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10-25-2011, 11:01 AM
Re-Focused: Texans @ Titans, Week 7
October 24th, 2011 | Author: Khaled Elsayed

In a game that was to decide first place in the AFC South, the Tennessee Titans picked the wrong time to have a bad day.

At times, it seemed like the Texans hardly had to try as their offense, rejuvenated by the return of Arian Foster, marched up and down the field at will. Not prepared to let the offense have all the fun, the Texans’ defence came to play too, leaving us with the kind of lopsided game that makes you question how anyone could doubt the Texans as a legitimate playoff team this year.

This game also marked a return to reality for Matt Hasselbeck, as he couldn’t carry the team on his shoulders. With that being said, the Titans will be looking to get back to winning ways with home games against the Indianapolis Colts and the Cleveland Browns in the coming weeks. Let’s break down the performances that made a difference.

Houston – Three Performances of Note
Running to Daylight has never been so Easy
Houston’s offensive line is a joy to watch. We’ve been singing the praises of this unit for a few years now and Sunday in Nashville was another display of their brilliance. The five men up front combined for a +6.2 run block rating with only Duane Brown (-0.2) grading negatively. It’s hard to single out one player, but center Chris Myers (+2.7) was strong once again, getting the better of Shaun Smith, and punishing Barrett Ruud at the second level. It wasn’t a perfect display, as he allowed a couple of tackles short of the marker on third downs, but with eight of 12 run blocks grading positively, he continues his season that sees him sit atop our center rankings. On the outside, right tackle Eric Winston (+1.8) helped Houston’s running backs average 7.2 yards a carry through the right B gap, with his consistency really standing out (just one play graded negatively).
With AJ out, the Tight Ends stepped up
The Texans needed someone to step up with Andre Johnson out, with Owen Daniels (+3.5) being the man to pick up the slack. The pro bowl tight-end played the second most snaps of the Houston skill position players (59/71), finishing with four catches on five targets for 71 yards. Daniels is still tied atop our drop rate rankings with a perfect zero, showing everyone just how dependable a target he is. However, it’s not just his dependability that sets him apart as he also ranks ninth in yards per pass route run at an impressive 1.73. To complete his excellent day, he chipped in with some good work in run defence (a +1.6 grade), not something you can always say about him. Indeed the ‘blocking tight end’ is meant to be Joel Dreessen (+2.8), who clearly wasn’t settling for life in the shadows with this one. His run blocking was just as good as Daniels (+1.6) and he managed to pick up a touchdown on Cortland Finnegan. This is a well balanced duo if ever I saw one.
Rookie contribution
A lot of the optimism surrounding Houston to start the season centred around their re-tooled defence. A process that started in the draft was completed in free agency with the addition of crucial pieces like Jonathan Joseph and Daniel Manning. However, Manning is injured and his rookie replacement, safety Shiloh Keo (-1.8), has a tough task ahead. It should be noted Keo only plays in the nickel, with veteran Troy Nolan the starter replacing him, but 22 snaps in about a half of action is not insignificant. The rookie’s only contribution was a touchdown he allowed on a corner route to Jared Cook, a play where he looked less than ready for the NFL. Another player struggling to fill an injured veteran’s shoes is Brooks Reed (-1.7). Mario Williams’ replacement may have registered his first NFL sack, but he has struggled significantly more than he did in his first two games. Speaking of the sack, it came on a busted play and was more down to the coverage on the back end. Aside from that, he failed to generate any pressure on his 27 other rushes.

The shining light in the rookie roulette was JJ Watt (+1.4). His up and down rookie campaign is on the upswing with a good performance against Tennessee where he managed a sack and two pressures on his 22 rushes, beating right guard Jake Scott to the outside for his quarterback takedown. It was a mixed bag for Watt in the run game (-0.1) where he made one tackle for short gain but missed another. The Texans find themselves rather more reliant on rookies than they would have hoped at this stage of the season, so let’s monitor this to see how it plays out.
Tennessee – Three Performances of Note
Ruud’s Health
To say it was a tough day for Titan linebackers is putting it mildly. The three starters combined for a -10.2 grade with each player struggling in his own right. It all starts with the man in the middle where Barrett Ruud (-4.2) is doing anything but dispel the suggestion that the Titans were unwise in letting Stephen Tulloch go. While the former Titan is now ranked joint first amongst inside linebackers, the former Buccaneer stands second last with a pitiful -12.5 grade. Ruud’s run defending was alarmingly poor against the Texans where he graded negatively on 12 separate occasions, making positive plays only when left unblocked or facing wide receivers like Jacoby Jones.
Chris Johnson (-2.1) is proving he wasn’t worth the big contract he signed in the offseason with Johnson, who played 33 of 71 snaps, playing at a noticeably slower pace in 2011. He couldn’t find any room against the Texans, rushing for just 18 yards on ten carries while only picking up 1.5 yards per average after contact. It wasn’t until six minutes to go in the third quarter that Johnson was able to force his first missed tackle, leaving him with 11 on the year and in a disappointing 12th in our elusive rankings. There was some positive news in the passing game where he was able to break a tackle of Daryl Sharpton and pick up a first down but perhaps that was negated by an attempt to reverse a busted screen play all the way across the field resulting in a significant loss of yardage. Blame it on him holding out or whatever you want, but the fact is that he’s not producing right now.
Nothing without Britt
You have to have some sympathy for the Titans, because the loss Kenny Britt has really stymied their offense. Still, you’re left with a sense that they’ve been here before (what with his legal troubles) and should have been better prepared. Not one of their wideouts had what could even be called a decent game against the Texans, with Damian Williams (-2.0) struggling in particular. He caught just one of five balls thrown his way for five yards, dropping another two. The game may have been completely different had he hauled in a deep bomb on third down with six minutes to go in the second quarter (a play he was also concussed on). His first drop was more excusable as Jonathan Joseph timed a hit perfect to jar the ball loose.

The player the Titans signed to replace Britt, former Ram Donnie Avery (-1.2, 29 snaps), couldn’t step up in his place. Avery didn’t catch any of his three targets and had one of them intercepted. Nate Wahington, who played 49 of the Titans 53 offensive snaps, didn’t have a single target, a statistic that sums up the state of Tennessee’s receiving corps.
Game Notes
- Duane Brown gave up three pressures, the only Texan to give up any
- Ben Tate (58) had almost as many yards after contact as Arian Foster (59) and on ten fewer carries
- Matt Hasselbeck had a better quarterback rating under pressure (66) than with a clean pocket (5.8)
Game ball
Brian Cushing, Linebacker, Houston Texans
had six tackles with four stops, allowed an average of just 6.2 yards per completion and added a couple of pressure. Complete game.


10-25-2011, 12:12 PM
A good day at the office for the Texans. Congrats to all the coaches and players. ALL of them by the way.

Now let's see them stick it to the Kittens.

10-25-2011, 12:45 PM
Good stuff, I always enjoy reading their stuff.

10-25-2011, 12:47 PM
Brooks Reed just isn't a pass rusher....I thought he played well in run support. But no pressure from his side in any of the games he's played in since Mario went out.

10-25-2011, 01:40 PM
Brooks Reed just isn't a pass rusher....I thought he played well in run support. But no pressure from his side in any of the games he's played in since Mario went out.Yeah, he played the run really well in this game.

He also dropped back a few times, including on the play where McCain made the pick.

I haven't really concentrated on Reed's pass rush, but I don't think he's too shabby. Surely, he can't replace Mario; especially right off the bat.

In his limited time he had 5 QB Hits (the same as Cushing and 1 more than Watt).
He also batted down a pass.

The sack shows that he is relentless worker.
It was a team effort, but if Reed didn't have the smart and the quickness to bounce off his gap, he wouldn't have gotten there and Locker would have run free.

10-26-2011, 08:25 AM
Reed will be an effort sack type of player. He will not be the kind of guy that can physically manhandle a player. He is an atrition type guy. I had a 3rd rd grade on him with justin houston grading out much higher.

10-26-2011, 08:30 AM
Good stuff, I always enjoy reading their stuff.

Here is their Recap of the Jags (https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/10/25/re-focused-ravens-jaguars-week-7/) from Monday night... it's what we've got to look forward to
Jacksonville– Three Performances of Note

Jeremy Mincey

If you suffered through all four quarters of this game, odds are you heard Jeremy Mincey (+3.4) get his name called out a lot. Described by the commentators as someone who “just shows up on film”, Mincey did just that here. Strong against the run, and an absolute menace when Flacco tried to throw the ball, he picked up a sack, two pressures and a batted pass. His sack was, for me, the play of the game. As the Ravens began another drive just 57 seconds into the 2nd quarter, Mincey was somehow left with just Ray Rice between he and Flacco. He shoved Rice to the ground with his right hand before, in almost one movement, swatting the ball from Joe Flacco’s hands. Flacco managed to recover the fumble but the plays still resulted in a seven yard loss.

Daryl Smith

During the game, Jon Gruden remarked that Daryl Smith (+3.4) would not let the Jaguars lose a sixth straight game. His performance certainly backed that up on Monday night. Four of Smith’s five tackles resulted in a stop, on his way to a +1.3 grade against the run. Then he made the most of his three pass rushes, recording a sack and a hit. He did allow a completion on all five passes thrown his way, but managed to limit them to a 6.4 yards per reception. Being the best LB in a game where the man many believe to be the best LB to ever play is also playing is definitely worth noting. Nothing new for the supremely underrated Smith.

Cornerbacks Bounce Back

One week after surrendering big play after big play to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ passing attack the Jaguars only allowed one play of 20 yards or more through the air, that coming on a 20 yard pass from Flacco to Torrey Smith late in the game. Jacksonville’s top three cornerbacks: Rashean Mathis (+2.0), Derek Cox (+2.0) and Drew Coleman (+2.2) all had solid games, each grading out positively as they allowed six completions on 17 targets for 40 yards combined. Their superb coverage downfield frustrated and limited the Ravens offense all game. And fittingly based on the play of the cornerbacks throughout, it was Drew Coleman who stepped in front of a poor Joe Flacco pass late in the 4th quarter to seal the game.