Here stood the Houston Texans on a late fall, brisk blue-sky, Thanksgiving Holiday-weekend Football Sunday beneath an open roof at Reliant Stadium.
Despite how nicely things had been shaping up earlier in the season for Houston to perhaps compete for the AFC-South, the Texans were now sitting at 4 - 6 as division cellar dwellers with the notoriety of a team on pace to have the worst defense in the history of the NFL. Their losing record of 2 - 3 at home did not exactly engender confidence in the fan base as they prepared to host the 5 - 5, third place in the division, Tennessee Titans. The "ex-Oilers" had their own issues what with the most recently written chapter in the soap opera that is the continuing Vince Young-Jeff Fisher-Bud Adams saga.
Houston, however, could not afford to concern themselves with that. They had their own problems, not the least of which was flirting with once again failing to make the playoffs. While not yet mathematically eliminated from post-season contention, the home town team was probably playing for pride; trying desperately to salvage for themselves and their fans something-anything-with some semlance of value from an otherwise disappointing season. And with six weeks remaining in the campaign, conceivably, there was still time to recover to achieve at least yet another .500 mark with an 8 - 8 record...what would be their third in the last four years.
The Houston Texans responded. Quarterback Matt Schaub played well with 71% efficiency on 25 of 35 attempts for 178 yards, yielding two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 101.8. Arian Foster racked up 143 yards rushing on 30 attempts, with another 75 yards receiving. Joel Dreessen caught three passes including a Red Zone score off of a play-action fake to Foster, and Andre Johnson caught nine of eleven targeted throws for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Tennessee's rookie quarterback Rusty Smith was sacked, rattled, and ineffective as he threw for only 138 yards and three interceptions. Titans running back Chris Johnson, coming into the game just 32 yards shy of 1,000 on the season, was held to only five yards, and Randy Moss could not have been more of a non-factor.
Punctuating a feisty "We've had enough of this" attitude was Andre Johnson receiving a 4th-quarter ejection for fighting when he took into his own hands the issue of Tennessee's cornerback and league-renowned dirty player Cortland Finnegan.
True Texans wear spurs. Today we found out that Houston still had a little "jingle" left in theirs as they shut out the Titans 20 - 0.