Matt Schaub Wins Big In Week 1

The Recap -

After a largely defensive first quarter in which the Miami Dolphins outscored Houston 3-0, the Texans kicked into high-gear and scored 24 unanswered points. Arian Foster, who was questionable to play heading into the contest, scored two touchdowns in less than four minutes. Matt Schaub then completed a 14-yard pass to receiver Andre Johnson to take a commanding 24-3 lead going into halftime.

Marcus Thigpen took a kick 72 yards in the third quarter resulting in Miami’s only touchdown of the day. Houston’s Kicker Shane Graham then added two more field goals in the second half.

Final score: 30-10 Houston.   

The News –

The Texans’ organization shook things up and announced they had signed Schaub to a long-term deal immediately following the win over Miami. Many expected the Texans to make a decision on quarterback Matt Schaub at the close of the 2012 season. This was not the case, and is if Schaub needed more reason to celebrate on Sunday afternoon, the Texans gave him a four-year contract with $30 million guaranteed.

Luck’s Lack-Luster NFL Debut

Andrew Luck made his first NFL start Sunday. He squared off with a veteran Chicago Bears defense and, they were a veteran Chicago Bears defense. Luck was frequently faced with pressure from the Bears’ front seven. He handled it quite well at times, showing the maneuverability that makes him so special.

Fans were ultimately reminded that Luck is rookie in the NFL as he threw three interceptions on his way to a tough loss in Chicago. The Bears came out on top with a final score of 41-21.  

On the lighter side of things he threw for 309 yards and a touchdown. Twice, long drives in which Luck and the offense looked very strong, ended in interceptions. The bright spots of the day won’t show up on any stat sheet, but they were there. Look for strong performances in coming weeks when the Colts match up against the Minnesota Vikings and division rival Jacksonville Jaguars.

Luck’s final stat line: 23/45 309 Yards 1 TD 3 INT

Rookie head coach Chuck Pagano’s game plan was sound. However, throwing the ball 45 times and running just 15 times hardly seems characteristic of a coach who has prided himself in building a team with a physical-mindset. Don’t be surprised if the Colts put the ball on the ground more often in coming weeks. Even 10 fewer pass attempts will make Luck’s job easier.   

Freeney Injured Early In Season Opener

Coach Pagano unveiled his 3-4 defense against Chicago. The linebacker core started the day one man down as Pat Angerer was unable to play due to a foot injury. The game was just getting started when the defense lost a second key defender.

In what seems to be an annual occurrence, pass-rush-specialist Dwight Freeney suffered an injury and was forced to exit the game against Chicago. Mid-way through the first quarter Freeney was sidelined with what appeared to be an ankle injury. Freeney will undergo an MRI in Indianapolis at which point we will know more about the severity of the injury.

Do not sell out on the Colt’s defense just yet. As previously mentioned, Pat Angerer was unable to play this week. Even without Angerer, the Colts forced a punt and a pick-six in the Bears’ first two possessions. *Insert Freeney injury here* The Bears would go on to score 17 unanswered points as Jay Cutler had more than enough time to find an array of targets. When healthy, this squad will be a force to be reckoned with.  

Jacksonville Loses Heartbreaker To Minnesota

The Jacksonville Jaguars played the Minnesota Vikings in what was easily the game-of-the-week.

Two young quarterbacks, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder, played with great poise and leadership in the clutch. Improvement from last season was evident in the play of each of these quarterbacks.

Many questioned whether Gabbert would pan out in the long-term for Jacksonville. Those questions did not phase Jacksonville as they pushed forward and put some nice pieces around Gabbert. The biggest of these being first-round draft pick Justin Blackmon.    

It was not Blackmon that had the biggest impact in this one though, Cecil Shorts caught four passes for 74 yards. Marcedes Lewis added another five receptions for a total of 52 yards. Each had one touchdown reception.

Blaine Gabbert’s 76-yard go-ahead drive lasted only 58 seconds, and resulted in 8 points. Score moved to 23-20 in favor of Jacksonville. This drive began with 1:18 left on the game clock.

That left Ponder with 20 ticks to get his squad into field goal range. A 26-yard-pass to Devin Aromashodu followed by a six-yard-pass to Kevin Rudolph did just that. Blair Walsh nailed a 55-yard field goal as regulation expired to send the game into overtime.

The Vikings won the coin toss and once again, marched down the field to kick a field goal. A year ago, the game would have been over at this point, but the overtime rule change allowed the Jaguars a drive of their own. They could not capitalize, however, and failed to convert on a fourth down.

The Jaguars did not win on the field today, but they were victorious in the sense that Gabbert came into his own. This game will provide a certain chip on the shoulders of Jacksonville players. They are now at a point where they can look to win games as opposed to looking for guys to fill the roster. Expect another good showing out of Gabbert in week 2. (Do not forget that MJD will be closer to full-strength as well).

Jake Sent To Locker Room In Fourth Quarter  

The Tennessee Titans played hosts to the New England Patriots on Sunday. Very generous hosts.

The defense gave up 390 yards to Tom Brady and Co. as they accumulated 34 points. Brady looked sharp as he built up a 28-10 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

The Titans resorted to the pass game when they realized that Chris Johnson was simply not going to cut it (His 11 carries for four yards were quite convincing).

Nate Washington fumbled on a 23 yard reception, the ball was then recovered by Patriot Patrick Chung. As Chung made a return up the field Locker sacrificed his body to make a tackle.

(Side note: The fumble was later reviewed and ruled an incomplete pass, so technically, the play that removed Locker from the game was a dead play. Had the refs gotten the call correct the first time through, Locker would not be nursing a sore shoulder).

Locker actually made quite the technically sound tackle landing his shoulder directly in the torso of Chung. The contact was heavy and Locker immediately showed that he was in pain. There has been no official word on the severity of the injury, but Locker reportedly tried to reenter the game later in the fourth quarter.

AFC South standings –

Houston 1-0 (Next game @ Jacksonville) 

Tennessee 0-1 (Next game @ San Diego) 

Jacksonville 0-1 (Next game vs. Houston) 

Indianapolis 0-1 (Next game vs. Vikings) 

Until next time, find me on Twitter @Crawdaddy_Club for AFC South news, updates, and predictio