The Houston Texans might just be the best team in the NFL. They sure looked like it on Sunday in Denver.
Houston jumped out to a 31-11 lead against the Broncos on Sunday, then withstood a late comeback attempt by Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to hold on and win 31-25.
Few teams in the NFL have the kind of balanced offense that the Texans have. Matt Schaub had four touchdown passes and Arian Foster went over 100 yards, and the Texans showed once again that they can beat teams through the air or on the ground. This offense is really, really good.
And the defense is good, too. The Texans bottled up Broncos running backs Wills McGahee, Lance Ball and Ronnie Hillman all day, and for most of the game they bottled up Manning, too.
However, no one is going to bottle up Manning all day. If anyone doubts that Manning can still play quarterback at a high level, those doubts should have been erased in the fourth quarter in Denver, when Manning marched the Broncos down the field and threw two touchdown passes. Questions were raised last week about Manning’s arm strength, but on Sunday Manning’s arm looked fine. He threw the ball well and had a particularly good pass to Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas in the end zone late in the fourth quarter, a pass that would have put the Broncos right back in the ball game except that Thomas couldn’t get his second foot down before stepping out of the back of the end zone.
Unfortunately, by the time Manning finally got the ball back with a chance to win the game, there were only 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and he was backed up on his own 14-yard line. That was too much to ask for even Manning.
Still, Manning and the Broncos still look like a good team, even with a 1-2 record. They just don’t look as good as the undefeated Texans.