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Houston Texans Get Tough in Tussle with Tennessee Titans

Vik VijCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 20:  Matt Schaub #8 of the Houston Texans throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the NFL game at LP Field on September 20, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Texans won 34-31.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Redemption.  Coming off of one of the worst losses in franchise history, the Houston Texans bounced back in a major way in Nashville.

The Texans fell behind 21-7 early.  Chris Johnson was unstoppable early.  Coverage was blown.  The offense was stalling.  Things looked bad.

But then the Texans dug in and showed something.  Whether you want to call it heart or toughness or intestinal fortitude, the Texans responded after being punched in the mouth. 

No team can avoid adversity.  Responding to adversity is a hall mark of good teams.  I don't know if this team is good yet.  This Texans team could be good.  But the Texans responded today.

I do know they're inconsistent, but the good Texans showed up against the Titans.  I do know that when the Texans get tough, they can play with the most physical teams in the league.

Andre Johnson was unstoppable.  Normally a reserved superstar, Johnson shouted at borderline dirty Titans CB Courtland Finnegan after the former Sanford Bulldog jumped onto Johnson's head and pulled him down to the ground.  No flag was thrown, but Johnson responded by barking and jawing with Finnegan.

During a second half scuffle on the Texans' sideline, Mario Williams was throwing teammates out of the way to fight back against the Titans.  Eric Winston was seen shouting "You and me" to Titan defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch moments after Vanden Bosch dove into and twisted QB Matt Shaub's legs late after a pass was thrown.

Eugene Wilson, never known as an overly physical safety, routinely banged heads both against the pass and run.  Demeco Ryans and Dunta Robinson played like the leaders they should be.  Brian Cushing was a force and a physical presence, as was John Busing.

The Texans showed today they were not going to pushed around again.  They responded to the very physical Titans.  The Texans pushed back. 

What does it all mean?  In the standings, it's a conference win on the road against the most bitter of rivals.  The Texans are now standing at 1-1. 

But in reality, it means more.  Much more.  The Texans won on the road after laying an egg in the season opener.  Most importantly, the Texans showed they will fight back.

Is everything solved with one victory?  No.  Plenty of questions and problem areas remain.

WR Jacoby Jones is truly representative of the Texans.  On back-to-back plays, Jones dropped a sure first down and responded by scoring a touchdown. 

Jones also was bailed out by the rules when he muffed a fair catch which was recovered by the Titans.  Fortunately, by signalling for a fair catch, Jones and the Texans were awarded the ball since the Titans interfered by touching the ball before it touched the ground.

In addition, RB Steve Slaton was once again not the force he was last season.  The defense gave up too many big plays and was not able to generate much pass rush.  But, coming off of a victory, watching film and preparing for the Jaguars is much more palatable.

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