton Manning, Willis McGahee
Posted in Marc Vandemeer | No Comments »
Along with discussing Mario Williams and other impending free agents, and the release of right tackle Eric Winston, Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair explained once and for all on Tuesday why, despite persistent national reports to the contrary, his team is not interested in Peyton Manning.
Manning, of course, was released by the Indianapolis Colts last week, making him free to sign with any team. The primary reason the Texans will not be that team is because they already have Matt Schaub, who is fully expected to be healthy in 2012 coming off a season-ending Lisfranc injury.
“Number one, we’ve got a quarterback that we think is sound,” McNair said. “We think his foot’s going to be fine. He’s got a great arm and he can take us to a championship, and so we have other issues that we have to deal with. And of course, the teams that are looking at Peyton, who is just a terrific – been a terrific – quarterback, as he says, he’s 80 (to) 85 percent healed or healthy, but you don’t know if he’ll get to 100 percent. So, there’s a lot of risk that they’re gonna be taking because they can’t work him out. But I hope he’s healthy, and I hope he plays; he’s a great asset to the league. But we’re in good shape in that regard, and we’re more concerned about keeping our core players, our free agents, and trying to re-sign them as opposed to bringing in someone else.”
McNair was asked if he hopes Manning does not end up with the division rival Tennessee Titans, one of four teams the four-time MVP reportedly will meet with before making a decision.
“Well, it really doesn’t matter,” McNair said, smiling. “We beat him when he was healthy, and we’ll do it again. It’s up to us. It’s up to us. We play a lot of good quarterbacks. We play against a lot of good ones.”
Tags: Bob McNair, Chris Olsen, Eric Winston, Free agency, Mario Williams, Matt Schaub, Peyton Manning, Rick Smith
Posted in Nick Scurfield | 11 Comments »