Houston Texans clinch playoffs with 24-10 win over Titans

For the second time in the history of the franchise the Houston Texans can say they’re heading to the playoffs this season after a 24-10 win over the Tennessee Titans this week. The Texans are  a well rounded team but are mostly known for running the ball and making everything else work off ot the play action once the opponent has committed to stopping the run. the story was very different this week as they offense went as QB Matt Schaub went all day, and the defense caused turnover after turnover to forcing the Titans to make a lot of mistakes during this one.

Houston Texans FB James Casey walking in on a 5 yard TD pass from Matt Schaub.

Texans QB Matt Schaub finished the game with only 207 yards but he made the most of the time he was on the field throwing 2 TD’s and not having a single turnover in this game. After throwing the ball a total of 103 times in just 5 days during the 2 games between the Jags and Lions that went into overtime Schaub was probably relieved to only have 35 times this week. Before the half he had already thrown the ball to 6 different WR’s and through out the game continued to move the ball down the field when it was needed for the Texans. Schaub who wasn’t healthy for the franchises 1st playoff run knows clinching the playoff spot is big, but also knows their job isn’t done yet as a team. Schaub had this to say about clinching the playoff berth: “It’s a great feeling, but we have a lot more to accomplish.”

Along with Schaub RB Justin Forsett was once again quite effective as a change of pace back for Arian Foster against the Titans. Forsett has had 14 carries for 64 yards with an average of 4.6 yards per carry. Forsett who came to the Houston Texans as a free agent to fill the void left by veteran RB Derrick Ward, has come in a shown if given the chance he can be a productive back in this league still. Since Ben Tate’s been out Forsett has been quite dependable for the Texans. Since week 10 Forsett has averaged 7.9 yards per carry as the back up to Foster making it hard for defenses to not stack the box in an attempt to stop the run.

Houston Texans RB Justin Forsett on a run against the Titans on Sunday.

Defensively the Texans were beat up coming into this game and were without CB Jonathan Joseph, LB’s Bradie James, and Brooks Reed but they didn’t use that as an excuse to let their level of play fall out on the field. They caused 6 turnovers and were able to hold the Titans to only 1 TD. DE JJ Watt continued to monster season recording a sack, forced fumble, and another deflected pass from the line of scrimmage. The Texans have been waiting for the defense to start playing to this level for the last couple of weeks after allowing both the Jags and Lions to put a lot of points on the board against them. The whole defense was flying all over the field, on just about every play the Texans defense seemed to be exactly where it needed to be. ILB Darryl Sharpton who was injured most of the season and has now been playing for 3 weeks made a huge contribution against a Titans team that had a plan to run the ball and control the clock against the Texans. Sharpton had a huge INT that basically closed any chance of the Titans making any comeback. Along with Sharpton veteran LB’s Tim Dobbins and Barrett Rudd also played well and helped hold the always crafty Chris Johnson to 13 carries for 51 yards. With Joseph and Ball both out it came as an opportunity for CB’s Brandon Harris and Brice McCain who played very well in the first real extended action of the season. Harris will continue to see time now with a injury to McCain during the game. Rookie OLB Whitney Mercilus had another sack giving him 4 on the season. Mercilus is getting an opportunity of extended action as well with the injury to Brooks Reed much like Reed did last season after former Texan Mario Williams went down. Reed finished the season with 6 sacks last year starting in 10 games. Mercilus is  looking to make a similar impact this season.

Texans Rookie OLB Whitney Mercilus getting his 4th sack of the year against the Titans and QB Jake Locker.