The past few years, fans haven’t been able to help feeling like their years of patience was about to pay off. Last year, this team started off the season with a win over their division rival Indianapolis Colts and fans immediately began to wonder if 2010 would be the year they finally made it to the postseason. But a quick start slowed down drastically and the team finished a disappointing 6-10.
Once again, 2011 holds promise, and there’s reason to believe this year the Texans will finally follow through on that promise. They started off the year without last year’s league-leading rusher and primary running back Arian Foster, who is nursing a leg injury. Regardless, they started off with a 34-7 drubbing of the Colts, albeit a Colts team playing without star quarterback Peyton Manning for the season. In that game, however, they looked impressive as quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 220 yards and a touchdown and Foster’s backup, Ben Tate, rushed for 116 yards and two scores. Houston led 34-0 at halftime.
In week two, they traveled to Miami and soundly beat the Dolphins for their second win of the season. Matt Schaub had another sound game, finishing with a quarterback rating of 118.5. Superstar receiver Andre Johnson accounted for one of their touchdowns, along with 93 receiving yards, and their offense again looked potent and balanced. Their defense, led by Mario Williams, forced turnovers and terrorized the Miami offense throughout the afternoon.
In week three, they faced their biggest test of the season thus far. After starting last year 2-0, they knew not to be overconfident heading into their week three showdown with the Saints. Trailing 16-10 at the half, but receiver Andre Johnson was having a field day, racking up over 100 yards in the first half alone. The lead changed five times in the second half in a thrilling offensive game that saw Matt Schaub pass for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns, and rival quarterback Drew Brees pass for 370 and 3. Houston scored on a Matt Schaub touchdown pass with 4:13 left, but Drew Brees drove the Saints 93 yards down the field to take the lead 40-33, which is where the final score would stand.
Despite the loss, the team can walk away from the game knowing they can compete with almost anyone in the league, at least offensively. At times against the Saints their defense seemed porous, but the Saints high-powered offense can have that effect on teams. The Texans have a tough road ahead, however, with two out of their next three games against playoff teams from last year. Next week they host the defending AFC champ Pittsburgh Steelers, then after what should be a tough game against Oakland, they head to Baltimore to play the surging Ravens. Later in the season they also have tough out-of-conference games against Atlanta and Tampa Bay. Regardless, Houston seems to have the talent again this year to make it to the playoffs. Whether or not that talent will actually take them there remains to be seen. Although, Fans remain hopeful by purchasing Texans tickets to support their team!