Texans rebound from loss, sit alone atop AFC
Several of the long-time Houston Texans fans were heard to moan, “Here we go again, the same old thing as before,” when the team got embarrassed at home by the Green Bay Packers a week ago.
But the Packer game proved to be just a bump in the road to a successful first-half of the 2012 season for the Texans. Their opponent for Sunday’s “rebound game”—the Baltimore Ravens—certainly wasn’t a patsy by any means. In fact Sunday’s humongous 43-13 victory was the worst drubbing the Ravens have taken since 2007.
And it’s not as if the Texans beat Baltimore every time the two teams meet. In fact quite the opposite is true—this was the FIRST TIME Houston has defeated the Ravens in their eight meetings, including last year’s debacle that bounced the Texans from the American Football Conference playoffs.
This leaves only the San Diego Chargers (0-4), Philadelphia Eagles (0-3) and the Minnesota Vikings (0-2) as the only National Football League teams the Houston Texans have NEVER defeated.
The nay-sayers had pretty good reason to be concerned about the Texans’ ability to rebound from the Green Bay Massacre. According to Sunday’s edition of the Houston Chronicle, recent history indicates that Week 7 has been disposable for teams with Super Bowl aspirations.
“The past two AFC champions started the season 5-1 and then lost the seventh game. In 2011, New England began the season 5-1 and then lost two games. But the Patriots didn’t falter again until their Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants,” the Chronicle wrote.
“In 2012 Pittsburgh started the season 5-1 before losing to New Orleans, The Steelers lost to Green Bay in that season’s Super Bowl,” the newspaper added.
Houston’s six victories are two more than their previous best at this point in any of their 11 seasons and gives them a nice edge for the best record in the AFC if they can maintain their 2-game margin in the conference standings. Only Baltimore (5-2) and New England (4-3) boast winning records in the AFC today. The home team has won the last six AFC Championship Games.
The Texans scored the most points against Baltimore in franchise history against a team that played in the AFC Championship Game and the second largest margin of victory ever and the 244 yardage differential was the third largest in franchise history according to Monday’s Chronicle.
Quarterback Matt Schaub connected on 23 of 37 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns. He also didn’t throw an interception and had a rating of 100.7.
The running game was just as effective, gaining 181 yards. Arian Foster led the attack with 98 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns for a 5.2 yards-per-carry. Ben Tate gained 47 yards before suffering a hamstring injury and Justin Forsett added 32 yards.
The Texans started slowly and fell behind 3-0 after Baltimore’s first possession. But within the next five minutes Houston went ahead for good 16-3 on a safety and two quick touchdowns.
And it was Orange native Wade Phillips’ defense that played a major role in the early scoring as linebacker Connor Barwin sacked Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in the end zone for a safety and defensive end J.J. Watt tipped a pass that was intercepted by defensive back Johnathan Joseph and returned 52 yards for a touchdown.
The defense harassed Flacco into a rating of 45.4 which, according to the Chronicle, is like scoring an F-minus on an exam. Flacco threw for a meager 147 yards and two interceptions. The Texans’ defense sacked the 6-6 quarterback four times, hurried him eight times and deflected five of his passes.
“We really haven’t had any close games—we’ve been dominant in the games that we won and we had that bad game against Green Bay last week,” Phillips said. “I think everybody would have said if you’re 6-1 going into the bye week, that’s a pretty good sign for your football team if you’re playing at a high level.”
“We found out today that we can still play great defense and expect to do that the rest of the year,” Head Coach Gary Kubiak concluded.
The Texans will use this bye week to heal some of the bumps and bruises and then get ready to host the Buffalo Bills on Nov. 4.
And from this Korner’s viewpoint, the next five games don’t appear to be too tough—Buffalo, at Chicago, Jacksonville, at Detroit, at Tennessee—but then the competition toughens at New England, Indianapolis, Minnesota and at Indianapolis.
And if the team can steer clear of major injuries to any of the starting players, Houston Texans fans may be watching their heroes play football in January.
KWICKIES…The Lamar Cardinals are finding out that running the ball successfully is a good way to have a good chance of winning or at least remaining competitive in the latter stages of the game. After dropping behind 17-0 at halftime at Central Arkansas Saturday night the Cards ran the football in the second half and scored both touchdowns before finally losing 24-14. Former West Orange-Stark standout DePauldrick Garrett gained 91 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown to lead the ground attack that gained 186 yards. But the Big Red had better get their game up a couple more notches as Sam Houston State comes to town Saturday.
The Orange Community Christian Lions competed in the TAPPS Division 1A State Cross-Country meet hosted by Baylor University in Waco Saturday. The Lady Lions took runner-up honors and were led by the fourth-place finish of Emily Breaux, who competed with 44 runners for medalist honors followed by Shelby McMillan (11), Hannah Breaux (18), Arianna Alford (21), Alyssa Kurtz (22), Olivia Day (28) and Keleigh Dempsey (41). In the boys’ division Ethan Beard finished 21st in a field of 51 and Jonathan Breaux was 35th.
The San Francisco Giants defeated St. Louis 6-1 Sunday night to force Game 7. However, they will meet Detroit in the 2012 World Series after blanking the defending World Champion Cardinals on Monday night. The Giants had won five straight games in the post-season when facing elimination but also were 0-5 when playing Game 7.
Kansas State moved ahead of Oregon and up to No. 3 in this week’s BCS poll, still behind Alabama and Florida. But in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 Poll the top six teams are unchanged with Alabama, Oregon, Florida, Kansas State, Notre Dame and LSU. Oregon State moved up one spot to No. 7, Oklahoma jumped two places to No. 8, Ohio State dropped two slots to No. 9 and Southern Cal moved up one place to No. 10. Texas Tech came up three notches to No. 15 while the Texas Aggies slipped two places to No. 22. Louisiana Tech moved into the Poll at No. 24.
JUST BETWEEN US…If somebody would shove a sock into owner Jerry Jones’ mouth so we won’t keep popping off about his Dallas Cowboys playing in the upcoming Super Bowl, they would be much better off. The team seems to be playing a bit more consistently and managing the clock in the late going a little better, halting their two-game slide with a 19-14 victory over a feisty Carolina Panther team Sunday in Charlotte. The Cowboys evened their record at 3-3, but have a brutal schedule ahead, starting with the New York Giants Sunday, followed by undefeated Atlanta and Philadelphia, both on the road. It doesn’t get much easier with Cleveland, Washington and Philly at home, then at Cincinnati, home for Pittsburgh and New Orleans and finishing at Washington.