With an opportunity to maintain sole possession of first place in the AFC South, the Houston Texans were handed the most gruesome and dominating loss in recent memory.
Dominated in all phases of the game, the Texans had the stadium half empty midway through the fourth quarter. The half that remained, excluding Giants fans of course, stayed only to boo the Texans off the field.
"They kicked our tail in every phase of the game," coach Gary Kubiak said. "We just got our butt kicked and played undisciplined."
Arian Foster, the NFL's leading rusher, was held to 25 yards on 11 carries. The defense gave up 414 total yards as New York held possession for over 38 minutes.
Rookies Kareem Jackson and Sherrick McManis each had an interception, but the offense couldn't make it count.
The Texans have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL this season. Their offense has looked unbeatable at times, and flat at others. The offensive line, as far as the fans can see, has shown up to play in two of the five games. As we all know, offensive success starts with the O-Line. Matt Schaub simply can't be effective without time in the pocket.
One consistent facet of the Texans game has been the pass defense. Unfortunately for them, it has been consistently awful. Giving up 409 passing yards per game, the Texans have made every quarterback they face look like the MVP.
Even Bruce Gradkowski, who is by no means a good quarterback, put up 278 yards and 2 TD passing on the Texans.
The secondary — Kareem Jackson in particular — has taken a lot of negative heat the last few weeks. Blame cannot be placed solely on the secondary, though. The unit up front aren't pressuring the quarterback.
Pressure creates turnovers. The two times Cushing blitzed off the outside, Eli Manning threw an interception.
"We got to get pressure up front and challenge them to make plays on the back end," LB DeMeco Ryans said. "When the ball is in the air we have to believe that it’s our ball and go take it and make a play on it.”
It is time for defensive coordinator, Frank Bush, to start aggressively pursuing the quarterback.
How to improve
The defensive woes aren't a product of bad scheme, but a lack of personnel. The interior line is weak and the secondary is inexperienced.
Quite frankly, these corners couldn't cover their mouths to sneeze.
So what can the Texans do to fix the problem?
Well, if it isn't scheme, changes have to be made. The front office has to be aggressive in trying to bring in extra help. Whether they go after an experienced cornerback or a pass rusher, they need to do it fast.
Secondly, Gary Kubiak and the leaders of this football team have to do their job. There needs to be more motivation on both sides of the ball. The players need a spark and maybe a new face isn't the only way to do it.
The lack of intensity is inexcusable.
The Texans lacked emotion on Sunday. They weren't aggressive and they didn't look motivated. Simply, they were completely flat.
The result was embarrassing.
On to Week 6
Every player in the Houston locker room is in need of redemption. There isn't a single player that had a good game against the Giants. They owe the fans a big win.
"Without a doubt, [we have] got to beat the hell out of Kansas City for these fans out here," said defensive tackle Amobi Okoye. "They deserve more.”
Perhaps with two embarrassing home loses, the motivation will finally be there for the Texans. Houston demands a dominating, emotional game in which the Texans play 60 minutes of punishing football.
Just show us a sense of urgency out there!
According to Kubiak, guard Mike Brisiel is the worst of the injuries. He has a sprained MCL.
"Whether [the injury] is grade two or three, that’s good news for me, because MCL’s don’t require surgery," said Brisiel. "I should be able to brace it up and should be able to get back after it whenever I feel good enough."
Arian Foster banged up his knee against the Giants but ran with the team on Monday. Andre Johnson, who has been dealing with a sprained ankle, also ran with the team and says he feels good.
Jacoby Jones remains day-to-day with a calf injury.