Rapid Reaction: Texans 38, Titans 14
September, 30, 2012
By Paul Kuharsky | ESPN.com
HOUSTON -- Thoughts on the Texans' 38-14 win over the Titans at Reliant Stadium:
What it meant: The Texans are 4-0 for the first time and continue to make a case for being the AFC’s best team. They let the Titans stay in it through halftime, but then found the sort of big plays that put away an inferior opponent after intermission. The Titans are 1-3 a quarter of the way through their season.
What I liked, Texans: J.J. Watt continued to play dominant football on the defensive line, with two sacks, a fumble recovery and the sort of play that helped frustrate Titans right tackle David Stewart into a couple of personal foul penalties. Danieal Manning grabbed an off-target pass from Matt Hasselbeck that was tipped by Taylor Thompson and weaved 55 yards for a beautiful interception return.
What I didn’t like, Titans: They really are a poor tackling team. Andre Johnson stiff-armed Michael Griffin off of him on the second play from scrimmage, and Griffin looked like he was playing flag football. On Owen Daniels’ 28-yard touchdown, Akeem Ayers dove fruitlessly after him before he easily slipped a weak attempt by Jordan Babineaux. And those are only two snapshots.
What I liked, Titans: Chris Johnson re-emerged. Just when you’re ready to give up, he does some darting and dashing and shows about all of the qualities that made him such a dangerous player early in his career. Where’s that been? Yes, some of it came late and didn't mean much, but it was a drastic improvement.
What I wonder: Boo whenever you like. But the Texans were still a 3-0 team with a seven-point lead early in the third quarter when the Reliant Stadium crowd was unsatisfied with play calling deep in Houston’s own end. It didn’t take long for Houston to find the plays to put the Titans away. So maybe a bit more patience would have been more appropriate?
The big injury concern: Jake Locker suffered a left shoulder injury when he got slammed by an unblocked Glover Quin on a first-quarter blitz and the next we saw him he was in jeans on the bench wearing a sling. Matt Hasselbeck sparked the Titans briefly, but the quarterback wasn’t going to matter in the big picture on this day.
What’s next: The Texans will play at the Jets on "Monday Night Football," which should give the hype meter a nice boost. Tennessee plays at Minnesota in a game that looked like it should be a win when the schedule came out but is far from any sort of certainty now.