If last night was any indication, the acquisition of quarterback Matt Schaub and the improvement of the Texans’ offensive line may be what the doctor ordered. The Texans scored on six consecutive series in a 33-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals in a game thta was shown on NFL Network last night. Schaub and backup QB Sage Rosenfels combined to go 17-of-25 for 233 yards, with Schaub running into the end zone for a score (Schaub’s first professional rushing touchdown).
Another positive for the Texans – rookie wide receiver Jacoby Jones continued to impress the team with an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown; he also ran twice for 24 yards and had two catches for 32 yards. If he continues this good work, then he should be a lock to be in the WR mix. Placekicker Kris Brown also kicked four field goals – the second consecutive game that he has kicked 4 FG’s. But more than anything from my observation of the game, the Texans’ offensive line was very impressive, not allowing Schaub to get sacked and Rosenfels to get sacked only once.
Schaub made it a point to praise the O-line last night, telling John McClain of the Houston Chronicle last night, “They kept my jersey clean. I have 100 percent confidence in my pass protection. The linemen really worked hard to pick up the stunts and blitzes. The backs and tight ends blocked well, too. Overall, everyone just did a great job of creating a pocket and making me feel comfortable back there. I didn’t feel any pressure at all.” This is important in that the Texans, prior to this season, was not very proficient in protecting the QB at all (David Carr could attest to that).
The only negative I noticed was that the Texans’ defensive line registered only one sack – that by backup tackle Thomas Johnson. Defensive end Mario Williams was invisible last night, with no stats to speak of (no tackles and no sacks). That will probably add fuel to the fire with the Texans passing on Reggie Bush; but to be fair, there’s still 2 more games for the Texans – and especially Williams – to get their act together on the D-line. The Texans offense scored only one TD in three trips to the red zone. Despite that, they looked vastly improved over the teams from years past.
The Texans’ running game did a great job last night, totalling 143 yards (a 4.5 yard per carry average); starting running back Ahman Green contributed little, gaining only 19 yards on six carries. Overall, a very good job by the Texans in containing the firepower offense that is the Cardinals. The next 2 weeks are key in determining how the Texans fare this season. It doesn’t get any easier for the Texans as they face the Dallas Cowboys at Reliant Stadium. I know one thing for certain – if the Texans defensive line doesn’t get their act together real quick, it will be a long season for the team.