Texans-Jets game blog

From the press box - 2:49 p.m.Today's attendance was just announced at 70,118. I'm heading down to the field to prepare for postgame coverage, so that wraps up my in-game blog.

Be sure to tune into Texans TV after the game to watch Kubiak's live press conference from Reliant Stadium.

From the press box - 2:44 p.m.And that might be your ballgame. Schaub had three defenders in his face on second-and-10 from the 38-yard line. He heaved it up in desperation down the right sideline, and it was snared by cornerback Lito Sheppard for an interception at the 12 with 7:20 to play. The crowd is starting to thin out as the Texans' prospects for a comeback are dwindling.

In injury news, Davis has a concussion and will not return. He was hurt after making a catch and being hit by David Harris on the Texans' drive that just ended.

Rex Ryan's defense looks a lot like his Ravens defense that stormed through Reliant Stadium last year, when Baltimore forced four turnovers and beat the Texans 41-13.

From the press box - 2:39 p.m.Staggering stat: The Jets have 402 yards of offense with 8:14 to play. The Texans have 179. If they can get 42 more, it'll be a 24-14 game.

From the press box - 2:36 p.m.The Texans have changed to a no-huddle offense now with 17 points to make up in 10 minutes. So far, they've moved the ball down the field with a 17-yard catch by Johnson and a seven-yard catch by Daniels. Slaton just ran six yards for a first down on third-and-three from the Texans' 45.

From the press box - 2:32 p.m.Well, so much for that. The Jets are back up by 17 after a 38-yard touchdown run by Jones, and just like that, the momentum has vanished from the building. It took the Jets just four plays and two minutes to answer the Texans' score. Sanchez hit Dustin Keller for a 40-yard completion down the right sideline on the play before Jones' touchdown, on which he sped through the right side of the Texans' defense.

With 10:10 remaining, the score is 24-7.

From the press box - 2:27 p.m.Here we go! The Texans are back in it with a huge, huge (and very unlikely) play by safeties John Busing and Dominique Barber. Busing picked off Sanchez at the 37-yard line for his first career interception, returned it 15 yards but was stripped at the 48-yard line. But talk about a blessing in disguise- Barber picked the ball up in full stride and rumbled down the right sideline, got some key blocks and made a few Jets miss on his way into the end zone for a touchdown. It's now 17-7 with 12:18 left in the game, and it feels like the entire stadium just woke up from a bad dream.

There was a flag on the play, but it went on Sanchez for an illegal low block and was enforced on the kickoff. Barber's return was reminiscent of Gary Brackett's heartbreaking touchdown return after the Sage Rosenfels helicopter dive and fumble at Reliant Stadium last season. That play keyed a 17-point fourth quarter comeback for the Colts, and there were about seven minutes less left in that game when Brackett's play happened.

From the press box - 2:20 p.m.Another stalled drive, another punt for the Texans, who just kicked the ball back to the Jets with 14:28 left in the game. Their most recent drive ended with the following play sequence: First down- Schaub pass for Daniels, thrown behind Daniels; incomplete. Second down- Schaub swing pass for Slaton, thrown ahead of Slaton who was tangled up with Jets defenders behind the line of scrimmage; incomplete. Third down- Schaub with plenty of time to throw but nobody open to throw to, sacked for a 13-yard loss by linebacker Jamaal Westerman. Lots of boos coming form the rafters at Reliant Stadium.

From the press box - 2:14 p.m.The fourth quarter is about to start. The Texans have 155 yards, eight first downs and no points through three quarters. They've got the ball at their own 33-yard line with a second-and-10 as the final period gets underway.

From the press box - 2:11 p.m.The Texans' defense came up with a much-needed stop. On third-and-eight from the Houston 47, defensive end Antonio Smith came after Sanchez, who scrambled to make a dumpoff pass to Leon Washington. Rookie defensive end Connor Barwin flashed some serious speed and chased Washington down for a drive-ending tackle at the 43-yard line.

The Jets punted, and Jones brought in a fair catch at the 10-yard line with 54 seconds left in the third quarter. The Texans are down 17 and need to make something happen soon to get back in this game.

From the press box - 2:07 p.m.The Texans forced a three-and-out and then picked up their longest gain of the game with a 27-yard pass from Schaub to tight end Owen Daniels. That gave them a first down at their own 41-yard line, but they were held to a fourth and two from the 49. Coach Gary Kubiak opted to go for it. Schaub's pass for Daniels over the middle was broken up by safety Eric Smith, and the Texans turned the ball over on downs. It was a good throw, and Daniels was well past the first-down marker; Smith just made a really nice play with a diving deflection.

On the bright side, Cushing has had a strong game. He leads the Texans with eight tackles in his pro debut.

From the press box - 1:57 p.m.The Texans needed a strong drive to get some momentum and get the crowd back into the game, but instead they got another three-and-out. Their drive started promisingly with a seven-yard gain by Slaton, his longest run of the day. But Schaub was sacked by linebacker Davd Harris for an eight-yard loss on the next play. Schaub was dragged down by a horsecollar tackle, but Hochuli said there is no foul on a horsecollar tackle if it's made on a quarterback who's in the pocket.

On third-and-11, Schaub threw a short pass over the middle intended for Johnson - only Johnson's third target of the day - but it fell incomplete and led to a punt and more boos from the restless Reliant crowd.

From the press box - 1:51 p.m.It's going from bad to worse at Reliant Stadium. The Jets marched down the field on the first drive of the second half, adding another touchdown on a one-yard run by Thomas Jones to go up 17-0.

Sanchez carved up the Texans' secondary on the drive. As he has all day, the rookie quarterback extended plays with his feet and moved the chains with clutch passes on third downs. On third-and-five from the Jets 18, Sanchez passed for 10 yards to Jerricho Cotchery. On third-and-two from the Jets 36, he had a 25-yard pass to Cotchery. The drive went 87 yards in 12 plays and took 7:25 off the clock.

The Texans had their fourth near-miss on a takeaway on the drive. Jones fumbled at the Texans' 26-yard line, but it was covered up by right tackle Damien Woody. The Jets have fumbled twice and recovered both times, and Sanchez has thrown two passes that went through the hands of a Texans defender.

From the press box - 1:38 p.m.Some halftime observations:

The Texans are putting a lot of pressure on themselves by getting into too many third-and-long situations. They've been unable to get much of anything going in the running game, averaging a scant 2.2 yards per carry. Chris Brown has been their most effective runner on the limited number of carries he's had, and he might be an important part of the game plan in the second half.

Mark Sanchez has lived up to his billing as a quarterback with poise beyond his years. But the Texans have been oh-so-close to making his day a lot worse, barely missing out on two interceptions in the first half (one that went through the hands of Zac Diles, another through the mitts of Mario Williams). The Texans' defense looks charged up and has been flying around, bringing pressure on blitzes and holding the Jets to 2.7 yards per carry. But the offense has been unable to help them out, and the defense has been unable to come up with a game-changing turnover.

Steve Slaton has been more effective in the passing game than the running game, coming up with 35 yards on three receptions. But that turnover, so far, was a backbreaker. You can bet he'll be eager to make up for that mistake in the second half - Slaton lost only two fumbles as a rookie.

The most glaring statistic to me from the first half was 1 - the number of receptions for Andre Johnson in the first half. That catch came on the first drive of the game, and I'm not even sure that Johnson has been targeted once since then. The Texans have to get the NFL's leading receiver more involved to get their offense rolling in the second half.

From the press box - 1:32 p.m.Halftime by the numbers:

10-0: The score, in favor of the Jets
195-104: Total yards for both teams, in favor of the Jets
154-82: Passing yards, in favor of the Jets
80.4: QB rating for Matt Schaub, on 10-of-15 passing for 82 yards
96.7: QB rating for Mark Sanchez, on 11-of-20 passing for 154 yards
0:Sacks for the Texans
41-22: Rushing yards, in favor of the Jets
2.2: The Texans' average yards per carry
15: Yards for Chris Brown, the Texans' leading rusher, on three carries
1:Yards for Steve Slaton, on six carries
5: Penalties on the Texans, for 32 yards
1: Catch for Andre Johnson, for seven yards
From the press box - 1:24 p.m.The Texans caught a break at the end of the first half. After a short, penalty-marred drive, the Texans punted from their own 18-yard line. Jim Leonhard returned it 18 yards to set the Jets up near midfield with a minute left to play.

The Jets attempted a last-gasp play on fourth-and-two from the Houston 43 with two seconds remaining. Sanchez completed a pass to tight end Dustin Keller down the left sideline for an 18-yard gain, and DeMeco Ryans leveled him with no time remaining. But Ryans was flagged for taunting after the play, which I thought was going to give the Jets another play and allow them a chance at a short field goal. But referee Ed Hochuli announced that by rule, the penalty did not extend the period, so the half ended there with the score still at 10-0.

Halftime by the numbers coming up shortly.

From the press box - 1:14 p.m.The Jets went up 10-0 with three minutes left in the first half. Sanchez, with plenty of time to throw, hit a wide-open Chansi Stuckey in the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown pass to cap a 10-play, 78-yard drive. There was busted coverage on the play - it looked like rookie corner Brice McCain thought the Texans were in zone, but there were no safeties down the field to cover Stuckey deep.

Sanchez is now 8-of-17 for 121 yards and a touchdown, and he has yet to be sacked although the Texans have applied consistent pressure.

Chaun Thompson was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the ensuing kickoff to pin the Texans at their own 10-yard line. It was Thompson's second penalty on a kickoff return in the game. Owen Daniels got called for a holding penalty on the next play, moving the Texans back even farther. At the two minute warning, they've got a second-and-15 from their own five, 95 yards away from the end zone.

From the press box - 1:06 p.m.The Texans were knocking on the doorstep of the Jets' end zone when Steve Slaton fumbled at the 15-yard line. Slaton had gained 17 yards on a screen pass before cornerback Donald Strickland popped the ball right out of his hands. It was caught in the air by defensive end Mike Devito. The turnover killed an eight-play, 53-yard drive.

Though the Texans have yet to score, running back Chris Brown has been effective in short-yardage situations. He had a five-yard run on the drive to give the Texans a first down.

Overall, though, the running game has struggled. The unsatisfied Reliant Stadium crowd showered boos down to the field after Slaton was stuffed near the line of scrimmage on the previous drive. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle joked in the press box that the fans were chanting "Bruce!" for offensive assistant Bruce Matthews, who McClain said could block better than the Texans' line has been so far in this game.

Schaub is showing that his ankle is OK. He shed a potential sack from linebacker Bryan Thomas and scrambled for six yards on the drive.

From the press box - 12:43 p.m.Here are some numbers after the first quarter:

72-30: Total yards for both teams, in favor of the Jets
61-19: Passing yards, in favor of the Jets
11-11: Rushing yards, even for both teams
5-1: First downs, in favor of the Jets
10:01-4:59: Time of possession, in favor of the Jets
From the press box - 12:40 p.m.The Texans' defense held on third-and-five, and the Jets wound up with a 24-yard field goal to go up 3-0 with eight seconds left in the first quarter. A personal foul was called on the Jets after the kick, and the 15-yard penalty was on the kickoff.

There was solid pressure from the front four on the third-down stop, with Amobi Okoye forcing Sanchez to step up in the pocket and throw an incompletion. The Jets moved the ball 68 yards in 13 plays, taking 8:27 off the clock. Sanchez completed passes for a first down on three third-and-longs on the drive - twice on third-and-10 and once on third-and-seven. Two of the passes were short dumpoffs that turned into big gains.

The Texans had two near takeaways on the drive. On second-and-10 from the Jets 43, Mario Williams hit Sanchez as he threw and the short pass was nearly intercepted by Zac Diles. Later in the drive, Thomas Jones fumbled after taking a handoff on first-and-10 from the 26, but he quickly fell on the ball before a diving Nick Ferguson could get to it.

The first quarter of the '09 season has come to a close with the Texans trailing 3-0. They have the ball facing a second-and-one from their own 41-yard line.

From the press box - 12:33 p.m.Jets are driving down the field with :16 left in the first quarter. Huge third-and-five from the six coming up. They called a timeout to get ready for the play as the noise from the crowd was ratcheting up.

Brian Cushing got his first tackle two plays ago on first-and-10 from the 11-yard line. He stuffed Washington for a two-yard gain at the nine-yard line.

The Jets have converted on several third-and-longs on this drive. We'll see what they do on this one.

From the press box - 12:24 p.m.Referee Ed Hochuli did not make the Reliant Stadium crowd happy with his call of defensive holding on second down for the Jets. Shaun Cody had tipped Sanchez's pass on second-and-nine, but Hochuli called somebody for a hold before the pass was tipped (we don't know who, since Hochuli said the penalty was on a No. 53 and the Texans' don't have a No. 53).

The Texans have been staunch against the run so far, holding Thomas Jones and Leon Washington to -2 yards on their first four carries.

From the press box - 12:16 p.m.Behind a revved-up home crowd clad in Liberty White, the Texans' defense forced a three-and-out on New York's first drive. Zac Diles and Fred Bennett stuffed Thomas Jones for a three-yard loss on first down. Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez threw an incompletion that was defended by cornerback Dunta Robinson on second down, and Sanchez's eight-yard pass to Chansi Stuckey on third down wasn't enough to move the chains. Nice start for Frank Bush's unit.

From the press box - 12:11 p.m.The Texans' first drive of 2009 lasted six plays and 18 yards before they were forced to punt. Jacoby Jones returned the opening kickoff 32 yards to the 30, but a holding penalty on Chaun Thompson had the Texans start at their own 20. Running back Chris Brown had a nice first down run and Andre Johnson had a seven-yard reception, but the Texans could muster up little else.

Tight end Joel Dreessen, on his first snap at long snapper, hustled down the field to stop Leon Washington in his tracks at the 19-yard line after only a four-yard return. Dreessen was animated after the play and is clearly jacked up to play against his former team.* *

From the press box - 11:49 a.m.We're having some problems with the internet connection in the press box, but I think I've got my connection problem fixed. Player introductions are moments away, and the national anthem will follow.

There's been a good amount of chatter in the press box about the Texans dressing only seven offensive linemen, with Kasey Studdard and Rashad Butler as the only reserves. If anything should happen to center Chris Myers, Mike Brisiel would likely shift over to center and Studdard would take his place at right guard. Studdard also is the backup to left guard Chester Pitts.

Eleven minutes and counting 'til kickoff.

From the press box - 11:40 a.m.Just got back from the field. Love the all-white unis. White shirts and Texans jerseys are filling up the Reliant Stadium seats right now. Brian Cushing, who didn't play in the preseason, looks impressive in pads and ready to hit somebody today (namely, his former teammate Mark Sanchez).

Kickoff is 20 mintues away. Country music artist Clay Walker will be singing the national anthem. The Texans' defense is being introduced pre-game, while the Jets will come out as a team.

From the press box - 11:00 a.m.
I'll get my game blog started with a new weekly tradition of mine, showing you what's cooking here in the press box for us media folk. Today's press box pregame menu, along with an obligatory rudimentary photo from my iPhone:

Baked rosemary chicken
Oven roasted potatoes
Seasonal vegetables & squashes
Market skirt beef steak with peppers & onions
House salad
Breakfast taco bar
Cakes & pies

9-13-press-box-food.jpg
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