The Houston Texans’ win on Sunday against Jacksonville was both a defensive meltdown and an offensive masterpiece at the same time. The Texans entered the game at 8-1 with the best record in the NFL. The Jaguars were 1-8 with the worst record in the league. That alone changed the atmosphere at Reliant stadium, but that breath of fresh air was short lived.
The Texans scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game. The Jags answered. The Texans scored again. The Jags answered. At halftime, the teams were tied leaving every Texans fan in the stadium to ponder: how in the world are we tied with Jacksonville? One answer: the defense.
Jacksonville back-up quarterback Chad Henne came off the bench and tossed for 354 yards. Rookie WR Justin Blackmon had seven catches for 237 yards. Yes, you read it right. How does any of this happen? You guessed it: the inconsistent Texans defense once again failed to show up and played arguably the worst game of the season.
Ironically, on the other side of the ball, it was a game of bests. Matt Schaub tossed for 527 yards in the game, tying Warren Moon for the second best yardage in a game in NFL history. Andre Johnson also had a career best 14 catches for 273 yards. Despite the accolades, the offense also committed three turnovers. Couple that with a defense that allowed over 450 yards and you have a recipe for a sneak-by overtime victory.
In all, the Texans should never have been in that position. There is an expectation that when you are on top of the league, you have figured out the kinks. Somehow, the Texans have not quite figured out how to make the offense and the defense work on the same level at the same time all season. Either the defense wins the game, or the offense does. This week, it was the offense that had the advantage. But this strategy won’t work in Detroit tomorrow.
The Texans have proven two things this season: they can beat just about anyone and they can be vulnerable. With rumblings that CB Johnathan Joseph will be out of the game on Thanksgiving, that opens the door to Megatron, the Lions’ big receiver who trails only Andre Johnson in yards per game in the last 6 weeks. If the defense doesn’t show up, then there is a risk that Thanksgving Day will be a feast for Megatron downfield.
At the end of the day, a win in Detroit will all depend on which defense shows up. Yes the Lions are bad. So are the Jaguars and you see what they did. If Sunday’s defense shows up, there could be a problem. If the defense that was in Chicago shows up, the Texans are good. Even with all the questions surrounding the defense, one thing is notable here: even in the worst defensive game of the season, the Texans pulled from behind and got a win. That has to be worth something.