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Nick's Notes: Keshawn Martin has breakout game

Posted Nov 19, 2012

Rookie wide receiver Keshawn Martin had a breakout game on Sunday, catching his first-career TD and reeling off season-long kickoff and punt returns.


Notes from the Texans’ 43-37 overtime victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11 at Reliant Stadium:

Martin gets loose
Rookie wide receiver Keshawn Martin had a breakout game, showcasing the all-purpose versatility that made him a fourth-round draft pick out of Michigan State.

Martin had a 71-yard punt return in the fourth quarter, a 54-yard kickoff return in the second quarter and a nine-yard touchdown catch – the first of his career – in the first quarter. The two returns were both the Texans’ longest of the season and the longest of Martin’s career. Martin also drew a pass interference penalty on third down in overtime to set the Texans up for a short field goal.

On his 71-yard punt return, Martin fielded a booming 62-yard punt by Jaguars rookie Bryan Anger at the Texans’ 6-yard line. He darted up the middle and cut left down the sideline, outracing everybody until Anger tracked him down at the Jacksonville 23.

“I was mad,” Martin said after the game. “I was mad the punter got me. That was the fastest punter I’ve ever seen in my life. As I was running, I told myself I could not let the punter catch me, but he tripped me up.”

Graham-tastic
Third-year tight end Garrett Graham set career-highs with eight catches, 82 receiving yards and two touchdowns. His previous single-game bests were three catches, 39 yards and one touchdown.

Graham scored both of his touchdowns in the final 5:34 of the fourth quarter, helping the Texans overcome a 34-20 deficit to force overtime. He also had a career-long 30-yard catch in the third quarter.

“Garrett’s been doing that all year, but he just happened to get the opportunities with the ball in his hands,” Schaub said after the game. “Garrett really stepped up for us, especially in the red zone getting two touchdowns in there. He played outstanding.”

Tight end Owen Daniels was questionable for the game with a back injury after sitting out last Sunday. He wound up starting and had six catches for 57 yards as the Texans worked him back into the mix.

Defensive lapses
The Texans’ defense, which entered the game ranked second in the league, allowed a season-high 458 yards and 37 points to an offense that ranked dead last.

Before Sunday, the Jaguars averaged 263.3 yards and 14.1 points per game. The Texans allowed averages of 281.6 and 15.9. The Jaguars had 116 yards in the first quarter after gaining only 117 all game against the Texans in Week 2.

Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne came off the bench to throw for 354 yards and four touchdowns. The Texans allowed passes of 81 and 63 yards to rookie receiver Justin Blackmon and 67 yards to Cecil Shorts.

“We had some busts,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. “We had some mental mistakes, which is unlike us. Some formations caused us some problems and we had some MA’s (missed assignments) and we ended up giving up some big plays. They do have some talented young receivers.  Henne has played a lot of good football in this league, and when he came in, obviously they started slinging the heck out of it and he started playing extremely well. So I think you have to give them a ton of credit in how they played.”

Watt’s up
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt added another sack and pass defensed to his already impressive season totals on Sunday.

Watt sacked Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne for a six-yard loss in the fourth quarter, giving him 11.5 sacks on the season. He now ranks second in the NFL in sacks behind Denver’s Von Miller, who has 13 after recording seven sacks in the last three games. Watt needs 2.5 more sacks to tie Mario Williams’ franchise single-season record of 14.0, set in 2007.

Watt deflected a pass on third down in the red zone in overtime, giving him 11 passes defensed in 2012. That total is tied for sixth-most in the NFL. Watt is the only player in the top 40 in that category who is not a defense back. He is now the seventh player in NFL history with at least 11 sacks and 11 passes defensed in a season.

Swat fest
The Texans deflected four passes at or near the line of scrimmage in overtime, living up to their burgeoning “Swat Team” nickname.

All of the swats came on the Jaguars’ first overtime drive, after the Texans scored a field goal to take a 37-34 lead. Outside linebacker Connor Barwin and defensive end Antonio Smith batted down passes on back-to-back plays near midfield. After the Jaguars drove into the red zone, Smith and Watt had back-to-back swats to force a field goal attempt.

“It’s huge for us to be able to do that,” Smith said. “Now that I got a couple, I won’t get joked on in the meeting room by Shaun Cody.”

The Texans lead the NFL with 71 passes defensed, 32 of which are from their defensive linemen and linebackers. Twelve different members of their front seven have recorded at least one pass defensed this season.

Sharp return
Inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton had seven tackles in his first game off the Physically Unable to Perform list. The third-year pro had four solo tackles and one tackle for loss, a play on which he leveled Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings four yards behind the line of scrimmage.

“It felt great to be back out there,” Sharpton said. “I wasn’t expecting a game this long or this crazy. Playing football is like riding a bike for me. It clicked the minute I stepped on the field, and I felt like I was at home.”

Sharpton tore his right quadriceps last season in Week 8, ironically against the Jaguars at Reliant Stadium. He spent the first 10 weeks of the season on the Reserve/PUP list and was activated on Saturday before making his return. He played 45 snaps, including 32 on defense (48 percent of the Texans’ total defensive snaps) and 13 on special teams (31 percent).

Inside linebacker Tim Dobbins, who was questionable for Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury, played 14 defensive snaps (21 percent). Bradie James played all 66 defensive snaps and led the team with nine tackles.

Chipping in
As the top backup to Arian Foster with Ben Tate sidelined by a hamstring injury, running back Justin Forsett had his most productive game since December 2010 with the Seattle Seahawks.

Forsett totaled 59 rushing yards on just seven carries, averaging 8.4 yards per attempt. He had a 30-yard run in the first quarter, one week after reeling off a 25-yard run in the Texans’ victory at Chicago.

A fifth-year pro who signed with the Texans in May, Forsett is averaging 5.3 yards per carry this season on 40 attempts (213 yards).

Miscellaneous
Martin and Lestar Jean both made their first-career starts when the Texans opened the game with four wide receivers...Schaub completed passes to nine different receivers...Arian Foster topped 4,000 career rushing yards on his eighth carry of the game, a gain of three yards in the second quarter…Foster did not score a touchdown for the first time since Week 14 of last season, breaking a streak of 11 consecutive games with a score…punter Donnie Jones had a 55-yard punt in the first quarter, extending his streak of consecutive games with a punt of 55 yards or longer to five…safety Danieal Manning forced a fumble in the first quarter on a sack on Blaine Gabbert, giving him three forced turnovers in the last two games…Dobbins recovered a fumble forced by Manning for the second consecutive week.

Twitter.com/NickScurifeld

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