Vandermeer's View: Manufacturing a win


The Texans constructed a victory Sunday using an 'all hands on deck' mentality. Things weren't going well. The running game didn't work. In fact in went backwards for much of the afternoon. They lost the turnover battle. They gave up big plays. But they won.

As if put together with duct tape, spit and glue, Houston assembled more scores than the opponent to go to 3-1 and hang on to sole possession of first in the AFC South.

The turnovers came in weird fashion. DeAndre Hopkins losing a jump ball battle, Andre Johnson fumbling for the first time since Duane Brown was a rookie and a tipped pass at the line that no blue jersey could find.

And the running game was stuffed by the Bills talented front four. Give Bill O'Brien credit for sticking with it. It took amazing patience and enabled play action to occasionally spring a meaningful play. And while Arian Foster's numbers on the ground (8 carries, 6 yards) were horrifying, his receiving skills made a key difference with seven receptions for 55 yards.

E.J. Manuel was about to lead his team to perhaps a ten point lead early in the third quarter when his quick pass, intended for Fred Jackson, found the Juggs-Machine-trained hands of J.J. Watt who took it to the house for a lead the Texans wouldn't surrender. It was the latest highlight reel moment for one of the most celebrated players in the NFL.

Andre Johnson had six catches, left the game with an ankle injury and returned, later saying he'll be OK. Hopkins caught his third touchdown pass of the year and Randy Bullock connected on three had-to-have-them field goals including a career long 55 yarder.

There's always joy in winning yet the team will be busy trying patch up their mistakes this week. Few wins yield more questions than answers but there's plenty to chew on after this one. Why was it so hard to run? How can this squad play cleaner football when they have to put it up so many times?

The coaches have to diagnose and prescribe quickly as the road calls again. This week it's a trip to Arlington in a Lone Star showdown. Then a short week to prep for an even more important home date with the Colts. But, for now, you can exhale and acknowledge a start that should make us all very happy.

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