The Texans' defense enjoyed their best day of the season in a 29-6 pasting of Oakland that's bound to give the team some confidence as it gets ready to play four out of five on the road.
Glover Quin got the start at corner and looked up to the challenge. Bernard Pollard started after less than two weeks on the roster and proved to be the answer at safety. When Eugene Wilson gets back, he and Pollard might make the best safety tandem this team has seen.
Sure it was the Raiders, who look allergic to the forward pass, but the Texans will happily take it while understanding that winning means never having to say you're sorry.
The locals are a hard team to figure. In the who-played-who game, Houston lost to a 3-1 Jets team that has played a brutal schedule. They beat the Titans, who have gone 0-4 against teams that are a combined 10-6. They lost to a Jags team that lost a close one to the Colts on the road, fell to the Cards and beat the Titans soundly.
This much we know: Houston is running the football better. We already know they can throw it. The defense may have been terrible against the run for the first three games, but held the Raiders to 45 rushing yards.
Now the Texans will face the two best quarterbacks we have seen in visiting Kurt Warner and Carson Palmer in the next two weeks. The defense will face big tests as the offense cannot afford to squander opportunities.
The second half against the Raiders was a hard-headed attempt to run the ball, and the Texans had trouble staying on the field. If they had played with their usual quest for balance, they could have scored 40 points. The Brian Cushing safety and Jacoby Jones TD return provided a knockout punch that enabled the team to cruise.
But the next few weeks take the Texans through an NFL mine field that will determine what kind of season this will be. Yes, they have tied for the best start in team history, but there's still a feeling that 3-1 was achievable and they'll have to steal a make-good win along the way to accomplish their goals.