After winning their 1st game of the preseason by the tune of 26-13 over the Carolina Panthers the Houston Texans looked for yet another win against a far more formidable opponent in the San Fransisco 49ers. Both teams have premiere defenses and yet that’s not where the game was won. A week after the 1st unit couldn’t get it done on offense in the red zone, the Texans road the arm of Matt Schaub and once again the legs of new found return man Trindon Holliday Saturday night against the 49ers.
Matt Schaub who played until late in the 2nd quarter went 11-14 with 128 yards and a TD on Saturday night. A different story from week 1 of the preseason when the Texans limited his snaps much more in a game in which it seemed Schaub just couldn’t get in a groove. Schaub, the Texans starting QB missed the end of last year with a broken lisfranc in his foot, but did finish with efficient stats for the time he played with 2,479 yards 15 TD’s and only 6 INT’s. Schaub looks to silence the critics that call him injury prone and many that don’t include him in the conversation with some of the league’s best. Just 3 seasons ago Schub led the league in passing yards, and he looks to return to that form this year. Toward the end of the 2nd quarter, Schaub connected with WR Lestar Jean for a TD to cap a drive in which he was 4-5 for 42 yards moving the Texans down field for their first TD of the night. Coach Gary Kubiak had this to say about Schaub’s performance after the game “It’s a process, and he’s been playing well. After missing so much time, I see him getting better every day. I thought he was very comfortable. He got rid of the football and got hit a couple times. He took his team right down the field and made a great play right before the half to get us in the end zone. I think his progression is heading in the right way.”
Pro Bowl RB Arian Foster also got more time on the field this week against the 49ers. He rushed the ball 10 times for 46 yards in the game. Much more than he got the ball during the previous week against the Panthers when he only carried it once for an 11 yard gain and a fumble on the same play. Kubiak said he wanted to get Foster more touches to get him ready for the season after the game against Carolina last week. Foster never really broke one loose until the 2nd quarter when he hit a hole and picked up 24 yards on a run.
The defense looked just as good as it did the first week of the preseason against Carolina. They held the 49ers to just 267 total yards and only 9 points. We got to see al little more of the Texans defense that finished 2nd in yards allowed in the league last year. Unlike week 1 they didn’t get 8 sacks in this game, but they played the 49ers 1st unit most of the first half. Again they were without some key players with JJ Watt and Shaun Cody both out with injury issues. Yet the defense still held up to keep the 49ers out of the end zone for the whole game. 2nd year starter and Pro Bowl CB Johnathan Joseph had this to say about the progression of the defense so far, “Our confidence is at an all-time high, but we’re conscious about getting better at different little things. What it takes to be a great defense is coming to work every day and working hard and doing the little things and then executing in games.”
After torching the Panthers for a TD on a kickoff returner Trindon Holliday struck again this week against the 49ers. On a punt in the 4th quarter he ran one back 87 yards to get his 2nd return TD in as many weeks. Holliday who was a long shot to make the team to begin camp because of the job S Daniel Manning last season. But Holliday is definitely making a run for the job. All I hear about him is “world class speed” when analysts and announcers talk about this guy. He was the anchor on the 2008 LSU 4×100 relay and he continues to show us why whenever he gets into the open field on returns. During the 2010 NFL Combine Holliday ran a 4.34 40 yard dash, in comparison Chris Johnson ran only a tenth of a second faster with a 4.24 during his combine workout. For what it’s worth to Texans fans, Holliday is looking to replace released WR Jacoby Jones in the punt return game. Already looking more productive, for a long time Jones’ only job was just catching the punt and not in bad field position. Holliday looks like he can do that and some in the return game.