Join Date: Apr 2008
ProFootballFocus, ReFocused -- Houston@Chicago
ReFo: Texans @ Bears, Week 10
Ben Stockwell | 2012/11/12
read more: https://www.profootballfocus.com/blo...ars-week-10-2/
Sometimes, you have to win ugly. In a matchup of two of the top teams in the league this season it was the Houston Texans who came out on top in a game ugly enough to match the weather conditions.
With the rain falling and the long grass at Soldier Field slick, this was always likely to be a game filled with handling errors on both sides. The six first-half turnovers and seven drops between the two teams were proof positive that neither side escaped those errors. However, in games like this it is about managing the errors and ensuring that they do not cost you the big plays. The Texans had half of the turnovers and only two of the seven drops, while the Bears put potential touchdowns and crucial conversions on the ground to thwart their efforts.
This was one of our first tastes of autumn football this season, and it was the ground and pound of the Houston Texans that won out as they held their place atop the AFC. Here are some of the key performances that helped maintain that slender lead over the chasing pack.
Houston – Three Performances of Note
In spite of the conditions in Chicago, the Texans’ pass defense was far busier than their run defense, by a ratio of 2:1. This put pressure on the likes of Johnathan Joseph, Danieal Manning, and Kareem Jackson, and the Texans’ secondary responded with a strong game. Things may have been different had Brandon Marshall hauled in that pass in the end zone over Joseph, but the real story of the game on the back end was the performance of Manning and Jackson, who both recorded season-high coverage grades. Between the two players they allowed three completions on six targets for 15 yards, with the three incompletions all coming with Jackson or Manning getting hands to the ball. Jackson’s interception was his fourth of the season but his first since the Week 5 victory in New York. Easily in the finest vein of form in his career, Jackson has allowed fewer yards in the Texans’ past six games (117) than he allowed in their first three (167).
In such weather conditions, you look for your offensive line and ball carriers to carry you, and this week Arian Foster and Justin Forsett put in the hard graft for the Houston offense. Due to the nature of the conditions, the play calling and the opposing defense, Foster was kept largely bottled for much of the game but the rushes on which he broke free were crucial for the Texans’ offensive success. Forsett and Foster both came up with long carries to set up Foster’s excellent touchdown catch prior to halftime, and it was the Bears’ inability to completely bottle the running game that allowed the Texans to do just enough to win. Neither passing game was going to win the contest in the conditions, and it was the Texans’ discipline and commitment to their running game that proved to be the difference.
It says something of the season that J.J. Watt is having that a +1.9 game grade is his worst of the season. His ‘lull’ didn’t lead to a letdown from the rest of the Houston defense, however, with every front seven defender except Antonio Smith recording a positive run defense grade. Third-year nose tackle Earl Mitchell, making his first career start, led the way in terms of stops but this was a group effort, exemplified by Brooks Reed working at inside linebacker in a five-linebacker set to allow rookie Whitney Mercilus on the field at outside linebacker. While Reed didn’t record a single stop, he did get the better of the Chicago fullback on a series of plays at the start of the third quarter, persistently redirecting the back and preventing the rookie from clearing the point of attack. There is little doubt that Matt Forte is the engine of the Chicago offense, and the Houston front seven ensured that he could never get on track.
PFF Game Ball
On his return to Chicago, Danieal Manning was a difference maker for the Texans defense. Forcing two turnovers in the first quarter, Manning took away potential scoring opportunities with both plays to prevent a fast start by the Bears in a low-scoring game.