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Return of Antonio Smith helps lift Texans' D

Posted Sep 15, 2013

After missing the season opener due to suspension, defensive end Antonio Smith returned with a bang in the Texans' Week 2 win over Tennessee.

The Ninja Assassin.

'Tone.

Scooby Doo.

Tonestradamus.

Those are all nicknames used for defensive end Antonio Smith. Outside linebacker Brooks Reed, however, had a new one when describing Smith's return to the lineup and pairing with J.J. Watt on Sunday.

"They had two monsters to worry about this time," Reed said.

After swinging a helmet at Miami left guard Richie Incognito during the preseason, Smith was supsended for the final two preseason contests, as well as Week 1. He came back Sunday and finished with a pair of tackles, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit in the win over Tennessee.

"It felt great," Smith said. "I missed that fun. It was one of those up and down nerve-wracking games, but all-in-all I had fun."

Smith and the defense limited the Titans to just 248 yards of total offense, and allowed Tennessee to convert four of their 16 third down opportunities.

"There was a sense that things were different and that he was providing some good pass rush in there," Reed said. "That's what we need. They can't have the whole offensive line sliding to J.J.'s side."

Watt finished with a pair of sacks, two batted passes, two tackles for loss and a quartet of quarterback hits in the win. He flourished with Smith playing opposite him on Sunday.

"It's nice to have 'Tone back," Watt said. "He made some big plays, got some great push. It's always nice to have a guy on the other side who, if they want to double-team one guy, they have to get punished by the other guy."

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