Houston vs. Jacksonville

Final Score: Houston – 43, Jacksonville – 37

The Houston Texans, now 9-1 on the year, were nearly brought to their knees by the surprising Jacksonville Jaguars - now 1-9. Early in the first quarter Blaine Gabbert was taken to his knees by way of a strip sack. Chad Henne stepped in for the injured Gabbert after just two pass attempts. Henne would go on to post career numbers against one of the league’s strongest defenses. Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Justin Blackmon exploded for career days as well in this wild Texas shootout.

By The Numbers!

  • Matt Schaub’s 527 yards passing were the second-most in NFL History (single game.) Schaub passed the ball a season-high 55 times. Prior to Sunday’s shootout, Schaub’s biggest game had been against the Denver Broncos when he passed the ball 30 times for 290 yards. The high-caliber Houston defense has left little reason for Schaub to be this active. The Jaguars certainly changed that though, as they were able to maintain a lead for most of the regulation period. Schaub spread the ball around to nine different receivers. 
  • One of those happened to be Johnson. Johnson, who led all receivers with 14 receptions and 273 yards. He also tacked on a certain 48-yard touchdown that would secure the win in overtime. The veteran’s performance was the best of his career. Johnson has yet to establish himself as a consistent threat this season after a 2011 campaign plagued with injury. If any performance would get him back on track, this would be it, right? Keep an eye on Johnson moving forward. His career day could be the ignition source for a late-season explosion. The Lions, Titans, Patriots and Colts all show up on Houston’s schedule in coming weeks.
  • Arian Foster was kept out of the end zone for the first time this season. With just 77 yards on 28 carries, Foster averaged less than three yards per carry. The bright spot in Foster’s mediocre performance? Houston can execute the offense without him.
  • Chad Henne, who had quietly been a solid fill-in for Gabbert this season, kept pressure on the Texans all day. The teams obviously ended regulation in a tie, but that was only due to a pair of touchdowns in the last seven minutes of the fourth quarter from Houston. Henne was able to produce big plays all day. With five plays of 20+ on the day, Henne showed a strong connection with Blackmon and Cecil Shorts III. Blackmon finally had the breakout game we had all been anxiously awaiting. The first-round draft pick hauled in seven receptions for 236 yards and one touchdown. Shorts added three receptions for 81 yards. Each of the receivers’ longest play was over 60 yards, and resulted in a touchdown. Great stuff from a banged up Jaguar offense.

Indianapolis @ New England

Final score: Indianapolis – 24, New England – 59

Indianapolis was due for a reality check, and New England was glad to deliver. The Colts jumped out to an early 14-7 lead. Two early drives went for 80, and 84 yards - each resulting in a touchdown. Things looked to be in order for a classic shootout. The Colts, however, began to make mistakes that ultimately allowed the Patriots to steal momentum and halt the visitor’s early surge. The punt team allowed a 68-yard Julian Edelman return for a touchdown. On the ensuing possession, Andrew Luck floated a pass over the middle that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Aqib Talib. After two more efficient drives, the Colts were unable to reestablish the balance responsible for their early success.

By The Numbers!

  • Vick Ballard rushed for 72 yards on 16 carries. Ballard looked sharp early on, but faded out in the second half. The Colts fell too far behind to maintain any kind of rushing attack. Delone Carter added two carries for 21 yards. Donald Brown carried four times for 17 yards. The running game was put on the back burner as the aerial attack hoped to take off.
  • Luck completed 27 of his 50 pass attempts for 334 yards. His two touchdowns were overshadowed by three interceptions. The New England pass-rush was strong, particularly after the Patriots began to run away with the lead. Luck was under pressure often, and it showed in his pass selection. Luck was only able to run the ball once, resulting in a four-yard gain.
  • T.Y. Hilton was Luck’s favorite target on the day. Hilton had six grabs for 100 yards and two touchdowns. It was Hilton’s third 100-yard game of the season; His first with multiple scores. Reggie Wayne was added 72 yards on seven grabs.
  • The Indianapolis defense gave up 446 yards on the day (two less than the Patriots’ defense.) Tom Brady completed 24 of his 35 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns. Gronkowski terrorized the defense with 7 receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns.  The Colts were, however, able to all but stop the run. The Patriots got 68 yards from their backs on 24 carries. Pretty solid numbers against a pair of dangerous running backs. You might have noticed that the Patriots gained 115 yards on the ground as a team. This is because Edelman added 47 yards on an excellent end-around play. Considering the quality of opponent, the defense did alright to allow just 38 points. The remainder of the Patriot’s 59 points came via special teams and defense.