Eagles Soar Past Texans

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September 10, 2006
Eagles Soar Past Texans

by Dave Sabo

The Kubiak Era in Houston started off with a bang as the Texans took the opening kickoff and marched 77 yards for a touchdown, stunning the visiting Eagles.

Things pretty much fizzled from there.

Held to a lone field goal the rest of the way, Houston dropped the season opener to Philadelphia, 24-10.

Leading 7-0 behind the precision passing of quarterback David Carr, the Texans forced a quick punt on the Eagles’ first possession and registered, courtesy of defensive back Jason Simmons, the first pick of the season off of Donovan McNabb. Unfortunately, they couldn’t convert any of that good fortune into points.

Four minutes into the second quarter, McNabb and the Eagles settled down to tie the score. McNabb connected with Donte Stallworth, recently acquired by the Eagles from the Saints, for a 42-yard scoring strike on a gorgeous play fake that left the Texans defense completely fooled.

The Texans then seemed to close out the first half with a 10-7 lead following a 69-yard drive highlighted by a 44-yard completion from Carr to Andre Johnson. The offense couldn’t move forwards from there, and Kris Brown at least salvaged points on the drive thanks to a 34-yard field goal conversion.

While the Texans appeared to be heading into the locker room, Philadelphia drove 80 yards in less than a minute to claim their first lead of the afternoon. Two long completions to Stallworth set the Eagles up at Houston’s 5-yard line. As the Texans desperately tried to call timeout, McNabb hit receiver Reggie Brown for a score and a 14-10 lead.

Unhindered by any sort of pressure from the Texans’ front seven, McNabb opened up the third quarter by driving the Eagles 75 yards and racking up his third touchdown pass of the day. He flipped a dump pass to running back Brian Westbrook, who rambled 31 yards for the score.

A promising drive by the Texans was snuffed out by an all-too-familiar long third down sack with just under eight minutes left in the quarter. From there, the Eagles played ball control offense, dominating time of possession, 25:34 to 4:53.

Following a 42-yard David Akers field goal, the Texans had an opportunity to climb back into the game mid-way through the fourth quarter, but the drive stalled at the Eagles 17 after Carr was ruled out of bounds on a third down scramble that would have left Houston with first-and-10 inside the Eagles 15-yard line. Instead, on fourth-and-4, Carr’s pass was batted down for a turnover on downs.

The Eagles then held the ball for the final 8:53 and claimed a season-opening win. The 0-1 Texans will next take to the road to try for their first win in nine tries against the Colts.

What Went Right?

Warm Up the Carr While it certainly won’t get him invited to Canton, Carr’s performance on Sunday should quiet the haters… for a week at least. Carr threw for 208 yards and a touchdown on 18 of 27 passing. He appeared more comfortable and poised than he did at times during the preseason.

Perfect Pair of Hands The beneficiaries of Carr’s performance were numbers 1 and 2 receivers, Andre Johnson and Eric Moulds, who each caught six balls for 101 and 68 yards, respectively. If the “Gulf Coast Offense” is going to succeed, Johnson and Moulds will have to put up numbers consistently.

Protecting the Rock While the Texans only got the one turnover on Simmons’ pick, they’re plus one in turnover differential thanks to the quick reactions of OG Steve McKinney hustling after WR Kevin Walter’s fumble. It was plays like that the Texans would quit on last season.

What Went Wrong?

Stonewalled The running game was virtually non-existent. Subtract Carr’s 4 scrambles for 25 yards and the Texans rushed for 45 yards on 16 carries, a paltry 2.8 yard average. The Reggie Bush gloss will be intolerable.

Under Pressure So much for the improved O-line play. The line and Carr are on an early pace to allow 80 sacks this season. Most of the five sacks given up versus the Eagles were on jailbreaks.

Air Raid Warning McNabb just sat in the pocket all afternoon and waited for his receivers to separate. The few times he was pressured, he fired off quick passes to receivers that always had a step on their defender. And, when he was forced to alter his throws, Stallworth made circus catches. Just a bad day all around for the pass defense.

Key Play Of The Game

Looking ahead into halftime with a 3 point lead, the Texans brought heavy pressure into the offensive backfield. McNabb just gets a wobbly pass off… that Donte Stallworth turns into a beautiful reception. With first-and-10 at the Texans’ 5, the Eagles scored a play later and never look back in the game.

Week 1 Game photo caption. Final Score Houston Texans 10 Philadelphia Eagles 24 Lookin’ Good

DeMeco Ryans
The second round pick set a team record for tackles by a rookie with 12. Ryans was all over the place and a bright spot on an otherwise dismal day.

Oh, my eyes!

Wali Lundy
32 yards on 11 carries. I guess you CAN’T throw anybody behind that zone blocking scheme and rush for 100 yards. Morency wasn’t any better with his 13 yards on 5 carries.

2006 Schedule Date Opponent Result 08.12 Kansas City 24-14 08.19 St. Louis 27-20 08.27 at Denver 14-17 08.31 Tampa Bay 16-13 Regular Season 09.10 Philadelphia 10-24 09.17 at Indianapolis 24-43 09.24 Washington 15-31 10.01 Miami 17-15 10.08 BYE — 10.15 at Dallas 6-34 10.22 Jacksonville 27-7 10.29 at Tennessee 22-28 11.05 at NY Giants 10-14 11.12 at Jacksonville 13-10 11.19 Buffalo 21-24 11.26 at NY Jets 11-26 12.03 at Oakland 23-14 12.10 Tennessee 20-26 12.17 at New England 7-40 12.24 Indianapolis 27-24 12.31 Cleveland 14-6   Overall Record 6-10