Texans-Jets: 4 Winners, 4 Losers, the World Learns About J.J. Watt Edition
Well, it wasn't sexy, it wasn't pretty, and it was actually a whole lot closer than most people thought it would be, but the Texans escaped northern New Jersey with a 23-17 win over the New York Jets.
Photo by Marco Torres Arian Foster, the workhorse, had another good night.
After the game, most Texan fans on Twitter were more interested in breaking down what went wrong (not sure if you've heard, but the Twitterverse thinks Andre Johnson and Johnathan Joseph are both a couple hacks right about now) than relishing a nationally televised road win against a team the Texans has never beaten in their history. That's a sign that (a) your team is getting really good, (b) your fans are getting really spoiled or (c) you laid the eight-point spread and you're pissed that the Texans only won by six.
Here, I like to balance it out, give credit where due and criticism where warranted. Last night, there were winners and losers. Here are a few of them:
4. J.J. Watt
Well, there you go, nation. That's the guy you've been hearing so much about. Six tackles, a huge third down sack, and three passes swatted down. Given the fact that J.J. Watt's knocking down passes called for shotgunning a beer in the Battle-Drink game, he may have personally sent dozens of Houstonians to the hospital for an impromptu stomach pump.
3. Arian Foster fantasy owners
...of which, I am one. Thanks for the 24 points, Arian! With Ben Tate out with a toe injury, it was another heavy workload night for the Texans' bellcow back (29 carries for 152 yards), who is back on pace to break Larry Johnson's record for carries in a season (416 is the record, Arian is on pace for 422). Thankfully, tonight we saw a couple of explosive plays out of Foster, one huge one to get the Texans out of a deep field position hole in the first quarter.
2. Owen Daniels' monster 2012 season
Hey, don't look now, but guess which player is leading the AFC in receptions (23, tied with Gronk) and yards (311) for a tight end? Yes, Owen Daniels. His touchdown gave the Texans the early 7-0 lead. Also, go back and look at some of Arian Foster's big runs -- Owen Daniels was blocking his ass off last night.
1. Hometown bettors this Sunday
Prior to Monday night, the Texans had opened as a 2.5 point favorite over the Packers. The line immediately jumped to Texans minus 5.5. Perhaps the Texans underwhelming, somewhat flawed performance against the Jets will inch that thing back closer to a field goal. We can only hope.
4 Brian Cushing's knee
By the time you're reading this, we may know more about the severity of the injury Cushing sustained on a questionable cut block by the Jets' Matt Slauson. More than the hit, the pained look on Cushing's face gives me the biggest reason to worry. For a guy with a reputed high threshold for pain to wear it on his face like that is not good. Give their respective skill levels, a proportional response on Slauson would have probably involved dismemberment.
3. ESPN's post game coverage
Bad enough that we have to sit through Stuart Scott's faux intelligence and inane questions (No joke, he asked Trent Dilfer and Steve Young "If Mark Sanchez's season so far were a Broadway play, what would it be?" Seriously, Stu, shut the fuck up, and go away.), but in the wake of the Texans moving to 5-0 on the season, we got Rex Ryan's post game presser, Jets highlights, Jets analysis, and Mark Sanchez's presser sandwiched around three minutes with Arian Foster. ESPN, the world is sick of the Jets. Hell, the Jets are sick of the Jets.
2. Connor Barwin's tenure on the milk carton
Two tackles in the game, eight tackles on the season, no sacks. This is no way to be executing a contract year.
1. Texans return teams and kick coverage teams
I'm being overly specific here because I don't want Donnie Jones to get caught in the clutter of saying "special teams" are bad. Jones has been excellent. Shayne Graham has been pretty good. Other than that, they need to hit the reset button on the whole thing. They gave up their second return touchdown of the season, and this Trindon Holliday experiment needs the plug pulled now. He's not making plays, he's being game planned around, and every catch of a punt or kick is an adventure. Hell, he can barely communicate with his teammates as to when to get the hell away from a rolling punt; I tweeted during the game, if Holliday were a crossing guard, there would be ten kids every morning getting hit by cars.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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