Houston Texans vs. Minnesota Vikings: Live Blog, Reaction and Analysis
Well folks, we are halfway through the second quarter, and the first points of the board were put up by the Minnesota Vikings. Up to this point, the Houston Texans' defense had looked solid; now it looks more like it should—a game of back-up players.
Few players have impressed me thus far. Bryan Braman continues to bring pressure to the QB, and Brooks Reed is getting the respect he deserves from the Vikings offense. Dominque Barber has played well for the special teams but has otherwise played average overall.
Stay tuned for more!
As the game winds down to an end (and the Vikings score for a fourth time) let us recap what we have learned from this game.
Matt Leinart looked sharp for most of this game. He stayed upright in the pocket and made great plays. He finished with 13 of 16 passes completed for 145 yards. He did not throw any interceptions and looked in control of the offense.
Chris Ogbonnaya came out and showed why he deserves to be the last RB on the roster. He made some huge plays (which were negated by dumb penalties) and finished the game with 62 yards on 14 touches. He caught a pass for 10 yards proving that he can be an effective weapon receiving too.
Garrett Graham finished with six catches for 71 yards and looked like a great offensive weapon. Bryant Johnson, whom the Texans just signed had three catches for more than 60 yards. He looked like a great option for a fourth Texans receiver.
Brooks Reed has already garnered the respect of defenses in the preseason. The Vikings were constantly shifting extra players to his side of the field in order to keep him out of the QB's face. He still managed to bring great pressure all night long and finished with multiple pressures on the QB.
Bryan Braman showed spurts of great play and was in the backfield a few times. He has been making great plays during the preseason and tonight's performance should solidify his position somewhere deep on the depth chart.
The Texans looked horrid tonight. They had 10 penalties for 99 yards. Many big plays were negated by these penalties which, in effect, cost the Texans many points.
However, the Texans still finished with more than 300 total yards for the game.
This was a final audition for many Texans players and, as of Saturday, there will be some very disappointed players clearing out their lockers. Some of those players lost their positions in tonight's game (Jeff Maehl) while others never had it to begin with (Steve Slaton).
After tonight it is fairly obvious that the Texans need to stay healthy, otherwise things could get very, very ugly.
Perhaps the greatest revelation has been in the play of Texans TE Garrett Graham. His ability to get open, make the catch, and turn up-field has proven valuable in this game. While the Texans already have great depth at the TE position with Owen Daniels and Joel Dreessen, Graham could earn a spot on the special teams with this type of playing.
Vikings RB Caleb King runs the ball into the endzone for another Minnesota TD.
Score: Vikings 21 - Houston 0.
There is 13:47 left in the game.
DT Damione Lewis and LB Brooks Reed penetrate the Vikings offensive line and get a great hit in the backfield. Reed has played well all throughout the game and the Vikings have shifted coverage to his side all night in order to keep him away from the QB.
A deep pass by the Vikings falls incomplete and they now face a second-and-long play at the Texans 30. The Vikings continue to run the ball well and, after another great gain, have a first down at the end of the third quarter.
Score: Vikings 14 - Texans 0.
Texans QB T.J. Yates puts up a jump ball for WR Derrick Townsel and is intercepted. Vikings take over at their own 40 yard line.
The Texans finally shut down the Vikings as DE Tim Jamison hits the runner in the backfield for a loss of two yards followed by a great open-field tackle by LB Xavier Adibi to prevent a first down.
A delay-of-game against the Vikings backs them up to their own 35 where they will punt.
Texans KR Trindon Holliday is dropped after a minimal return of about two yards.
The Texans continue to defeat themselves with penalties. Chris Ogbonnaya had a beautiful rush for around 60 yards that was negated (yet again) by a holding call. Shortly thereafter QB T.J. Yates was sacked and the Texans have to kick the ball away again.
While I know that these are backup players, who are not as experienced on the field as the starters are, some of these calls against the Texans are very shady.
There have been a few calls that should have been made against the Vikings that were "conveniently" missed. Still, the Texans look like they are burying themselves quickly as they are now well behind the Vikings.
Score: Vikings 14 - Houston 0.
QB T.J. Yates starts the third quarter for the Texans and looks comfortable under the gun. He connects with Dorin Dickerson and Garrett Graham for quick yardage of 40+ yards.
Chris Ogbonnaya continues to impress. He broke off a 25 yard run which was negated by a holding call against the Texans.
The Vikings collapse the pocket of the Texans and hit Yates, the ball comes loose and the Vikings recover the ball.
Stats at the half:
QB Matt Leinart - 13/16 for 145 yds and 0 TDs, 0 INTs
QB Christian Ponder - 8/14 for 69 yards and 1 TD, 0 INTs
Ogbonnaya - 9 for 48
Dickerson - 1 for 14
Ponder - 7 for 56
Robinson - 4 for 40
At the end of the first half Texans K Neil Rackers bangs his kick off the left upright and misses.
Score: Vikings 7 - Texans 0
Every time the Texans make a good play they seem to have a penalty against them.
While this game may not mean much for the starters there are players who are costing themselves roster spots with their sloppy play.
Garrett Graham continues to get open and Matt Leinart continues to find him. Leinart has now connected with Bryant Johnson, Garrett Graham, Trindon Holliday, and Jeff Maehl for more than 100 yards.
The Texans continue to try to find an answer for QB Christian Ponder. Every time he breaks to the outside he takes off for big yardage. He is playing more like a RB than a QB and the Texans have no answer for him.
Meanwhile, the Vikings' center Brandon Fusco takes a cheap shot on the Texans and costs his team 15 yards. The Vikings have to punt the ball away and save the Texans the task of having to defend on fourth and short.
At the two-minute warning Texans QB Matt Leinart connects with TE Garrett Graham for a gain of about 13 yards.
The Texans go three-and-out again. Matt Leinart overthrows the Texans' recently signed WR Bryant Johnson.
Leinart has had some flashes of greatness tonight but overall has failed to impress. He stays in the pocket and takes big shots downfield but fails to scramble for yardage when the opportunity arises. Meanwhile, Vikings QB Christian Ponder appears to have more rushing yards than most players on the field tonight.
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