- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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The fifth consecutive win was a team record, but it came with a price says John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Now with T.J. Yates set to be quarterback, they’ll need the run game and defense more than ever.
Jerome Solomon of the Chronicle says: “The Texans (8-3), who are tied with the Ravens and Patriots for the best record in the AFC, have too much potential to be put in the hands of (Kellen) Clemens. You don’t give a scrub off the street the keys to your Ferrari. While Yates wouldn’t be the first choice of many to take the wheel either, he has such a head start on anybody who has been sitting at home watching games on television all season that he is the logical choice to handle the position … for now.” It’s not like there are a lot of alternatives at this point.
Connor Barwin recorded a franchise-record four sacks as the Texans got to Jacksonville quarterbacks seven times, says McClain.
Says Judy Batista of The New York Times: “The door to the Texans’ future that opened with (Peyton) Manning’s injury is closing with each injury of their own. The balance of the Texans’ offense will disappear because even though Yates possesses a strong arm, it is hard to imagine that a coaching staff that used an ultraconservative offense for Leinart in the first half will open the playbook for Yates.”
Don Banks of Sports Illustrated see the Texans winning the division and fizzling in the playoffs.
Quick changes have been the story of the season for the Texans, says Jason Cole of Yahoo.
Yet again, the Colts couldn’t make enough plays to win, says Phil Richards of The Indianapolis Star. A late end-zone interception ended their chances at a win. They talked of being beyond frustrated at the same old story.
On a day the Colts honored Marvin Harrison, Manning recalled the privilege of throwing to him. Mike Chappell of the Star has Manning’s reaction and Harrison’s short speech. It’s too bad it all came in the midst of such a terrible season.
Watching Cam Newton you saw why high-caliber rookie quarterbacks need to play right away, says Bob Kravitz of the Star. It’s why Andrew Luck will have to play right away for the Colts next season. I see the case for it, of course, but teams are allowed to sit a high-quality rookie behind a high-quality veteran if they like.
Maurice Jones-Drew called six points on offense ridiculous as he reviewed the Jaguars’ loss to Houston, according to Tania Ganguli of the Times-Union. The defense did its part in a loss that goes on the offense and special teams.
Says Gene Frenette of the T-U; “One thing you have to admit about Jack Del Rio’s Jaguars this season: when they latch on to a losing formula, they don’t know how to let go of it.” It’s time for Del Rio to be let go, the columnist writes.
Blaine Gabbert was pulled from the loss to the Texans, but remains the starter, says Vito Stellino of the T-U. But Rio left himself wiggle room with Luke McCown, saying Gabbert’s the guy until the coach says otherwise.
Frenette’s report card.
A fourth-down touchdown connection between Matt Hasselbeck and Damian Williams saved the Titans' season for now, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. The biggest play of the season capped the most important drive.
The Titans rediscovered their run-game magic in their win over Tampa Bay, says John Glennon of The Tennessean. Chris Johnson’s best game of the season had a different look and feel than his other two 100-yard games this season.
To get a playoff spot, the Titans must break out of the win-one, lose-one pattern they’ve been following, says David Climer of The Tennessean.
A combined nine turnovers on a wet day in Nashville made for a very sloppy game, says Glennon.
Wyatt’s report card.