Fortunately, Houston had their first Monday Night Football game in the team’s short seven-year history scheduled based on their 2007 performance, and it was against the Jacksonville Jaguars, a playoff team from last year that gave a mighty scare to the New England Patriots. It was supposed to have been a high interest game that might determine playoff seeding. Instead, with both teams coming in at 4-7, and out of playoff contention in the AFC, it was just a game for pride.
The Texans wore their all-red uniforms for what has been an annual tradition known as Battle Red Day. Once again, the uniforms, though a bit odd for the NFL paid off, as Houston blasted the hapless Jags 30-17. With the win they go to 5-7 on the season, while Jacksonville falls to 4-8, and in last place in the AFC South.
Needless to say, it was an ecstatic Coach Gary Kubiak who addressed the media in the team’s auditorium after the big win. “I know our prevent at the end was a little suspect, but our defense played very well and gave us opportunities. It was a team effort, everybody was ready to play, and we were flying around. It wasn’t easy. We struggled trying to put them away, but we found a way to do it late.”
“This is a special group. I go back to the first of the season, not only the tough schedule, but also going through the Mother Nature issue. It was very difficult. I’ve been in some situations with some other teams, and some teams never come out of that. These guys keep working. That’s why they’re going to get there someday. There’s never been an issue with them how they go about their business, how hard they work. My hat is off to them. We kind of started slow, but we bounced back for a couple of weeks. We’re just looking forward to the last month of the season.”
The biggest reason the team has had some success in recent weeks is the emergence of rookie running back Steve Slayton. He was drafted to be a third down back, and no one in the Texans organization had any idea he could be the every down back who’d carry his team. Slayton felt all along he possessed the skills to do just that, and he’s proven he was correct on his thoughts. He was asked about that following his 130-yard plus rushing effort after the game.
“My mom and dad were here tonight. It was their first trip down here. It was really special for me. I felt that any situation they put me in, I could play. I just wanted to prove to everybody that I could do that.”
Slayton has been the big surprise in what otherwise has been a less than stellar season. Houston will need him running at full speed again Sunday, as they travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers. It’s always tough to play in the “frozen tundra” in the winter, but the challenge will be particularly tough this weekend, as the Packers will be fighting for a chance to remain in the playoff hunt. The Texans are hoping to help put those Green Bay thoughts “on ice.” It should be the recipe for a good football game.