Texans 38, Titans 14: After Early Scare, Houston Finally Proves It Can Handle Success
5.) J.J. Watt
For the first time all year, Watt isn't at one or two on the list. That's because he and the rest of the Houston defensive line were blocked too easily on running plays, particularly in quarters two and three. But Watt remained his usual dominant self against the pass, recording a pair of sacks and recovering a fumble. At the season's quarter mark, he's already up to 7.5 sacks, 16 tackles, five passes deflected and a fumble recovery -- phenomenal numbers for a 3-4 end. It makes him the obvious frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year.
4.) James Casey
Matt Schaub does have some things to work on
With the exception of the opening drive, the Texans were forced into a physical, grinding game because the protection didn't buy Schaub enough time to find receivers for big plays downfield. That allowed Houston's fullback to shine with his finest performance of the young season. The Texans frequently put Casey in motion and gave him opportunities in the short passing game, where he caught five passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. But Casey was equally impressive in run blocking, most notably when he leveled a blitzing Tennessee linebacker to spring Arian Foster for a first-quarter touchdown.
"We've got a ton of weapons," said Schaub. "Whether it's our wideouts or tight ends, James at fullback or our halfbacks. They all make plays for us. It really is pick your poison as a defense."
As strong as the Texans were in 2011, they did it largely without Casey after he severely strained a pectoral muscle in Week 5 against Oakland. This year, Gary Kubiak's offense adds arguably the best dual-threat fullback in football, and they reaped the rewards on Sunday.