The artistry of the night came courtesy of Matt Schaub and his almost ho-hum surgical 5-of-6 passing performance that included a 44-yard touchdown toss to Andre Johnson, who couldn't have been more open if a corpse flower was assigned to cover him. The horror of the night arrived in rookie running back Ben Tate's limp off the field, the realization that his season is now in serious doubt and the truth that the Houston Texans' running game (check out that Steve Slaton goal-line fumble!) now looks like it always looks: Problematic.
But the real story of the Texans' first preseason game was a first-string defense that made Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart appear to be as confident as a Michael Cera movie character.
The Texans D thoroughly dominated the Cardinals' offensive starters as Leinart showed anyone watching why no fantasy football geek in his right mind wants this guy as their starting quarterback. It seems like another life ago, but Leinart was once the biggest USC golden boy going, a seemingly surefire NFL star.
Now ... he'll be lucky to have David Carr's career.
Leniart's final stat line doesn't look that bad: 6-for-7 passing for 49 yards. But his biggest completion of the night was a high throw that almost killed Larry Fitzgerald (the best receiver in football, sorry Andre honks, it's true). He also fumbled a tailback handoff and left the game with his team trailing 10-0.
In fact, Leniart came about as close to scoring as your average BlackBerry user.
He just looks lost. Of course, Mario Williams contributed to Leinart's sense of confusion by sacking him twice, once driving Cardinals tackle Ben Keith backwards, right into the quarterback.
This defensive effort (and not the always reliable Schaub) are the reason to be excited about this game, which ended in a 19-16 fourth and fifth-string future-cuts produced loss that means absolutely nothing (only the truly clueless still put NFL preseason game final scores into headlines). Williams looked quicker than he did almost all of last season.
Of course, he was playing against the Cardinals and Leinart, who possess the quarterback reflexes of an 80-year-old man.
Then after the game, Leinart showed his usual class by slinking off without doing any interviews (in the preseason). That's Trojan class.
Meaningless game No. 1 provided many reasons for Texan fans to give thanks. Not the least being that they're not stuck cheering for the Cardinals.