That was a really fun game. The transformation this team has made since the Boston Massacre is really astounding. They are playing with a fire that they really didn't in weeks 4-6. I am not sure how much of that can be attributed to Vince Young, but it is safe to say that his enthusiastic style of play is rubbing off on the guys around him. It is fun to watch.
The Titans came out of the gate hot last night forcing Houston to go three and out on the first series. The third down play was especially sweet as the front four collapsed the pocket around Matt Schaub before Tony Brown brought him down for a sack. Chatt Town Tony Brown has made himself a lot of money this year playing so well outside the shadow of #92. It is amazing that the Titans brought him in basically off the street- another in a long line of success stories under Jim Washburn.
The Titans went three and out as well on their first possession after a Lavelle Hawkins! sighting would have given them a first down but was negated because of an illegal shift. Anyone else curious why we never see Hawk returning anything. I am pretty sure he returned at least kicks in college, and if he is going to be active the might as well find a way to use him. The third down call- screen to Bo Scaife- was horrendous.
The Texans would get the first score of the game after a terrible 34 yard punt from Brett Kern gave them great field position. The play that set up the score was a Schaub 15 yard completion to Andre Johnson with our secondary chasing him Reynaldo Hill style. The touchdown came on a little underhanded toss to Slaton.
After both teams traded punts the Titans would put together a 9 play 80 yard drive that was capped off by a 13 yard pass from VY to Kenny Britt. The play was a really good read by Vince because he had Chris Johnson short but waited for Britt to come open in the end zone. Britt also had a 16 yard catch on that drive. Britt is easily the best rookie receiver the Titans have ever had, and should stay on the field even when Justin Gage comes back from his injury, but of course we know that it is impossible for a player to lose their starting job to injury, unless they are named Vince Young.The next score came from the Texans when AJ ran right past Nick Harper (SHOCKING!) for a 12-yard TD catch. That prompted a whole host of jokes involving Harper, a vacuum, and Andre's last name in the game thread. Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone that participated in the open game thread. I don't get to be in those nearly as much as I would like, and I had an absolute blast being there last night.
The Titans would answer once again with another long drive- 75 yards this time. That drive included another catch by Britt, a 36 yard run from CJ and the first of two plays on the night that made me run around my living room in celebration when VY faked the pitched to CJ and took the ball to the one. He had been setting that up for a couple of week now and executed it to perfection. The nearly forgotten LenDale White punched it in on the next play to tie the game.
The Titans had a nice drive going coming out of the half that was halted when, in the words of gramsey, Vince went Kerry Collins and fumbled running by himself. The Texans made a couple of big plays off the fumble but were unable to capitalize when Kris Brown missed a 49 yard field goal wide right. That was a huge play in the game because the Texans get a lot of momentum if he is able to hit that kick.
The Titans came back and got a field from Rob Bironas that was set up by a 12 yard run by Vince Young. I can't remember if that was the option read or not, but the option read they ran was a thing of beauty. The Texans defensive end crashed on the fake to CJ, Vince kept the ball and got a big gain. Again, it is amazing how well he is running this offense. He is obviously putting in the time to really understand what Dinger is wanting to do, and it is paying off.
The Texans got a field goal of their own after both safeties decided to watch Johnson run by himself. Maybe Johnson has really good running form and the guys in our secondary are just trying to learn from it. That play went for 49 yards to the Titans' 8 yard line, and to the defenses credit, they were able to hold forcing the field goal.
Bironas missed a 49 yard field goal on the Titans ensuing drive, and things didn't look good for the Titans. The Texans had been hitting big plays and had good field position, but the defense stepped up. Tony Brown got another sack that forced a third and long and AJ dropped a pass going across the middle. He was being defended by Keith Bulluck on that play, and as much as we all love Bulluck, that is a HUGE mismatch. That prompted Hal to ask me why we kept having linebackers covering Johnson. Excellent question.
After trading punts again the Titans had the ball at the Texans 6 with 2:52 to play. The first play was CJ for 3 yards, but the Titans got the phantom horse collar call. Yes, it was a bad call, but they owed us one from the non-call when Vince was tripped. We all know how it played out. My only problem with the last drive was we had 1st and 10 at the Texans 40 with 1:09 left- I understand they wanted to get closer, but they should have run the ball at least once. Best case scenario CJ breaks another one to get us even closer, and worst case scenario it gets stuffed and they are forced to use one of their timeouts. I love that there was never any doubt about the Bironas field goal from the moment it left his foot.
The same cannot be said for Kris Brown's field goal that never had a shot. I was scared when we gave the ball back to the Texans after the horrible pooch kick. They had good field position, :44 seconds and two timeouts. The announcers were quick to tell us that K. Brown had been hitting them from 80 in warm-ups. I have never understood how that is relevant. The Texans hit plays of 16 and 11 before attempting the kick. I probably would have taken one more shot had I been them to try and get it closer. They didn't, K. Brown kicked it a mile to the left and I once again ran around my living room.
Winning is so much more fun. That one was especially fun with all of the crap leading up to the game. Now on to Arizona.