AFC South: 2013 Week 9 Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Houston Texans

November, 3, 2013
HOUSTON -- A few thoughts on the Houston Texan's 27-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

What it means: The Colts maintain their commanding lead in the AFC South. Kicker Randy Bullock missed three field goals, including the potential game-tying field goal, a 55-yarder.

Stock watch: Andre Johnson remembers well that so many people thought he was washed up last season before he had one of his best statistical years. He talked this week about how he didn't know why he wasn't a guy who caught more touchdown passes. Johnson became Keenum's favorite target early against the Colts. He caught 190 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. It was Johnson's first three-touchdown game of his long and illustrious NFL career. Keenum's ascent could be a major boon for the vet.

Phillips in for Kubiak: Halftime took a somber tone when Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapsed to his knees on the field. His face showed signs of being in pain. He left the stadium in an ambulance having never lost consciousness and was at the hospital with his family. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips took over Kubiak's role for the rest of the game.

Foster hurt again: It was heralded as great news (by me) that Arian Foster was active against the Indianapolis Colts. And it was. Great news for the Texans offense. Well, it would have been if Foster stayed on the field. The running back suffered another back injury and only played in the Texans' first series. That series included zero runs. Foster left the game for good and left the Texans with one undrafted rookie and one backup running back who was toughing through broken ribs for a second straight game.

What's next: The Texans travel to Arizona to play the Arizona Cardinals.

Rapid Reaction: Tennessee Titans

November, 3, 2013

ST. LOUIS -- A few thoughts on the Tennessee Titans' 28-21 win over the St. Louis Rams:

What it means: The Titans are .500 halfway through the season and can be a big factor in the race for the AFC’s final playoff spot. They found room to get Chris Johnson going, finally, and he finished with 150 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns. The defense got a giant play with Jurrell Casey forcing a fumble by Kellen Clemens that Derrick Morgan recovered. Johnson’s second touchdown came on the next play and provided the winning margin.

Stock watch: Nate Washington was Jake Locker's go-to guy during the first four games of the season. But since Locker returned from injury, Washington has been far less prominent. He saw a streak of 85 games with at least one catch come to an end, dropping one low ball on a comeback along the right sideline against Cortland Finnegan.

One or the other: The offensive line remains an issue, but in this game it was for a different reason. Mike Otto was at right tackle for the injured David Stewart. The Titans struggled to keep the Rams off Locker in the first half. But against a 4-3 front they did far better run blocking than they’ve done against a lot of 3-4s. Johnson topped 100 yards and got his first two rushing TDs of the year and Shonn Greene found the end zone, too.

What’s next: The Titans host the winless Jacksonville Jaguars at LP Field. The Jaguars had a bye this week and just lost receiver Justin Blackmon to a suspension.