Texans Take Down Manning; Locker and MJD lead Titans, Jags
By Steve Shackelford
Cold, Hard, Football Facts AFC South Beat Reporter
For the first time in franchise history, the Houston Texans are 3-0. Houston has a two game lead ahead of the Colts, Jaguars and Tians, all of whom sit at 1-2. If current trends continue, the Texans will have the division wrapped up by the first week of December.
1. The Texans are walking on water
Historically, Manning has been a Texan killer, posting a 16-2 record against Houston prior to the Texans' 31-25 victory in Denver.
Manning's record is now 0-1 when it comes to taking on this 2012 Texans squad primed for a Super Bowl appearance.
Quarterback Matt Schaub played brilliantly in Denver on Sunday, leading the Texans to their first-ever road victory over Manning.
Schaub completed 57 percent of his passes with 4 TDs, 290 yards, and 1 INT. Schaub was by far the better quarterback on display in Denver.
Manning and Co. attempted to mount a come-from-behind win over the Texans after falling to a 21-5 deficit, but Wade Phillips' defense proved to be too much to handle. Finishing first across the board, the Texans are primed to dominate every opponent they face in 2012.
2. Locker tames Lions
In a game that included a Hail Mary thrown by Shaun Hill to Titus Young, anything seemed possible. And that anything was an unlikely Tennessee Titans win. The Titans came away with a 44-41 victory on a Rob Bironas field goal in overtime. Bironas missed two regulation attempts, but converted when it counted.
Taming the Lions proved to be no easy task. Detroit clawed its way back with a 80-yd touchdown drive, then recovered the onside kick to set up their 46-yd Hail Mary.
Locker was the player of the game. He threw 378 yards, 2 TDs, and 8.3 YPA, by far his finest performance to date.
3. Jacksonville didn't totally stink for once
As Adam Vinatieri nailed a field goal with 56 seconds to go to give the Indianapolis Colts a 17-16 lead over the Jaguars, all appeared hopeless. Blaine Gabbert, however, wasn't going to let his team start 0-3; not after last week's embarrassing 117-yd total offensive output.
For the second time this season, Gabbert hit Cecil Shorts III with a big late-game play. Shorts and Gabbert connected late in their Week 1 game against the Minnesota Vikings. The Jaguars ended up losing to the Vikings 23-20 in OT, but history didn't repeat itself against the Colts.
Jacksonville snapped its losing streak with a 22-17 win, silencing the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd in Indianapolis with the game-winning 80-yd touchdown strike. Gabbert completed only three passes in the second half of this game, and failed to throw a touchdown prior to the Shorts score. Following the victory, the Jaguars joined the 1-2 club in the AFC South.
4. Colts unable to outrun Jaguars
Completing 66.6 percent of his passes, Andrew Luck couldn't get the job done against the miserable Jacksonville Jaguars. Defensively, the Jaguars are no powerhouse, and Luck should have been able to pick apart the struggling squad. However, after taking a 14-3 lead into halftime, the Colts and Luck couldn't put the ball in the end zone in the second half.
Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew burst out of the locker room with a 59-yd touchdown rush on the first play of the second half. Vinatieri missed a fourth quarter field goal that could have helped keep the game out of reach for the Jaguars.
5. Maurice Jones-Drew break franchise TD record
Through two games of the 2012 season, Maurice Jones-Drew failed to put a ball in the end zone, but that changed in Week 3. Breaking Fred Taylor's franchise rushing touchdown record of 63 scores, Jones-Drew torched the Colts on the first play of the second-half. MJD finished with 177 yards on 28 carries (6.4 YPA).
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