|Other Week 5 Game Recaps|
|ATL at SF||CIN at BAL||CLE at BUF||DAL at KC||HOU at ARI||IND at TEN||JAX at SEA||MIN at STL|
|NE at DEN||NYJ at MIA||OAK at NYG||PIT at DET||TB at PHI||WAS at CAR|
Week 5 Game Recap: Houston Texans 21, Arizona Cardinals 28
|QB Matt Schaub, Pass: 35 - 50 - 371 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 5 - 0|
Sunday's game against the Cardinals was a tale of two halves for Schaub. In the first half, Schaub was under constant pressure and forced to throw on the move a significant amount of the time. On the first snap of the game, Schaub fumbled the snap, perhaps an omen of things to come. Left tackle Eric Winston had a bevy of problems keeping the blitz at bay which led to Schaub being flushed from the pocket to the right side on a regular basis. In the event that Schaub did complete a throw, it was often for minimal gain. In short, both Schaub and the Texans offense looked woefully out of sync in the first half. The second half was a different story all together. Schaub began getting time in the pocket and as a result found a number of receivers wide open all over the field. He completed 14 passes of more then 10 yards (11 in the second half). Schaub was most successful on comeback and crossing routes between 10 and 20 yards downfield. On one drive in the 4th quarter, Schaub took the Texans from their own 24 to a touchdown on the back of 7 passes in an 8 play drive that took only four minutes off the clock. Schaub's lone mistake in the second half was a big one: he delivered a pass intended for Kevin Walter on a short out pattern to the right side of the field as the Texans looked to tie the game, but the pass was intercepted by Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie and returned for a touchdown. Up until the pick, Schaub had completed 11 straight passes. Schaub had one more crack at a comeback and navigated the Texans to a first and goal situation from the 6 yard line. He quickly completed a screen pass to running back Steve Slaton who was stopped just short of the goalline. The Texans elected to run the ball on 2nd and 4th down (Schaub threw an incompletion on 3rd down) and were stopped both times, essentially ending the game.
|RB Steve Slaton, Rush: 13 - 39 - 0, Rec: 6 - 59 - 0 (6 targets)|
Steve Slaton still struggles to find room to run. Against the Cardinals, he was once again tasked with trying to find space between the tackles that simply wasn't there. His longest run came on a sweep around the right side on first down. His next longest run came two plays later on a sweep around the left side. Otherwise, Slaton was met by a mass of defenders on most every touch. A more telling note for fantasy owners is that Slaton has started to dance behind the line of scrimmage on some runs rather then hitting the hole quickly. Furthermore, it was Chris Brown and not Slaton who received the Texans' carries at the goalline. Slaton had much more success in the passing game, racking up a number of 5 to 10 yard receptions to go with a 23 yard gain in which he found open space on the left side of the field and accelerated for yardage before being pushed out of bounds by Antrel Rolle. He also had a 13 yard reception in the 4th quarter that set up Andre Johnson's second touchdown of the day.
|RB Chris Brown, Rush: 4 - 2 - 1, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets)|
Chris Brown found his way back in to the Texans lineup and was used often as a blocker on passing downs. He also received 3 goalline carries for the Texans, converting his first goalline touch for a score. Unfortunately, Brown was stopped on both 2nd and 4th down from the Cardinals one yard line, ending the Texans' chances to tie the game. On both carries, Brown cleanly took the handoff and hit the line at full speed only to find no hole existed for him to run through. Brown also had one reception while giving Slaton a breather.
|RB Vonta Leach, Rec: 3 - 31 - 0 (3 targets)|
Vonta Leach split time with Chris Brown on passing downs when Steve Slaton was not in the game. Leach caught three screen passes out of the backfield, two of which he turned up the field for solid gains before being pushed out of bounds.
|RB Ryan Moats|
After playing an integral part in last week's game, Ryan Moats did not have a carry in week 5. If Chris Brown is out of Gary Kubiak's doghouse, then Moats isn't likely to earn much playing time.
|WR Andre Johnson, Rec: 8 - 101 - 2 (14 targets)|
Despite being one of the best receivers in the NFL, Andre Johnson still continues to find a way to get wide open in the Texans passing game. Johnson had another productive game Sunday against the Cardinals, catching 8 balls for 101 yards including a 17 yard touchdown and an 11 yard touchdown. Johnson appears to be most productive between the hashmarks when he finds space between the linebackers and the safeties. On his 17 yard touchdown reception, Johnson bounced off of two-defenders before powering across the goalline. The Cardinals rotated three different corners (McFadden, Rolle, and Rodgers-Cromartie) on to Johnson but none of them were able to regularly contest the passes that came his way. When the ball was on target, Johnson would make the reception and usually found yards after the catch. Quarterback Matt Schaub actually looked to Johnson on short routes more then normal against the Cardinals but was only able to complete about half of his passes to Johnson under 10 yards. Johnson was badly overthrown on one deep ball as well.
|WR Kevin Walter, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 4 - 37 - 0 (6 targets)|
Walter was only able to get open for modest gains against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and he was the target on the ill-fated pass that DRC took to the house to beat the Texans. Walter also got a carry on an end around in the red zone, but he wasn't able to even get back to the line of scrimmage.
|WR David Anderson, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (4 targets)|
David Anderson received all of his snaps out of the slot and was able to catch three balls for 32 yards against the Cardinals. Schaub looked to Anderson on 2nd and 3rd down when the Cardinals had rotated a safety to Andre Johnson's side of the field, leaving Anderson in single-coverage for short routes. Anderson had a key reception on 3rd and 8 that set up Andre Johnson's first touchdown. Anderson caught the ball on a quick toss to the right side and barreled ahead for a 15 yard gain before being brought down. Anderson appears to be the clear third wide-receiver in the Texans offense (ahead of Jacoby Jones).
|WR Jacoby Jones, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets)|
Jones once again showed that his real value to the Texans is as a kick returner. He received a punt and, after waiting for a second or two for his blocks to develop, darted up the left side of the field for 63 yards before being run out of bounds. Jones also had one reception for 4 yards when the Texans were in a five wide set. With the return of Kevin Walter, however, Jones doesn't have much value except in leagues that award points for return yardage.
|TE Owen Daniels, Rec: 8 - 94 - 0 (10 targets)|
Owen Daniels was targeted on a number of three step drops for short gains against the Cardinals. With the exception of one completion on a deep ball and one incompletion on a deep pass, Daniels was targeted when the Cardinals had rolled an extra defender to both Kevin Walter and Andre Johnson, leaving the short-field between the hashmarks open for Daniels. Daniels' quickness was a difficult matchup for the Cardinals linebackers. Unfortunately, he was unable to gain much yardage after the catch on his short receptions. Daniels was kept in close to the offensive line on most of Steve Slaton's interior runs but was unable to help the Texans get much push at the line of scrimmage.
|QB Kurt Warner, Pass: 26 - 38 - 302 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 0 - 0|
Kurt Warner had another fantastic game, throwing for two touchdowns to Larry Fitzgerald in the 2nd quarter. Warner also had another first half toss to Anquan Boldin to inside the Texans 5, but Boldin fumbled the ball. On Warner's second touchdown toss to Fitzgerald, he showed magnificent touch -- Fitzgerald ran a deep post to the right pylon from the Houston 26. Warner tossed the ball over two defenders, leading Fitzgerald straight to paydirt. Warner was a very efficient 26/38 spreading the ball to four different receivers all over the field. In the first half, Warner favored deep tosses to Steve Breaston, Fitzgerald, and Boldin before the Cardinals went to an extremely conservative passing game in the 2nd half, trying only three passes more then 8 yards down the field (one of which was caught for 24 yards but overturned due to a penalty). The Texans' defense tried a variety of looks against the Cardinals but were largely unable to pressure the quarterback and cover all three receivers at the same time. Only when Warner began focusing on shorter routes did the Texans begin to have success in stopping the Cardinals' drives.
|RB Tim Hightower, Rush: 6 - 17 - 1, Rec: 5 - 30 - 0 (5 targets)|
Hightower started the game on fire, carrying six times in the Cardinals first drive (with a touchdown) as Arizona took advantage of the Texans' overplaying for the pass. For the rest of the game, he split touches with rookie Chris Wells but was still able to make an impact as a receiver out of the backfield, catching 5 balls for 30 yards. Hightower showed good burst in the open field but his statline for the day as a rusher was done in by a number of short/negative carries after his first series.
|RB Chris Wells, Rush: 7 - 24 - 0|
Wells led the Cardinals with 7 carries and managed a respectable 24 yards, but he did not show consistent burst to the line of scrimmage on many of his carries. Furthermore, outside of a handful of downs where he blocked for Kurt Warner in the shotgun, Wells did not see much time on the field in passing situations. He continues to develop as a runner but will need to show more consistency in each carry in addition to learning to trust his linemen with opening the hole in the right place.
|WR Anquan Boldin, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 7 - 81 - 0 (12 targets)|
Kurt Warner's first pass was a 20 yard throw to a streaking Anquan Boldin against corner Eugene Wilson. On the Cardinals' second drive, Boldin was targeted near the goalline on a short slant on the right side for the field, but he fumbled as he was wrapped up fighting for extra yardage. Boldin was targeted the rest of the game on shorter routes and no doubt is still one of Kurt Warner's favorite targets. Boldin played a very physical game against Houston, catching a number of balls as he was simultaneously being wrapped up by Eugene Wilson, Bernard Pollard, or Brian Cushing. Nonetheless, he fought for yards after contact and outside of the fumble at the Texans' 5, he played a very good game. Boldin was targeted often in the no-huddle offense by Warner and his success in the early going helped spring Larry Fitzgerald loose on his first touchdown.
|WR Larry Fitzgerald, Rec: 5 - 79 - 2 (6 targets)|
Fitzgerald had another stellar game against the Texans, springing loose for two touchdowns on back to back possessions in the first half. His second touchdown came in triple coverage on a deep-post to the front left pylon that Fitzgerald caught in stride before changing direction to lunge across the goalline. Fitzgerald was targeted primarily on mid-range and deep routes. He also had a 24 yard reception called back due to holding on the other side of the field. After an exciting first half, Fitzgerald only had two targets in the second half as the Cardinals moved to a more conservative passing attack, favoring short passes to Boldin and Urban over deep balls to Fitzgerald.
|WR Jerheme Urban, Rec: 4 - 41 - 0 (5 targets)|
Urban played as the fourth receiver in the Cardinals offense and was targeted on downs when the Texans did not have an extra defensive back on the field. He caught 4 passes for 41 yards, all on 1st or 2nd down when the defense had rotated extra coverage to Larry Fitzgerald or when the Texans were showing blitz while Warner was in the shotgun. Urban continues to show solid hands and route running, making it more likely that the Cardinals will continue running 4-wide sets in the future.
|WR Steve Breaston, Rec: 4 - 66 - 0 (6 targets)|
Breaston had another solid game as the Cardinals third receiver, catching 4 passes for 66 yards. Breaston was targeted three times on deep balls by Kurt Warner when he was in "man" coverage, catching one ball on the run for 22 yards. Breaston was left in on many running downs as well and even though the Cardinals did not run the ball to the outside often, Breaston was an enthusiastic blocker when called upon.
|TE Anthony Becht, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)|
Becht had one reception for 5 yards against the Texans but was also called for a crucial offensive holding penalty on what would have been a long Larry Fitzgerald reception. Becht stayed in to block when the Cardinals ran the ball and helped double-team Mario Williams when Kurt Warner dropped back to pass. Even though it didn't show on the stat-line, Becht had a very productive game as a blocker.