Houston Texans Remain Undefeated Behind J.J. Watt In Win Over Jets
Watt and the Texans defense held Mark Sanchez to just 230 passing yards and intercepted the Jets quarterback twice on the night—including once following a tipped ball by Watt.
The NFL's sack leader proved to be a one man wrecking crew with six tackles-- including one for a loss, three passes defended and a sack to bring his total to 8.5 for the year.
Arian Foster powered the Texans offense with 152 yards on the ground, including a 46-yard run in the first quarter and reached a career milestone of 5,000 total yards from scrimmage, needing only 40 games to do so—the third-fastest player to reach the mark.
With an 17.5-point average margin of victory going into the Meadowlands, the Texans were expected to blow out a Jets team that had been embarrassed at home 34-0 by the 49ers just one week before.
But the Jets (2-3) refused to be pushed down this week and never allowed the Texans to lead by more than 13 points.
Leading 7-0 in the first quarter, Matt Schaub was driving the Texans near midfield when he was intercepted by Antonio Cromartie on a throw intended for Andre Johnson.
Playing with a short field, Sanchez hooked up with Jeff Cumberland for a 27-yard strike in what would be the Jets lone offensive touchdown on the night.
After a Foster touchdown that made the it 14-7 in favor of Houston, Sanchez nearly connected with Cromartie on a long pass, but Sanchez’s throw was off the mark preventing a big gain on the play.
Late in the second quarter, Sanchez would have the Jets in a position to tie the game deep in the red zone when his pass was deflected by a leaping Watt and intercepted by Brice McCain who ran the ball back 85 yards, setting up a Texans field goal.
After another Texans field goal early in the third quarter, the Jets special teams would immediately strike back, with former USC running back Joe McKnight returning the kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Houston lead to 20-14.
The two teams would exchange field goals and the Jets would have a chance to take the lead on a drive that started with 3:28 left on the clock. But the drive was stopped short after a pass by Sanchez that was intended for Cumberland, ended up tipped by the receiver and into the hands of the Texans’ Kareem Jackson.
Houston wound the clock down to just four seconds before giving the ball back to the Jets, and Sanchez’s last-ditch attempt was swatted away by Watt the end the game.
Schaub drove the Texans 85 yards in the Texans first drive of the game that ended with a touchdown toss to tight end Owen Daniels, but was largely out of rhythm the rest of the game, completing just 14 of 28 passes for 209 yards—easily his worst outing of the season.
The victory appeared to come at a huge cost to the Texans, with middle linebacker and USC alum Brian Cushing suffering what appeared to be torn ACL midway through the second quarter after he was cut down from behind by Jets guard Matt Slauson on a play away from the ball.
Cushing, who is a team captain and largely considered the heart of the Texans' "Bulls on Parade" defense, will be further evaluated with an MRI this morning in Houston, but was seen on crutches following the game.
The Texans are entering a difficult stretch of the their schedule that includes the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens, the latter of which eliminated the Texans from the playoffs last season.
They may not have a Tim Tebow, but with Watt on the field, the Texans are suddenly finding a lot of believers of their own.