How I See It: AFC South Stock Watch
October, 13, 2009
By Paul Kuharsky | ESPN.com
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Posted by ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky
1. Jaguars pass rush: Returning from injury, Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was sacked once and hit four times in 30 pass attempts as he was given plenty of time by Jacksonville to pick out receivers.
It was far too easy for Hasselbeck to throw for 241 yards, four touchdowns and to post a 125.1 passer rating. The Jaguars have recorded four sacks in five games. The league average before "Monday Night Football" was 10.2.
2. Tennessee’s nickel defense: Even before cornerback Nick Harper got hurt, further thinning out the Titans’ options in the defensive backfield, the team was so wary of nickelback Ryan Mouton that it chose to stay in base personnel against the Colts when they used three wide receivers.
Doesn’t an inexperienced defensive back stand a better chance to matchup with slot receiver Austin Collie than an experienced linebacker? That was Keith Bulluck lined up with Collie on the 39-yard touchdown, a matchup that got Indy excited.
3. Houston’s offensive line: The Texans got their first red zone touchdown run of the year when Chris Brown got into the end zone from a yard out in the third quarter, but the Texans’ blockers couldn’t make it happen a second time.
On two plays from Arizona’s 1-yard line at game’s end, they couldn’t create enough push for Brown to squeeze into the end zone when a touchdown would have tied the score, 28-28. Instead they flew him 2-3.
Manning is only the third quarterback in league history to start the season with five consecutive 300-yard games. He’s got a sore left knee and a week to rest it as the Colts head to their bye.
2. Andre Johnson, Texans WR: With Houston outclassed in the first half and Johnson outplayed by his counterpart Larry Fitzgerald to that point, Johnson was fantastic in the final 30 minutes. He scored two touchdowns as the Texans came back from 21 down to forge a 21-21 tie before losing.
The scoring pass he fielded about five yards short of the goal line may be the AFC South highlight of the year so far, as he bounced off a linebacker, knocking him over, then pinged off two other defenders as he bulled his way into the end zone.
3. Collie, Colts WR: The rookie slot receiver benefitted from the Titans odd decision to attempt to cover him predominantly with linebackers rather than with an inexperienced defensive back. Collie showed a good feel for how to take advantage of the matchups en route to a game-high 97 yards and two touchdowns.
The fourth-round draft pick out of BYU has so far shown himself to be exactly what the team envisioned when it tabbed him in April’s draft.