Back to the blitz
Congratulations to the Houston Texans organization, and in particular to general manager Charley Casserly and head coach Dom Capers, for finally cobbling together the franchise's first two-game winning streak. It took 36 games, the longest ever for a modern era expansion franchise to achieve back-to-back wins, but they've got to be feeling a tad better about themselves in Houston right about now.
Uh, yes, we know that this means quarterback David Carr can now get a haircut after about 12 months of letting his onetime buzzed 'do grow out like a rat's nest. That angle has been overplayed so, with that scant mention of things coiffure-related, let's bury it.
More interesting to us than what figures to be the most scrutinized shearing since Delilah took the scissors to Samson's potent locks was the manner in which Capers and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio got back to their blitzing roots. We have been a bit critical in this space over the lack of a Texans pass rush, particularly considering that the Capers 3-4 blueprint had historically been one that "schemed up" sack opportunities. Well, from the get-go on Sunday, the Texans were out to get Oakland quarterback Kerry Collins by going after him more aggressively.
The upshot: Collins, taking over for the injured Rich Gannon, tossed up three interceptions (including a pair to Houston first-round cornerback Dunta Robinson) and also lost a pair of fumbles. The last four Oakland offensive series of the game, in fact, concluded in turnovers.
So while they are celebrating the modest two-game winning streak down in Houston, we're celebrating the return of the blitz to the Texans' defense. And, maybe, the return of Jonathan Wells to the starting lineup on a regular basis. The team's starter in his rookie year, and Houston's inaugural season, Wells lost his job to Domanick Davis in '03. But with Davis nursing a sprained ankle, and having fumbled four times in the first three games, Wells got a start Sunday and powered his way for 105 yards. Wells isn't as physically gifted a back as Davis, but he dusted off the cobwebs some last week when the Houston starter was injured, then dusted the Oakland defense Sunday afternoon.