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Texans-Lions postgame notebook


The Texans won their second game in a row, beating the Detroit Lions 28-21. It was a banner day for the Texans' offense, which produced 404 yards, including 267 yards through the air.

'Dre quietly dominating: For the second consecutive game, the Texans' offensive game plan boiled down to getting Andre Johnson the ball. And for the second straight game, that plan worked. Johnson caught 11 passes for 141 yards, giving him 319 receiving yards in his last two outings.

"We've expanded his role a little bit because he is so confident right now," coach Gary Kubiak said. "We're moving him around a lot. We have to because people will game plan him if we leave him in one spot."

{QUOTE}Johnson was hardly predictable against Detroit, catching slants off his shoelaces and making big plays off of deep routes.

"He gives us a huge spark as a team because we know that if we can get the ball in his hands so many times, he's going to make some big plays for us and make people miss and be able to turn a five-yard completion into a 15-, 20-yard gain," said Matt Schaub, who finished with a quarterback rating of 124.1.

"As a quarterback, having that guy over there that we get one-on-one coverage (on), no matter what the route is, I can go his way and he is going to secure the catch and then do something with it after the catch."

The Lions ran single coverage on Johnson for most of the game, and Johnson made them pay. But Detroit isn't the only team to be burned by the wideout. Johnson has 450 receiving yards in October and ranks second in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage this month.

"He is the heart and soul of this place," Kubiak said. "He's one of the few guys that's been here from the start. He's a special player in the NFL and when he makes plays and plays at that level of play, then he raises everybody else."

What also separates Johnson from other receivers is his quiet approach to the game. Unlike his friend Chad Johnson or Terrell Owens might have been prone to do, 'Dre didn't use the media to complain about getting less touches at the beginning of the season.

"I can say that the first three games there was a lot of frustration, and things like that happen," Johnson, who is averaging 104.8 yards per game this season, said. "You know, I told myself right before the Indy game, I was like, 'No matter what happens, I'm going to put everything behind me and I'm going to start going back out there and have fun and whenever I get an opportunity, just make a play on it.' That has been my attitude since then and, you know, it's working out well for me."

Two TDs for OD: Tight end Owen Daniels got to the end zone for the first time this season, and he liked it so much there that he made a return visit. Daniels scored on a two-yard grab on the opening drive of the game and then hauled in a one-yard score in the third quarter.

"It feels good to get in there and help the team out by scoring some points," Daniels said. "Those were two well-designed plays that we executed pretty well and kind of made it look easy."

Daniels finished the game with six catches for 66 yards. He has been a first-down machine for the Texans this season, making most of his catches deep over the middle.

"He's played well, had a lot of catches, just hasn't gotten into the end zone," Kubiak said. "We made a couple of things for him today and he got in there. He's turned into a fine player. I really like the way he is playing off the line of scrimmage."

Kubiak has a lot to be pleased about. Daniels leads AFC tight ends in receptions and receiving yards with 29 catches for 374 yards.

Diled in on D: Linebacker Zac Diles has been making big-time plays in his first year as a starter. The second-year pro recorded an interception in Week 5 and has been one of the top tacklers on the team.

On Sunday, he made a statement behind the line of scrimmage, sacking quarterback Dan Orlovsky for a nine-yard loss. He also notched a quarterback hit and recorded two tackles for a loss. Diles tied the team lead with six total tackles, including five solos, and had a pass defensed.

One-two punch is rolling: The Texans finally look like they have a two-headed monster on the ground with Pro Bowler Ahman Green coming off the bench to spell rookie Steve Slaton.

Green put together his best game of the season, scoring his first touchdown since last November and rushing for 62 yards on 14 carries. The 11th-year pro burst through seams and found a higher gear.

Slaton continued to earn his keep as a starter. The rookie had 17 carries for 80 yards and touchdown. On the score, it looked like he would be dragged down before the end zone, but Slaton used his leg strength to punch the ball in for the score. It was his fifth touchdown this season. He's averaging 4.8 yards per carry.

The Texans are averaging 4.4 yards per carry and 120 yards rushing per game, which is the most since Kubiak became the head coach in 2006.

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