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Monday, September 16, 2013
Upon Further Review: Texans Week 2

By Tania Ganguli

A review of four hot issues from the Houston Texans' 30-24 overtime win over the Tennessee Titans:

Offensive inconsistency: Texans quarterback Matt Schaub started well this week, but threw two interceptions that directly or indirectly contributed to 10 Titans points. One was a pick-six by cornerback Alterraun Verner late in the fourth quarter that gave the Titans an eight-point lead, and the other interception led to a Tennessee field goal drive. The Titans can cover -- Verner is Pro Football Focus' top-rated cornerback. Schaub took blame for the pick-six and rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins called it a miscommunication. The quarterback made some impressive throws; his 12-yard touchdown pass to Owen Daniels was perfectly placed. But offensive consistency will help the Texans avoid having to dig themselves out of significant deficits.

Kareem Jackson
Kareem Jackson's hit on Kendall Wright drew a flag and put the Titans in position to score.
Punting pretty: Shane Lechler's new teammates spend a lot of time marveling at his precision. Lechler punted seven times, and five of them were downed inside the 20 -- three inside the 10. "I’ve never gotten excited, gotten up off the bench to watch a punter before, but I love watching him punt," J.J. Watt said. "There’s a reason the guy’s the best in the game. It’s so precise and he knows what he’s doing. It’s like poetry. It’s beautiful. He’s pinning it down there and we don’t even have to have people touch it. It just stops at the 1-yard line. That’s insane."

Head shots: One shot that got talked about in the Texans' locker room was Titans safety Bernard Pollard's hit on Andre Johnson that knocked Johnson out of the game. Pollard was not flagged for it, but at least one Texans player said he thought there should have been a flag on the play. Another was Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson's hit on Titans receiver Kendall Wright. Wright didn't publicly object to Jackson's hit, which drew an unnecessary roughness penalty. "I play receiver, I'm supposed to take those hits," Wright said. Jackson had this to say: "It was a bang-bang play. Who knows: They may not throw the flag, he may fumble. I gotta just keep playing as a defensive player. Some of the rules are against us but I've got to keep playing. ... He's on offense. We're supposed to target him somewhere, aren't we? It's football. I don't know what they want me to do." Jackson's penalty took the Titans down to the Texans' 10-yard line and immediately preceded a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jake Locker to Delanie Walker.

Backfield remains competitive: The distribution among the Texans' running backs in this game was similar to Week 1. Arian Foster rushed 19 times and Ben Tate had nine carries. One of Tate's nine carries was a 60-yarder on his first attempt of the game. Tate had 33 yards on the rest of his eight carries for 93 total yards. "You all want me to tell you how I wanted it to be more even?" Kubiak said, unprompted, during his news conference. Foster's biggest single play was for 16 yards, but his most important contribution to the game was crucial for the Texans. After scoring on a 1-yard run with 1:53 left in regulation, Foster converted the two-point conversion that tied the game on a play that Kubiak called "all man."