It was pretty in the beginning then turned out to be merely acceptable. That's a pretty accurate evaluation of the Texans' win over Detroit on Sunday. But this isn't a beauty contest or the BCS. A win is a precious thing, and we're not going to complain about it or apologize because it was against an inferior opponent. Right?
Sure, there were some too-tense moments in the final quarter that intruded on what started out as a stressless scrimmage.
The Good: Seemless construction of a 21-0 lead
The Bad: Schaub fumbling a possession away before the half that could have shot the lead to 28-3.
The Ugly: Petey Faggins getting beat on a 96-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson. After getting pulled, his replacement, Fred Bennett, got flagged 15 yards for piling on a tackle after the play was over. That mishap aided a drive that resulted in a field goal, cutting the lead to seven and turning a beautiful autumn afternoon into a pressure cooker.
As with most of the games this year, the mistakes are correctable. The Texans have yet to play their best game. Maybe it's a good thing. The Texans will need to play better if they're going to beat the Bengals. And even better than that to win on the road against Minnesota.
They are in an unfamiliar stretch here in that they could be favored for five games in a row. It's hard for some to phathom the Texans as the "hunted" but to the likes of Miami, Detroit, Cincinnati, Minnesota and Baltimore, they are.
The Texans have a ton of talent on offense. This could have been a huge stats game for them but they sputtered a bit in the second half. The stomach virus may be gone, but the turnover bug is still in the building. Still, 28 points is not exactly anemic.
But it's on defense where they really need to put things together. A total of eight sacks though six games is not what Richard Smith had in mind. And the big plays by Calvin Johnson and Kevin Smith threw a sour note into the mix.
Yet, the Texans should still stick their chests out after this one. Winning is brutally tough in this league, and they now have a chance to grab three in a row for the first time ever. They have to do it. The 0-4 start has given them no margin for error.