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Houston Texans

.500 never felt so good

The Texans needed a rousing win over the Saints on Sunday and got one. This was a reversal of what happened when untaken 2006 draft choice Vince Young visited last year. This time, untaken 2006 draft choice Reggie Bush stopped through and got stopped. A lot.

The Texans kept Bush and the talent Saints' offense off the scoreboard in the second half, holding them to a season low-tying 10 points. Driving up to the stadium you could see a ton of Saints jerseys. You got the feeling that some of the fans didn't even have tickets. They were just there to party.

But it was the Texans who had the party. When Andre Johnson was introduced to the crowd, the place erupted. It set the tone for a wonderful afternoon of big plays on both sides of the ball.

Johnson not only brings the big-time catches, he also provides an intangible lift to this team that's easy to see. Gary Kubiak said his mere presence in practice picked the whole team up this week. The Texans are 3-0 with Johnson this season. In all three games, they found themselves in a clock-killing mode with plenty of time left in the fourth quarter.

This is unmapped territory. You will have your Thanksgiving turkey with the Texans at .500 for the first time this late in the season. In a division like the AFC South, it may be too pie-in-the-sky to talk playoffs, but an 8-8 or better season is out there for them and they looked primed to take it.

Mario Williams clearly won the battle with Bush in this chapter of the #1 vs. #2 debate. Bush is clearly better as a receiving back than a ball carrier. It's almost stunning to think that his career long carry is 22 yards. He is still a potential nightmare playmaker who makes you hold your breath every time he touches the ball.

Meanwhile, Mario has been drawing plenty of praise from Kubiak despite not putting up big numbers. On Sunday, he put up the stats and the effort that amounted to his best personal performance since the opening day win against Kansas City. Living up to the hype of being the number-one pick is a tall order, but Williams is proving to be a very effective and productive defensive end who should play a long time in the NFL.

The schedule gets no easier with back-to-back road games against Cleveland and Tennessee, but for the first time ever the NFL will have to recognize the Texans as legitimate late-season playoff hunters.


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