Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 11/30/11
By NOEY KUPCHAN STATS Writer The Houston Texans have had to overcome their fair share of injuries on their path to the top of the AFC South. Their road to the postseason stands to become a bit more turbulent with an inexperienced rookie quarterback under center. After losing its top two QBs to season-ending injuries, Houston turns to T.J. Yates in hopes of extending the longest single-season winning streak in team history Sunday against the visiting Atlanta Falcons. Two weeks after starter Matt Schaub suffered a severe foot injury, No. 2 quarterback Matt Leinart fractured his left collarbone shortly before halftime during a 20-13 victory at Jacksonville last Sunday. That thrust Yates, a fifth-round pick out of North Carolina, into action and he went 8 of 15 for 70 yards in his NFL debut. While Yates led a drive that resulted in a field goal and gave the Texans a 10-point lead at the break, Houston compiled just 47 yards and two first downs in the second half. Still, the Texans held on for their fifth straight victory. "I'm very proud of this team," coach Gary Kubiak said. "It's hard to win in this league, and when you face some of the adversity we've faced and will be facing again, and to continue to find a way to win, that's a sign of a very solid football team." Houston (8-3), two games ahead of Tennessee in the division, has persevered despite injuries to All-Pro wideout Andre Johnson and star running back Arian Foster. Johnson returned from a six-game absence to catch two passes for 22 yards versus the Jaguars. A now-healthy Foster has been instrumental during the win streak, compiling NFL bests of 156.6 yards per game from scrimmage and eight touchdowns in the five contests. While he'll be counted on to lead the way offensively as the Texans try to inch closer to their first playoff berth, Houston will also need a solid performance out of Yates. "I do think a lot of this young man, ya'll know that. He's worked very hard with this team. I think he has a lot of ability," Kubiak said. "It is a tall task, but this is a good football team and we'll rally around him. We'll work our tails off with him and I know he'll do his job too and we're going to give him the opportunity and I'm looking forward to see how he does." Houston added some much-needed depth Tuesday, reaching a deal with 36-year-old quarterback Jake Delhomme. He'll compete with recently signed Kellen Clemens for the backup job, and all three QBs shared snaps in practice Wednesday as they scrambled to prepare. While Houston's offense has been in a state of uncertainty, the defense has continued to thrive. The Texans rank second in the NFL with 16.3 points allowed per game and are surrendering a league-low average of 268.4 yards. They'll surely be in for a test against a Falcons team that has won five of six, its only loss in that stretch coming by a 26-23 score in overtime against NFC South-leading New Orleans on Nov. 13. Atlanta (7-4) is one game behind the Saints and in a three-way tie with Chicago and Detroit for the two wild-card spots. "We've always said that we always want to position ourselves to be a relevant team in November and December, and the teams that have sustainability are the ones that are relevant in November and December," coach Mike Smith said. While the Falcons have been surging, they've hardly dominated opponents. One week after building a 20-point lead and escaping with a 23-17 win over Tennessee, Atlanta held on for a 24-14 victory over Minnesota on Sunday. The Falcons took a 17-0 lead into halftime last week but needed to hold off a Vikings rally, making a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter. "As much as we like to blow a team out, we understand that can't happen all the time," linebacker Curtis Lofton said. "The concerning part for me as a team is our consistency throughout the game. We have to figure out a way to put four good quarters together, rather than in chunks. "I believe when we do that, we will be where we want to be in terms of consistency and in all aspects of the game." Matt Ryan went 27 of 34 for 262 yards and three TDs, recording a season-best 128.2 quarterback rating. The Falcons are 20-0 when Ryan posts a rating over 100.0. Ryan has been looking Roddy White's way often over the last two weeks, as the three-time Pro Bowl receiver has 17 receptions for 267 yards and a score in those contests. The Falcons will be without starting cornerback Brent Grimes due to a knee injury that will keep him out at least two weeks. Atlanta is thin at the position with nickel back Kelvin Hayden doubtful to play. Atlanta and Houston have met twice, with the Falcons taking the most recent matchup 26-16 on Sept. 30, 2007.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Adam Jones: Bengals dominated Steelers in playoff game

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker