Under the Spotlight
Outside linebacker Bryan Braman, an undrafted rookie who made the team with an impressive performance in camp and preseason, took it upon himself Sunday to make sure the Titans' return game didn't provide the kind of field position the offense needed.
Braman (6-5, 246) was credited with two tackles on special teams, both hard hits - the kind the Texans need on a regular basis, especially since standout Dominique Barber was lost for the season last week against the Ravens. "I feel good that I could help my team win," Braman said after the Texans' 41-7 victory. "It's a role I play on the team, one that I'm supposed to be doing. They expect plays like that from me."
In preseason, Braman led the team with 2? sacks. He made the team because of how hard he plays on special teams. Sunday's performance was an example of what he brings to the table.
"Understanding blocking schemes is important," he said about his role in coverages. "It feels good to make plays like I made today, but now the key is to be consistent.
"(Special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) does a great job of giving us a good scouting report. When I'm running down the field, I have to know his report, and I have to read my keys."
After an 0-for-3 start, Matt Schaub was 18-of-20 for 296 yards and two touchdowns. He didn't throw an interception, and he wasn't sacked. He was hit once and hurried twice.
Arian Foster brought his A game with 115 yards rushing and 119 receiving. Ben Tate ran for 104 yards. Lawrence Vickers was an excellent lead blocker.
Owen Daniels had four catches for 71 yards. Joel Dreessen had two for 31, including a touchdown. Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones combined for five receptions.
They did an outstanding job in a running game that produced 222 yards and 4.7 per carry. They allowed Schaub to be hit just once. He wasn't sacked.
Rookies J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed recorded sacks. As a group, the linemen shut down the run and pressured quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
Led by Brian Cushing, their leading tackler, the linebackers did a great job against the run and pass.
Danieal Manning, who was injured, and Brice McCain had the interceptions. McCain returned his for a touchdown. The DBs were smart and aggressive.
After a slow start on returns, they bounced back with big hits on coverage by Bryan Braman, Neil Rackers and Shiloh Keo.
The Texans needed to win. Coach Gary Kubiak and his staff knew they were under pressure, and they answered the bell with determination and resolve.
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What went right
Getting it going on the ground
After two games in which they averaged 80 yards rushing, the Texans ran 47 times for 222 yards. Arian Foster ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Ben Tate had 104 yards. They controlled the clock for 37 minutes, 58 seconds.
Chris who? Johnson a non-factor
The defense allowed only 148 total yards, and it threw a net over Titans RB Chris Johnson, who had 10 carries for 18 yards and six catches for 27 yards. The defense made him a non-factor.
O-line helps Schaub rate
QB Matt Schaub wasn't sacked. He was knocked down once. He responded by going 18-of-23 for 296 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. He had a career-high 147.7 rating.
What went WRONG
Manning injury could really hurt
FS Danieal Manning left the game with an injury in the second quarter. He suffered a broken bone in his lower left leg that could keep him out from four to 10 weeks. He was replaced by Troy Nolan.
Rookie shows the good and bad
Rookie safety Shiloh Keo was promoted from the practice squad last week. He had one bone-jarring tackle on special teams. He also committed a 10-yard penalty that set up the Titans' only touchdown. Then, on that score, Keo was beaten in the corner of the end zone by Jared Cook.
Rash of penalties creates a slow start
The Texans got off to a slow start by not scoring on their first two possessions. They had four penalties in the first quarter. Then they settled down and had only two after that.