- Texans Talk
||10-09-2012 11:19 AM
ProFootballFocus, ReFocused -- Houston@New York Jets
ReFo: Texans @ Jets, Week 5
Ben Stockwell | 2012/10/09
read more: https://www.profootballfocus.com/blo...s-jets-week-5/
To give the game a sense of plausibility the Texans were still however the controlling force in the game and the running of Arian Foster ensured that Houston were never in any real danger of being upset as they sent their record to 5-0. Even the loss of Brian Cushing couldn’t derail a defensive performance that was once again led by the impressive J.J. Watt who added another three batted passes to his season total.
Houston – Three Performances of Note
Watt was that about a sophomore slump?
Conventional wisdom is that second year players tend to suffer some struggles in their second season. Their opponents have “pro” tape on them and their divisional opponents have some experience of how to “deal” with them and their strongest plays. Well this week J.J. Watt (+6.7) again put in a performance to say that he doesn’t buy into that theory. After only five games this season Watt has already surpassed his rookie season grade (+32.3, including two playoff games) and is on course to record in excess of 25 sacks. Now we’re not saying that he’s going to maintain this pace, that would seem entirely unlikely, but his level of play to start the season is little short of astonishing. He is recording a stop on nearly one in five of the run plays that he is on the field for and he is recording pressure on one in seven pass rush snaps. Combine that with his freakish streak of pass disruptions (more on that later) and you have the most complete defensive player in the league at present. No surprise at all that Sam Monson declared him his AFC Defensive Player of the Month for September.
Strength to the left
The Texans got quality gains all across their offensive line thanks to their excellent use of double teams to control Jets’ defensive line and get Arian Foster (+0.8 running) into space against their subpar linebackers. However it was running to the left where the Texans got their biggest gain, springing a 46 yard rush off left guard late in the first quarter to immediately wrench momentum back after the Jets tied the game on a 27 yard score by Jeff Cumberland. The Texans went to the left on 21 of their 33 backfield carries and collected 5.3 yards per carry when running behind Chris Myers (+4.1 run block), Wade Smith and Duane Brown. Whilst the right side of the offensive line settles (Houston again rotated their starters) the left side of the line is carrying the weight of the expectation. For the season the Texans are gaining a full yard per carry more going to their left (4.6) as opposed to their right (3.6). When and if the right side of the offensive line starts to settle the Texans’ running game should really start to take off, and that is a scary prospect for the AFC’s other Super Bowl hopefuls if that does happen.
Who’s going to Cushing the blow?
Probably the most feared two word phrase amongst NFL players, fans and teams. It is almost always season ending and in spite of the ever increasing success rate of reconstructive surgeries it has the potential to derail careers. That is the fate that is feared to have befallen Brian Cushing last night at MetLife Stadium. Already putting together a spectacular game (+3.4 on his 19 snaps) Cushing has had his season potentially cut short and his loss would put massive pressure on the Texans’ linebacker corps. Already without DeMeco Ryans, traded before the start of the season, the Texans now have a group of journeymen to fill the void at inside linebacker. The two players likely to start in his absence, Bradie James and Tim Dobbins, are both traditionally run first players and will find it extremely difficult to replace Cushing in a defense that likes to go quickly to its dime defense. The Texans cannot hope to replace Cushing’s playmaking ability with either player but one of the two must improve their coverage to ensure that the middle of the Texans’ dime defense doesn’t become an easy area for teams to target moving forwards.
- After only five games Watt has already doubled his season total for batted pass from last season, his three this week gives him eight so far this season. This also marks the third time in Watt’s last nine games that he has batted three passes in a single game. Is this a new trend or just a purple patch? Watt didn’t get the first of his career until Week 12 last season.
PFF Game Ball
At his current pace J.J. Watt is headed for a simply obscene regular season grade in excess of the 100 mark. The level of play from Justin Smith was a sight to see in recent seasons but Watt is even putting some of those displays in the shade. How much longer can he keep up this astounding level of play?
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