The Texans played harder than I expected and had a shot to win at the end going for the two-point conversion in a failed attempt to knock the Titans out of the playoffs in one fail swoop. In the end tiebreakers did what the Texans couldn’t and sent the Titans home to watch with the rest of the AFC South.
Since Sunday’s game was as close to meaningless a game as the Texans could have I suppose my recap is about the same. So in that spirit I’ll make it quick so we can move onto the start of the real season: the NFL Playoffs. But before we go there here are some bullet points of what I liked and didn’t like in Sunday’s game.
What Tickled My Fancy
  • The return of Thor (James Casey). With Owen Daniels out and Joel Dreessen almost invisible in his starting role ,James Casey, came through in a big way with 7 receptions for 94 yards. We haven’t seen Casey do that kind of damage  since his week three outburst against the Saints. In that game he snagged 5 balls for 126 yards, but since then has been almost non-existent following a hamstring injury and a lighter workload. It would be nice to see more of James Casey as he’s a dynamic player and has shown flashes when given a chance. 
  • The First Drive:  In what was going to be the most important drive of the game (seeing as you didn’t expect the starters to play otherwise) the Texans certainly delivered with a beautiful pounding 13-play 90-yard drive that was capped off by a four yard Ben Tate touchdown run.
  • Ben Tate: Once again Ben Tate was able to deliver for the Texans in the absence of Arian Foster with a nice 97-yard performance off of 16 carries. Tate has been an exceptional compliment all year and his play has given the Texans arguably the best two-headed rushing attack in the league. He has the ability of a true starter in the NFL and it’s even more exciting to see considering his entire 2010 campaign was lost to a preseason ankle injury.
  • Brian Braman: Unquestionably the highlight of the game was Brian Bramans' helmetless (and some would argue brainless) tackle of Mark Mariani on special teams. It appeared that Braman was trying to top Brain Cushing’s early season head-butt when he collided head first without a helmet into Mariani to make the tackle.
  • Neil Rackers going 3/3: After starting the season great Neil Rackers had been missing some field goals as of late leaving me worried going into the playoffs. However he had a solid 3 for 3 outing on Sunday including a 52 yarder that could have made it from 60.
  • Jake Delhomme’s performance. The wily 36-year-old vet who spent more than half the season on his couch had a very solid performance Sunday. He did so against a hungry Titans team and with mostly backups.  It was especially surprising when you consider the fact that the last time we all saw this guy he had about 45 turnovers in a divisional round sending the then 13-3 Panthers home with a first round loss.
  • Antonio Smith: Antonio Smith had a solid outing with 2 sacks. It was the first time The Ninja was able to get a sack since Mario Williams went on injured reserve. It also set his career best for sacks in a season with 6.5. Congratulations Antonio Smith.  
The Ugly
  • Joel Dreessen’s performance: Given the starting role for Sunday's game Joel Dreessen came up rather small, managing just 18 yards on 3 receptions and having a costly false start penalty on the two-point conversion try for the win.
  • Another quarterback injury: The Flutie Curse is clearly alive and well as yet another quarterback went down with an injury. Thankfully, T.J. Yates injury isn’t serious and he’ll be back for the playoffs. Nevertheless it was surreal to see a stable of battered quarterbacks on the sideline Sunday. Had you told me at the beginning of the year I’d be looking on the Texans sideline and see Matt Schaub, Matt Leinart, T.J. Yates, Jeff Garcia and Jake Delhomme huddled around the same game film I’d say you’re a lunatic. It was like watching a bad Ocean’s 11 cast.
  • Texans didn’t cover 1st half:  In the Texans - Titans game preview I threw a little bone to my degenerate friends out there with a recommendation to play the Texans first half (+1/2). After Neil Rackers boomed a 52-yarder with only a minute or so left that little bone looked great. Then Nate Washington hauled in a long grab setting the Titans up for 43-yard Rob Bironas field goal and the lead going into the half. It appeared that Washington was unable to make the catch but Kubiak failed to throw the red flag. Sorry guys. Win some you lose some.
  • Our Corner Play opposite Jonathan Joseph: Although I could devote an entire article to harping on Kareem Jackson and Jason Allen I won’t do it because they get burned enough as is on the field. Zinger! But seeing Jason Allen get worked by Donnie Avery in the end zone for a touchdown was a reminder of our deficiency in that area. Our defense has been so spectacular this year its really masked how poor our corner play is opposite Jonathan Joseph.
Well ladies and gentleman it’s finally playoff time in Houston. Be Ready for the Bengals – Texans Wild-Card Playoff preview.