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Pro Football Focus -- Three to Focus On, Jaguars@Texans
Re-Focused – Jaguars @ Texans, Week 8
November 1st, 2011 | Author: B.H. Lucas
This was one of those games that was closer than the final score would tell you. It was also closer than it should have been. Even though they ended up with fewer than half as many total yards as the Houston Texans, the Jacksonville Jaguars somehow found themselves within a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, although Houston was able to ice the game with a late field goal drive.
With the win, Houston remains in first place in the AFC South, and they have a favourable schedule going forward. Other than the 5-2 Cincinnati Bengals, nobody has a record better than 4-3. As if things weren’t looking bright enough, they also have Andre Johnson’s return to look forward to.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars fell to 0-4 on the road, but considering the fact that they are relying on some young players, who would probably be warming the bench for most teams, they’ve done well to stay in games. However, there are plenty of young teams out there that could say the same thing.
Let’s look at some of Sunday’s most influential performances:
Houston – Three Performances of Note
Too Much Cushing
Brian Cushing (+4.6) put together a tremendous all-around performance to spearhead the Texans’ defensive effort. Cushing’s athleticism jumps out at you, whether he is closing down a ball carrier, rushing the passer or covering in space and he did all three well on Sunday. Against the run, he stuffed three plays close to or behind the line of scrimmage. In coverage, he was targeted four times, but three fell incomplete and he made an athletic interception on the other, adjusting superbly to the tipped ball in mid-air. Cushing seems to be getting better and better as he’s improved on the previous week’s rating for the fourth straight week and is currently rated second best in our inside linebacker rankings.
Smith Remains Consistently Inconsistent
Antonio Smith (-2.7) has been one of the more interesting players in the league this year, as he adjusts to life in the new-look Texans defense. In our rankings for 3-4 ends, Smith is the number one ranked pass rusher, but if it weren’t for Miami’s Kendall Langford, he’d be dead last against the run. This game followed that pattern as he recorded a hit and two pressures in the pass rush, but was overmatched in the running game. He was also flagged for two penalties and now has five in the last three weeks. Smith has been a better pass rusher than run defender since joining the Texans in 2009, but the discrepancy between the two is as big as it’s ever been.
Backup tight end Joel Dreessen (+3.5) put together his second straight solid game to help lead the Texans to victory. Dreessen only caught two passes, but one was a crucial touchdown as he jumped to make the catch over Dwight Lowery in the end zone. However, it was in the running game where Dreessen bolstered his grade with four positively-graded blocks and no negatives. This is the kind of consistency they need from him so that Owen Daniels can concentrate on what he does best – catching passes.
- Both teams missed just two tackles, with one of Jacksonville’s two coming on special teams.
- Schaub was 0 for 5 on deep passes, but had a 133.1 QB rating when blitzed.
- Paul Posluszny and Rashean Mathis were the only two Jaguars to play every snap on defense. Five Texans did the same.
PFF Game Ball
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
Foster’s yards were a key factor, but it was the playmaking of Brian Cushing that had the biggest impact on this game. After his suspension and inconsistent 2010 season provided a momentary bump in the road, he now seems firmly back on the path to superstardom.
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