For the fourth consecutive week, the Texans find themselves in the win column.
Many picked Houston to win, but I don't think anyone saw an old-fashioned whipping like this coming.
In most cases, the Texans coaching staff stuck with what worked. But there were a few new things that we learned about the team today, and we'll take a look at those now.
Coming into the game, there were several major media outlets questioning if the Texans defense was really this good or if they had just played inferior quarterbacks. Well, against media darling Josh Freeman, they answered that question soundly.
Freeman had only been sacked 10 times all season prior to this game, and Houston got to him four times. They forced him into three interceptions, poor decisions all day and a quarterback rating of 31.8 overall. Wow.
As with every week, Brian Cushing had another stellar performance with eight tackles, an interception and a sack—and he didn't even have to get bloody this time to get it done.
Johnathan Joseph hit Mike Williams so hard that it made a sound so loud that I thought someone had pulled a Billy Cole and snuck a gun onto the field. Also, I have to give some credit to the much criticized Kareem Jackson, who made a great play in the end zone to prevent what would have been, at the time, a touchdown in a critical spot.
To answer the doubters questions, yes—this defense is for real.
From the very first play from scrimmage, an 80-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones, it was quite clear that the Texans offense came to play.
When Andre Johnson went down with his injury, lots of questions came up about this offense after they scored just 17, 20 and 14 the first three games without him. They have answered the last month by totaling 41, 24, 30 and 37 points in each game since.
The crazy thing is wondering how much better the offense could be once Andre Johnson and James Casey return to every-snap guys. With the success that the running game is having, Matt Schaub hasn't even needed to air it out really.
He threw the ball just 15 total times today when the Texans decided to go run heavy after having such a big early lead. A 154.9 rating for your quarterback is usually going to win you some games. Especially when you gain 185 yards on the ground from Ben Tate, Arian Foster and Derrick Ward.
If this offense is going to have that kind of output combined with a legit, dominant defense, the sky is the limit for this young team.
You know a guy is really good when an opposing player makes a play and it surprises you.
Johnathan Joseph is having such a great season that many are saying he is the best in the league at his position without the last name "Revis."
But what makes Johnathan Joseph a special player is that he has made everyone around him better. Brice McCain, Jason Allen and, yes, even Kareem Jackson have made huge improvements playing next to Joseph. He locks down one side of the field, so those guys are going to get challenged a lot more—and they're getting better each week.
I always knew that Joseph was great in coverage from seeing him play for the Bengals. But what I didn't know was that he could bring the thunder and just knock guys out when tackling.
In short, he's the greatest free agent signing in Texans history and is already their greatest cornerback in history.
Remember when some of you were upset when the front office chose him over Nnamdi Asomugha?
Bill Cowher said last week that he thought the Texans were the most complete team in the NFL, and no one on the pregame show argued. At first, I was like "Calm down, Coach." But then I started thinking about it, and it's not that far out of line.
Name another team that is top 10 in both offense and defense. The Steelers, right? Give me the Texans running and passing combo over the pass-first gamble on every play that the Steelers run. Who has a better defense? Most will argue the Ravens, but again I will take this defense and offense over a formidable defense and placing my playoff hopes on Joe Flacco.
It's up in the air, and a lot of it can be watered down by looking at stats only. But the Texans pass rush, offensive line, running back tandem and a soon to be reunited Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels receiving duo, is tough to top. And remember, Mario Williams isn't even playing.
Then we move to the one that could be argued and that is coaching. Gary Kubiak is always going to draw the dagger from my eyes, but even I will admit that he seems to have really arrived this season. He's not making knucklehead calls, and he is even winning some challenges. By now we all know what Wade Phillips has done for this defense, and his staff on the defensive side of the ball is superb thus far.
So you can argue for other coaching staffs and that's understandable. But I'm still sticking with this team as the most complete and well-rounded football team in the NFL.
Food for thought: Their average margin of victory during this winning streak is 23 points.
If you can't look at this team by this point and consider them a legitimate threat to make a run in the AFC, then you're just not paying attention.
All the media pundits want to talk about how great the Steelers are. This team from Houston beat them, remember? They all say the Ravens are the best team in the AFC, yet they've lost to both Jacksonville and Tennessee—teams that the Texans have beaten by a combined 41 points this season.
In the end, all you can do is watch out for yourself and control your own destiny. If this team wins the games that they should, a top seed in the playoffs and maybe even a first-round bye are in order. Seriously, who left on the schedule scares you?
The Bengals in Cincinnati are the only game that I could see the Texans possibly dropping. Atlanta at home no longer worries me after seeing how poorly Matt Ryan is playing for the Falcons. The rest of the teams are either mediocre to bad or have a rookie quarterback leading them.
I'm not calling for this team to win out, because 10 wins in a row is really tough in this league. But if this team plays up to its potential on both sides of the ball, as they have the last month, I'm not sure if there is anyone in the league who could beat them.