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There was a surprising amount of boring games Sunday and this game was boring for all the right reasons… at least for Texans fans as they soundly defeated their division foe Jacksonville Jaguars 27-7 to start the season 2-0.
This game was different (at least offensively) compared to their previous victory over the Miami Dolphins in that it was the running game that carried them as the passing game took a back seat. You would have been hard pressed to notice one particular stat from Matt Schaub because he played such an efficient game and threw so many passes. But after throwing 26-35, he only finished with 195 yards passing. None of his completions went for more than 20 yards.
If you weren’t following the stats closely while watching the game, you would never have guessed that he threw for less than 200 yards. Houston was so in control of the offense and Schaub passed so well you would have assumed his numbers looked more similar to what he did at home last week to Miami (20-31, 266 yards, 1 TD).
Instead this win was thanks to the running game and the defense. Houston had the ball for more than 43 minutes in this game and Jacksonville totaled just 117 yards of offense. So you can see why this game was boring. It was basically Houston running the ball effectively, draining the clock, and the Jaguars could get nothing going. It’s a wonder that they scored a touchdown. But one solid punt return and one big play from Blaine Gabbert to Laurent Robinson set the Jaguars up near the goal line, where Gabbert hooked up with Maurice Jones-Drew for a score.
But again, that one drive represented nearly a third of all the offense they gained. JJ Watt (or should I say JJ Swat) had another amazing game, leading the team in every major defensive category: tackles (5), sacks (1.5), tackles for loss (4), and passes defended (with two more deflected passes at the line). Watt also had the best line in postgame. When Danieal Manning said that JJ Watt was playing like a Pro Bowler, Watt responded that he plans to be busy during Pro Bowl week.
Finally, any worries about the Texans running game after last week, which Gary Kubiak hammered the team on after the game, can be put to rest. Arian Foster and Ben Tate combined for 40 carries and 184 yards (that’s 4.6 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. Justin Forsett even came in for mop up duty and ran for 35 yards on six carries.
Schaub was never sacked in this game and was barely hit, so it was another great performance by the offensive line. But dominating the Dolphins and Jaguars is hardly a reason to celebrate. Houston has done what’s expected by going 2-0. Next week they’ll be at a Denver Broncos team with Peyton Manning showing that he’s back on track with a strong defense supporting him. We’ll have plenty more on that matchup coming this week, as we’ll have an eye on tonight’s game between the Broncos and Atlanta Falcons.