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Welcome (back) to respectability

Still glowing I see.

Typically on Tuesday, fans are supposed to erase whatever happened on Sunday and focus on next week.

That might be the best medicine during 2-14 and 6-10 seasons, but after what happened in Charlotte on Sunday, I think we should be given a mulligan along with permission to extend the warm and fuzzies for one more day.

And yes, welcome to respectability. It's officially arrived.

And for some of you, welcome back.

It's been since 1991 (remember the Ian Howfield game at Washington?) that a Houston NFL team started off the season 2-0. To put the time element into perspective, the last time Houston's NFL team was 2-0, this year's class of entering college freshmen was just out of diapers and watching some new TV show called Barney, singing I love you – you love me.

And this 2-0 is legit. And I love it.

I'm going to keep my optimism a bit guarded, because after all I am a Houston fan, but it feels good to finally have a team (again, for some of us) that you expect to win games. I don't expect a win over the Colts necessarily, but you know we can play with them and you know we can beat them.

This team has a winning attitude from the top down and much credit should be given to head coach Gary Kubiak and general manager Rick Smith for turning it around in a year.

Sunday at Carolina, I was hoping for the best, expecting somewhat less – and after 10 minutes of play in the first quarter I was having nightmarish visions of New England last year.

But this team is different. Just ask the players – and the coaches.

One of my favorite quotes from Sunday came from Kubiak. In team meetings Saturday night Kubiak told the team "we're on the road (and) if they start really fast, we don't panic. If we start fast, it's not good enough."

Those weren't just hollow words as the Texans walked the talk on Sunday. It's yet another example of the poise and confidence that seems to be taking hold inside the locker room and on the sideline.

This team and its fans are like the proverbial 98-pound weakling that has gotten sick and tired of people kicking sand in his face. Watch out bullies, we've been at the gym and we're coming after you.

Despite the Texans' disastrous start on Sunday, there were early signs that Matt Schaub and the offense would have some success.

On the Texans' third play of the game, Ahman Green ran for 11 yards on a third-and-10. Three plays later, Matt Schaub hit Andre Johnson over the middle for 13 yards on a 3rd and 6. That play, unfortunately, was wiped out by an illegal formation penalty.

The Texans' first 10 plays were accompanied by two costly penalties and a lost fumble – a terrible way to start a game on the road and expect to keep it close, much less win.

Indeed, the Texans dug a hole for themselves and let one of the league's best receivers make them look really bad until someone somewhere flipped a switch.

Shaking off a 14-0 deficit, the Texans responded to the Panthers' second touchdown with a lightning quick 3-play, 65-yard drive highlighted by two long receptions by Andre Johnson to cut the lead in half.

Get well soon Andre.

The Texans' defense responded by putting Dunta Robinson on Steve Smith, and by forcing the Panthers to go 3-and-out on their next drive.

And yes, for Carolina it was a pretty loud boom that preceded their nearly complete meltdown.

From the 3:48 point in the 1st quarter to the 7:53 mark in the 4th quarter the Panthers gained 77 net yards in 35 plays and scored no points. Their nine drives, if you can call them that, during that period ended like this: Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Fumble, Punt, Interception, Fumble, Punt.

Remember what I said last week about sharing the miseries of our past? Welcome to our world Charlotte. At least the world we lived in when we were 98 pounds dripping wet and getting sand kicked in our faces.

Before I forget, one of the most telling indicators that all is on the right track is the fact that Matt Schaub was sacked a grand total of zero times.

Much of the credit goes to Schaub for his quick reads and deliveries, but a lot of it goes to the offensive line that has been much maligned over the years for being porous, horrible, hideous, terrible, invisible, or whatever.

Yeah, it wasn't all the o-line's fault. Some of you need to finally accept that and move on.

But all was not perfect in Schaub-land.

For the second straight week, Schaub made a questionable decision when he tried to force a ball to Andre Johnson while in tight coverage. The ball appeared to be intercepted at first, but was overturned by review thanks to some alert Texans players.

That play could have had a devastating effect (even on these new-and-improved Texans) as it came on the 10th play of a 16-play drive with the Texans trailing by a touchdown. It turned out to be a key turning point in the game.

After the Texans held the Panthers to a 3-and-out to open the second half, they scored two touchdowns in 3:44 to put the game out of reach.

Last but not least, Amobi Okoye gets kudos for his breakout game. Amobi has been relatively quiet up to this point, but it's obvious he's been watching and learning and it's only a matter of time before we see this talented young man become a real difference maker with his penetration skills.


  • Sage Rosenfels, Fred Bennett, and Mike Flanagan were active but did not play on Sunday.
  • Andre Davis, Dexter Wynn, Samkon Gado, Zac Diles, Chris White, Kasey Studdard, Rashad Butler, and Travis Johnson were the inactives.
  • The Texans' run defense held DeAngelo Williams and DeShaun Foster to 53 yards on 17 carries.
  • Matt Turk showed he has touch in addition to power on Sunday, landing two 4th quarter punts inside the two-yard line.
  • The Texans continued their time of possession domination this week with a 9-minute advantage over the Panthers. Getting up by 17 in the 3rd quarter and coasting is certainly something we're not used to and sometimes that can backfire, but the way the defense has been playing, it's been an okay strategy. I have a feeling that won't work against the Colts.
  • For you stats freaks, here's a few that will make you happy through Week 2 – pending the outcome of the Monday night game.
*   Andre Johnson is 4th in the NFL in receiving yards 
*   Dunta Robinson is tied for the league lead in interceptions 
*   Mario Williams and Amobi Okoye are tied for 5th in sacks with a bunch of players 
*   Matt Schaub is 5th in the league in passer rating (at least 40 attempts) 
*   The Texans are 5th in the league in rushing defense and 10th overall 
  • Are the Steelers' yellow helmets about the most hideous things you've ever seen? And I thought the Titans' helmets were ugly. You can contact Alan Burge at
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