First Look: Houston

"First Look" is Bucsblitz.com's premium scouting article for each week's opponent. No one gets you information quicker on the Buccaneers' upcoming opponent, along with updates throughout the week. Today, go inside Houston's loss to Tennessee and see how it could affect its game against Tampa Bay on Sunday.

When the Texans used the first pick in the 2006 draft on defensive end Mario Williams, he did not guarantee he would lead the NFL in sacks or set sack records.

Williams didn't even promise to set the team record, but that's what happened in Sunday's 28-20 loss to the Titans. Williams sacked Vince Young 2 1/2 times, giving him 8 1/2 and breaking Jeff Posey's record of eight set in 2002.

"It's nice, a great achievement so far, but what happens with the team's the most important thing," Williams said. "This isn't about individual performance."

Williams' performance was one of the few positive things to come out of Sunday's game.

"He got the team record today, and he needs 1 1/2 to reach 10," defensive end N.D. Kalu said. "He's got four games to do it. I think when a defensive end gets 10 sacks, that's like a running back getting 1,000 yards.

"Mario's playing the run well. When you watch tape of our games, you can see he's been getting pressure on the quarterback even when he doesn't get a sack."

When the Texans passed up Young and running back Reggie Bush, Williams promised to get after both players when he had the chance. He didn't get to Young when they were rookies last season. Young missed the Titans' 38-36 victory at Reliant Stadium this season.

Sunday, Williams and Young showed why they were taken first and third in the draft. Williams had seven tackles, including four unassisted. Young was 21 of 31 for 248 yards and two touchdowns. He threw one interception.

"He's really been working hard in practice and in the film room, and it paid off today," defensive end Anthony Weaver said. "Sacks can come from coverage or pressure up the middle, but in the end, it still takes special talent to get the quarterback. That's what Mario's got."

Defensive tackle Travis Johnson, who has been one of Williams' biggest promoters this season, was impressed with Sunday's performance.

"I hope this is another type of game for him that'll help get people off his back," Johnson said. "I just wish we could have won. He does, too.

"I hope people realize Mario's a great player. He's just starting to realize how good he is."

Williams' seven tackles were more than any defensive lineman playing Sunday, including the Titans.

"He plays hard," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's out there every snap. I think he's played over 95 percent of our snaps, which is unbelievable for a defensive end."

To Williams' credit, he didn't want to talk about his sacks after the game. He didn't want to talk about the record. He preferred to talk about what the Texans need to do to win after losing to the Browns and Titans the past two weeks.

"We have to stop making the mistakes," he said. "We all have to take a step back and look at one another and be hard on ourselves and try to correct these things that are going on."

The Titans tried different things to combat Williams as he moved from left to right end and back. They doubled him and used a back to chip on him.

"He works so hard," said middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who had a game-high 14 tackles. "You can tell he's getting more comfortable with what he's doing. His sacks are up. His tackles are up.

"I don't care what anybody says, he's playing really well right now."

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Texans were able to contain Albert Haynesworth, who returned after missing the last three games with an injury. He lined up against Chester Pitts for the majority of the game and finished with just two tackles.

"I wouldn't say he was moving very slow because every inch of my body hurts and that's what it took to stop him," Pitts said. "He's a very good player. I just feel like coaching scheme-wise, we just did a good job. Granted, he didn't show up on the stat sheet a lot. He never really does, but that's because he's disruptive. He turns back plays. Someone else makes the tackle, but it's because he had penetration."

--Haynesworth lined up along with many of the Texans players to offer their best wishes to Texans guard Fred Weary after he was immobilized with a broken leg.

Haynesworth and Weary played college football together at Tennessee and have remained close friends.

"I didn't see what happened but a couple players told me what happened," Haynesworth said. "I told him to keep his head up. He was having probably his best year this year. He was playing really, really good. So hopefully he can come back next year and start where he left off.

"It is (tough to go back to work after that), but it's part of the game."

--Wide receiver Andre Johnson traveled to Miami on Monday to attend the funeral of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor. Johnson was a good friend of Taylor's ever since the two played at Miami together.

Taylor passed away Tuesday from a gunshot wound he suffered during a burglary at his home Monday.

PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

--CB Fred Bennett continues to show that he is making progress. He picked off a pass by Vince Young, giving Bennett his third interception in the last four games. He also had five tackles against the Titans. "Fred's been doing a good job for us," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "He's a young guy who's playing well. He's coming into his own. He's learning and he's getting better and better. He's going to be a shutdown corner in this league.

--RB Ahman Green (knee) will practice this week and the coaches will decide if he will start playing or be placed on IR. Because of all the recent injuries, the Texans cannot continue to waste a roster spot on Green, who has now missed six starts and has yet to finish a game.

--G Mike Brisiel is expected to be signed to the 53-man roster. He will compete for the starting right guard job. He has spent the past two seasons on the Texans practice squad.

--QB Matt Schaub (dislocated left shoulder) is still uncertain whether he will be able to play again this season. The Texans plan to keep him on the roster as they continue to do tests. They hope he can return in another couple of weeks.

--G Kasey Studdard will also compete for the starting right guard job. He spent his entire college career playing left guard, and will try to make a quick move to the right side.

--G/T Brandon Frye will take repetitions at right guard as well this week. He was converted from tackle to guard recently. He has yet to be activated for a game this season.

REPORT CARD VS. TITANS

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Matt Schaub suffered a dislocated left shoulder after leading the Texans to a touchdown on the opening drive of the game. He has now left four games early and missed one start. The Texans are still uncertain if he will return this season. Sage Rosenfels took over and threw one touchdown pass and one interception. He kept the Texans within reach of the game. Andre Johnson had another big day with nine catches for 116 yards, but Andre' Davis and Kevin Walter combined for just two catches and 20 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C-plus -- Ron Dayne had another great workmanlike performance with 18 carries for 86 yards. He has produced the past four weeks. The Texans steered away from the running game for much of the second half. Dayne also rolled his ankle at one point in the game, and will rest it some this week. He added the first touchdown of the game with a one-yard run on the opening series.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- Mario Williams sacked Vince Young 2 1/2 times, giving him a team record 8 1/2 sacks. He also added seven tackles. The defensive line overall has been struggling though. The Texans didn't play the run well and didn't get much pressure on Vince Young. Fred Bennett had his third interception in four weeks, but he and Von Hutchins were beaten on touchdown passes. They let Young have too good of a day throwing the ball.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Texans struggled against the run for the second time this season against Tennessee. LenDale White has his best days against the Texans. He carried the ball 12 times for 60 yards and had one touchdown. Chris Brown also added a touchdown on 11 carries for 46 yards. The Titans overall had 153 rushing yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- The Texans just aren't getting enough production from their special teams. While Kris Brown was successful on field goals of 45 and 50 yards, rookie Jacoby Jones muffed a punt in the fourth quarter that cost them a touchdown. He was trying to make a big play when he should have signaled for a fair catch. P Matt Turk had six punts for an average of 41.5 yards, with one landing inside the 20.

COACHING: D -- The Texans are coming out of halftime every week terribly. They haven't scored a third-quarter touchdown since Week 2. They are steering away from the run game too quickly as well. The defense is getting burned in the revamped secondary and is struggling against the run -- a Texans' strength earlier in the season.


Bucs Blitz Top Stories