Houston Texans 2-0: Why They Are Destined for Playoff Glory
We are now two weeks into the NFL regular season, and here's a surprise: the Houston Texans are undefeated and are the sole leader of the AFC South.
In the first game, the Texans ran over and around last year's AFC Champion and division rival, the Indianapolis Colts.
Last week, they squeaked out a nail-biter in Washington in overtime, thanks to Neil Rackers' 35-yard field goal. To boot, it was the franchise's first victory in overtime. Ever.
What can't this team do? Even though they are the hottest team in the league, they are bound to have a hiccup.
But after two weeks, here is why the Houston Texans are destined for playoff glory.
Running Game In Full Effect
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After the first two weeks of the season, the Texans have the #1 ranked rushing offense in the entire league. What is even more impressive, though, is that the team only had 58 rushing yards last week.
This Texans team racked up so many yards in Week 1, that they could have virtually taken a week off from running the ball, and still been in first place.
Before the season, rookie Ben Tate was slotted to become the starter and lead the rushing attack, and was a definite possibility for Offensive Rookie of the Year. In his first preseason game, he fractured his ankle and is now out for the season.
Next in line could have been former stud Steve Slaton. However, the Texans have had it up to the moon with his butterfingers. The former West Virginia Mountaineer fumbled seven times last season, and head coach Gary Kubiak swiftly placed Slaton on the bench.
In Week 1, the Colts strut into Reliant Stadium looking to plow over the Texans. The problem was, nobody told that plan to Arian Foster.
Foster stepped into the starting spot and has not looked back. Literally, he is still running.
Through the first two games, he has an even 300 yards and three touchdowns, and is the perfect complement to the Texans' aerial assault.
Matt Schaub Coming Up Clutch
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Coming into the season, Matt Schaub was everyone's sleeper pick in fantasy football. He was one of the top three quarterbacks last season, and for some reason, nobody knew anything about him.
Well that has now changed as Schaub beautifully orchestrated a 17-point comeback win over the Redskins in Week 2. He threw for 497 yards and three touchdowns, each to a different receiver.
Down by 17 with under four minutes to go in the third quarter, Schaub hit Kevin Walter and Andre Johnson for touchdowns, and put kicker Neil Rackers in position to hit a 43-yard field goal.
Where legends are made, though, are in overtime. The Texans started with the ball, but could not score, and were forced to punt to the 'Skins. After Redskins kicker Graham Gano shanked a 52-yard attempt for the win, Schaub was at it again.
He calmly led his offense down the field, including a beautiful lob pass to tight end Joel Dreessen, and set up Neil Rackers for the game-winning field goal.
We all knew Schaub had a cannon arm, but his win over the Redskins proved he is a leader. And that is exactly what the Texans have needed.
Gary Kubiak Has Guts
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There were two instances in overtime last week, that showed head coach Gary Kubiak was one of the boldest, gutsiest coaches in the NFL.
With the ball and the chance to win the game with a 51-yard field goal, Kubiak elected to send out punter Matt Turk and trust his defense. Had it not worked out, it would have gone down as one of the dumber calls in overtime history.
But thank God it worked. Because I do not want to call that man (see picture) anything but nice names.
Turk punted the ball into the end zone, placing the ball at the 20-yard line for Donovan McNabb.
After a nice drive by the Redskins, Washington head coach Mike Shanahan sent out rookie kicker Graham Gano for the game-winning field goal. From 52 yards out, the kick was up and sailed good.
But wait, Kubiak called a time out right before the snap!
Re-kick and Gano shanked it right.
There is only one word that can describe these calls: GUTS.
Bernard Pollard Leading The Defense
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Richard Justice, a sports columnist for the Houston Chronicle, tweeted yesterday that "since Bernard Pollard entered lineup, Texans run defense gone from NFL-worst 205 yds a game to 81.4. No. 2 in NFL last 14 games."
Pollard, who is famous for ending Tom Brady's season in 2008, is now the leader and playmaker of the Texans' defense.
With under seven minutes to go in the game, and the Texans down by seven points, Graham Gano lined up for a 29-yard field goal attempt. Pollard got through the blockers and swatted the potential dagger in the Texans' back.
In just two games, the safety has 15 tackles, a forced fumble, and a blocked kick. And he is just getting started.
They Have The "It" Factor
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Every year, the Super Bowl features a team that nobody expected.
Last year it was the New Orleans Saints. The year before it was the Arizona Cardinals. And the year before that it was the New York Giants.
So for this year, why can't it be the Houston Texans?
They are young, energized, and willing to put in the work to make a playoff push. Years before, they have been so close to making the postseason, only to be booted out by a crushing defeat by the Indianapolis Colts.
Well they have already beaten the Colts this season, and pretty handedly.
The "It" factor of youth, energy, and passion, along with loads of talent, could quite possibly help this Houston Texans team to playoff glory.