Visit HoustonTexans.com Monday at 3:30 p.m. CT to watch the live streaming video of coach Gary Kubiak’s press conference.
T-Roy Terrific: Second-year free safety Troy Nolan pulled down a pair of interceptions in the game Sunday and also finished with four tackles. It was his first significant bit of game action in the regular season, and he filled in capably with starter Eugene Wilson inactive due to injury.
“It’s huge, because people want to see what you can do,” Nolan said. “You want to show your teammates that you can obviously play in this league. You want to show your coaches that you can play in this league. So coming up big is very huge.”
Nolan flourished in the preseason, and head coach Gary Kubiak said after the game that the young defender has earned the right to play more in the future.
“That was the key to the game, getting those two turnovers,” linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. “It happens during the week in practice, so it’s not surprising. Nolan’s always around the ball, and I think he picked a couple off in practice this week.”
Punt coverage: The Raiders returned just three of Matt Turk’s punts, and they gained a combined four yards on those returns. In all, Turk punted six times and averaged 42 yards per punt with a long of 51 yards. In the first quarter, Turk’s 43-yarder was downed by deep snapper Jon Weeks at the three-yard line.
Dreessen’s Day: Tight end Joel Dreessen led the receiving corps with five catches for 73 yards against Oakland. He also caught an 11-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Two weeks ago at Washington, Dreessen hauled in the long pass in overtime that set up Neil Rackers’ game-winning field goal.
“He’s Mr. Consistency for us,” quarterback Matt Schaub said of Dreessen. “He always does the right thing. He’s in the right place. He knows his responsibilities, and when you give him a chance he’s going to make plays.”
Return of Cushing: Linebacker Brian Cushing returns from his four-game suspension on Monday morning, and the 3-1 Texans are all excited to see him back with the team.
“That’s a huge boost,” Nolan said of Cushing’s return. “He’s one of our leaders out there, so when he comes back it’s going to be another step up.”
Cushing, who was unable to take part in practices, lift weights at the team facilities and even keep in contact with the organization, has stayed in shape by training in New Jersey.
Cushing’s return also helps the club in terms of depth, as veteran Kevin Bentley and rookie Darryl Sharpton were both inactive on Sunday due to injury.
Foster Update: To the consternation of Fantasy Football owners around the world, running back Arian Foster didn’t start the game and wasn’t inserted into the contest until the middle of the second quarter. He carried three times in the first half for five yards, and then exploded after the intermission with 13 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown. He added 56 yards receiving and a scoring catch and helped pace the Texans to the win.
“We all have responsibilities, and he neglected some of his,” Kubiak said. “When that happens, you have to pay a price. I’m disappointed in him, but I’m also very proud of him for the way he played today.”
Foster apologized for letting his team down, and his fellow Texans were happy to see him in the game.
“You wonder if he’d been in the whole game, whether he could’ve gone for 200 (yards) again,” right tackle Eric Winston said jokingly. “But guys have to be accountable, and we’ve got to do what we need to do.”