Chalk Talk

Texans Thanksgiving truths: Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson excel at answering all the questions

Texans Thanksgiving truths: Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson excel at answering all the questions

Matt Schaub Gary Kubiak
Matt Schaub and Gary Kubiak don't have to look up at anybody in the NFL. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Andre Johnson catch Jags
Andre Johnson can still take over a game. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Matthew Stafford Lions
Matthew Stafford and the Lions are the Thanksgiving brunch.
Matt Schaub Gary Kubiak
Andre Johnson catch Jags
Matthew Stafford Lions

So you want to know what happens when an 8-1 team plays a 1-8 team on the 8-1 team’s home field? A whole lot and then some!

The Texans made it clear from the start they were not looking past the struggling Jaguars. Then . . . well . . . they took a long timeout!

OK, perhaps that’s a little harsh. The Texans can’t be perfect every down, or even every quarter. Besides, they did need to keep a little in the tank for this Thanksgiving Day brunch matchup with the Lions in Detroit. The team flew out to that game a little less than 72 hours after the kickoff of their Sunday game.

 This used to be a team that couldn’t pull out the win in situations like the one they overcame Sunday. It is one of the things champions do. 

The Texans needed overtime to beat the Jaguars 43-37 so clearly they weren’t conserving anything. In fact, they played five physical quarters of football and left all they had on the field. For those of you asking whether the Texans "overlooked" the Jaguars, the answer is unequivocally no.

It is a quasi-fair question on some levels, but the answer is still no.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak said he knew the Jaguars would give them a fight.

“(Jacksonville) has been playing good and they’ve been close in so many games,” Kubiak said.  “Obviously we struggled. We gave up a lot of big plays defensively. We turned the ball over offensively, but we kept battling and found a way to win a game another way.”

Yes, the Jaguars rolled into Reliant Stadium the clear underdogs. It was a game most people thought the Texans should win easily. In fact I heard talk on one of the pregame shows about the Texans putting this one away by halftime. All I can say is that is why you have to play the game.

The Jaguars record is 1-9, but the hard fought loss to the Texans was the Jaguars' third overtime loss on the road this season. So they’re in games, they just aren’t getting over the hump. The Texans know firsthand how that feels. This used to be a team that couldn’t pull out the win in situations like the one they overcame Sunday. It is one of the things champions do.

Texans left tackle Duane Brown said it was a good way to end nearly 73 minutes of football.

“We had a lot of mistakes on both sides of the ball, but to have a game like that, it says a whole lot about us," he said. "Nobody ever had the feeling that we were out of it. Guys were just fighting every play and you just find ways to win. Great teams find ways to win.”

Passing The Test

The Texans are a great team. If you’re not on the bandwagon yet going into this Thanksgiving affair, there is still room. This team is for real. The wild win over the Jaguars answered a few questions for many of us.

Can Matt Schaub put this team on his shoulders and get a win with the passing game? Check.

Schaub completed 43 of 55 passes for 527 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, winning AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in the process.

“I think I’ve said a few times, I knew that if we ever got in a situation where we had to throw it 50-plus times our quarterback is capable of doing it,” Kubiak said. “We don’t want to do it. It’s not how we want to play, but we got caught in one of those games.”

 "Guys were just fighting every play and you just find ways to win. Great teams find ways to win.”  

Speaking of Schaub’s performance, his 527 yards tied former Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon for second on the all-time NFL single game list. I remember that game against the Kansas City Chiefs like it was yesterday. Sitting in the press box at Arrowhead Stadium we watched with amazement as Moon had that impressive outing. Schaub’s performance was different but definitely impressive.

Next question: Can Andre Johnson still lead this team to victory? Check.

Johnson had a career day with 14 catches for 273 yards and scored the winning touchdown in overtime.

And one more question while I’m at it: Can the Texans really come from behind to win a game? Check.

Down two touchdowns with 12:33 left in the game, they had a chance to win it in regulation before sending the game to overtime and ultimately winning it.

So while a win is a win in the NFL, this Texans victory was pretty impressive. Of course there are no bad wins in the NFL. Perhaps some aren’t as pretty, or tied up with nice little bows, but a win is a win. Now, let's see how this Thanksgiving brunch goes.

Kim Davis is a journalist with more than two decades of experience covering sports, news and politics in television, radio and print. Kim does weekly "Chalk Talk" segments on Fox 26 Morning News. Follow her on Twitter @kimydavis.