Meet the New Bully
Houston Texans absolutely humiliate the Indianapolis Colts with Phillips' powerdefense
It started with a sack from the guy who's not supposed to be able to play in the 3-4. Mario Williams tore around Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark like Clark was nothing but a inanimate pylon, pile drove Kerry Collins into the ground and the avalanche was rolling.
Houston Texans 34, Colts 7.
If you wanted a football game, Houston's Reliant Stadium wasn't the place to be Sunday afternoon. For this wasn't a game, it was a complete and utter one-sided power play. Houston didn't just win its opener. It all but ended its most annoying rival's season. In Week One.
That's how devastatingly effective the Texans were. Peyton Manning may want to retire after seeing how pathetic his team looked without him. The packed crowd at Reliant Stadium on a 9/11 anniversary Sunday witnessed one of the most lopsided games of the early openers — and loved, every single minute of it.
"It's as good as it comes," a beaming Texans owner Bob McNair said in the locker room, half an hour after one of his franchise's most impressive days. "To dominate a team like this is outstanding, and they are a good ballclub."
If you wanted a football game, Reliant Stadium wasn't the place to be Sunday afternoon. For this wasn't a game, it was a complete and utter one-sided power play.
How dominant were the Texans? They out gained the AFC South's traditional bully 259 yards to 72 yards in building up a 34-0 first half lead. And even those stats, don't quite do this rout justice.
"That's the best half of football we've probably ever played," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said afterwards. "It was explosive defense, explosive offense, explosive special teams.
"We had good explosion."
Got the picture?
Houston scored on back-to-back drives of 12 yards and 18 yards as new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' unit threw the Colts into utter chaos. Jacoby Jones scored on a 79-yard punt return. Second-year tailback Ben Tate made the injured Arian Foster little more than an afterthought, putting up 116 yards in his first NFL regular season game.
The only drama came in whether Phillips' D would pitch a shutout. Yes, the Texans defense is fretting over preserving a shutout in a game long since decided (Mr. Clutch Adam Vinatieri obliged by missing a 31-yard field goal early in the fourth, but eventually Reggie Wayne caught a touchdown).
Bummed about the lack of a shutout? The Texans D? The same unit that's still starting Kareem Jackson? What parallel universe have we fallen into?
It's the stuff of a long-suffering (at least as long as its existence) franchise's dreams. Especially since the tone was set by the side of the ball that's been maligned for so long in Houston. Texan quarterback Matt Schaub threw an interception through Andre Johnson's outstretched hands on the game's first possession.
The Texans D would bail Schaub out. The Texans D would control the game, force two fumbles. Houston couldn't have asked for anything more in the debut of Phillips' 3-4.
No Manning changes everything for the Colts of course. The Texans were favored to win this game by more than nine points by the Las Vegas oddsmakers. But no one expected a show quite like this.
Not with defense, and special teams, and . . . pure unadulterated bravado.
"You want to come out and set a tone in the first game," said J.J. Watt, who only looks like the early favorite for NFL Defensive Rookie of Year. "We're obviously trying to change things around here, what everyone thinks of the Texans around the league."