Broncos
Texans
13 - 31 Final
  for this game

Texans keep alive playoff hopes, down Broncos

Dec 14, 2007 - 6:42 AM By Ted Dunham PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- With their playoff hopes hanging by a thread, the Houston Texans had little problem handing coach Gary Kubiak his first win over mentor Mike Shanahan.

Sage Rosenfels accounted for two touchdowns and the Texans used a strong second-half rushing performance from Ron Dayne to keep alive their postseason hopes with a 31-13 win over the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.

Houston (7-7) barely is afloat in the AFC playoff race, sitting 1 1/2 games behind the Cleveland Browns (8-5) for the final spot. The Tennessee Titans (7-6) and Buffalo Bills (7-6) also are in the running.

The Bills take on the Browns in Cleveland on Sunday, while the Titans visit the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kubiak served under Shanahan in Denver for 11 seasons from 1995-2005 as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach before taking the Texans' coaching position on January 26, 2006.

Shanahan's congratulatory gesture to Kubiak after Thursday's game was short and sweet.

"I just said 'Hey, great job,'" Shanahan said. "'You got your team ready to play. You outplayed and outcoached us.' You have to give a lot of credit to Houston to come out in the second half and control the tempo of the game and run the ball extremely well. They did a much better job of stopping the run than we did running the football."

Kubiak was just grateful to emerge with a victory.

"It wouldn't matter who the win was against," Kubiak said. "The key is that the Texans got a big win tonight. I have so much respect for Mike (and) that whole organization.

"There's a lot of faces over there I've been through many games with. I was thinking today that Mike and I - as a player and coach - have been in over 350 NFL games. That's a lot of ball, and I'll always have a lot of respect for what he does."

Rosenfels helped Houston build an early 7-0 lead with the first rushing score of his career. He was a perfect 4-of-4 on the Texans' game-opening drive, which put the team in position for its third consecutive TD drive to open a contest.

After faking a handoff to running back Darius Walker on the opening series, the reserve quarterback - who was making his second straight start for an injured Matt Schaub - beat Denver's defense as he rolled out to the left side and outraced the Broncos to the end zone for a five-yard TD.

With the Texans holding a slim 10-6 lead, Dayne extended the advantage when he capped a nine-play, 74-yard drive - the club's first of the second half - with six-yard scoring run up the middle.

Dayne, who did not record a carry in the first half, finished with 11 for 67 yards.

"Ron did a great job," Rosenfels said. "When you can run the ball, it's a great feeling. It just opens up so many other things."

Following Denver's scoring drive at the end of the third quarter, Rosenfels dashed the Broncos' hopes of gaining ground in the AFC playoff race when he found Andre Johnson in the end zone for his only touchdown pass of the contest to push the advantage to 24-13 with 10:06 remaining.

"To win on a short week (is good)," Rosenfels said. "We had some people banged up - (linebacker) DeMeco Ryans, (offensive lineman) Chester Pitts and myself. But the crowd being as jacked up as they were, that made the pain go away pretty quick. Our defense did a great job of stopping the run and getting the ball in our hands."

Rosenfels completed 16-of-27 passes for 200 yards with an interception.

The Texans added their final score when fullback Vonta Leach drove through the heart of the Broncos' defense for a one-yard TD plunge that gave Houston a 31-13 cushion with 3:20 left in the game.

Much-maligned defensive end Mario Williams had his best game as a pro, setting a new franchise single-game record with 3 1/2 sacks. His performance also made him Houston's career sacks leader with 17 1/2.

"This was our first big-stage game, and we showed the world what we can do," Williams said. "When I heard that 'Super Mario' music (in the stadium), I got pumped up."

A former first overall pick who dealt with a foot injury for most of last season as well as inevitable comparisons with the player many expected to go first in last season's draft - Saints running back Reggie Bush - Williams trails only Seattle's Patrick Kerney with a franchise-best 13 sacks this season.

Despite notching at least one sack in each of the last five contests, and nine overall in that span, Williams downplayed the Pro Bowl conversation that has been directed his way with his play of late.

"It's out of my hands," Williams said. "Obviously, I'd like to go, but the most important thing is the last two games. I'm not thinking about (the Pro Bowl). Hopefully, we'll be playing in January."

The defense played a key role for the Texans, who sacked Jay Cutler five times in the contest and held the vaunted Broncos' rushing attack to just 72 yards.

Additionally, the Texans stopped the Broncos on two fourth-down plays in the third quarter as Denver (6-8) was threatening to take the lead.

Broncos tight end Tony Scheffler said that typified Denver's offensive frustrations.

"We couldn't quite punch it in," said Scheffler, who scored the Broncos' lone touchdown. "There were (either) penalties or a lack of blocking. There are a lot of things that you can point at. We just didn't bring it tonight.

"A lot of things don't seem to be going right, so we've just got to finish these last two games on a high note and take it into next year. We've just got to put everything in place every game. Until we do that, we'll be .500."

Cutler finished 27-of-39 for 254 yards and a TD for the Broncos. Brandon Marshall, who had nine catches for 83 yards at the half, ended the contest with a career-best 11 receptions for 107 yards.

"I thought they were quicker than us," Cutler said. "They dominated up front a little bit, I missed some throws early on. ... We just weren't sharp. That level that we had last week wasn't there."

Kubiak believes his team is directly responsible for creating havoc for opponents on a more frequent basis.

"We've been in some great games here in the last month, and twice we've failed late in the third quarter and fourth quarter," Kubiak said. "We got ourselves right back in the same position against Tampa (Bay) and Denver, and we got better.

"The key to our football team right now is that we have made ourselves go right back to some of the places we failed. We wanted to play big games in December, and we're doing that."






  • mark ha, it's soooo true. i'm an idiot for trusting anyone coached by shanny. i swear it's like he knows exactly how to get me every time...

    Broncos vs. TexansDec 14 2:02 AM


  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 0 6 7 0 13
    HOUSTON 7 3 7 14 31 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: HST - TD, SAGE ROSENFELS 5 YD RUN (KRIS BROWN
    KICK), 3:56. Drive: 7 plays, 69
    yards in 3:56. Key plays: Rosenfels
    13-yard pass to A Johnson plus
    5-yard fasemask penalty to Denver
    40; Rosenfel

    Dec 13 11:07 PM


  • NFL
    TD HST
    VONTA LEACH 1 YD RUN
    (KRIS BROWN KICK)
    DENVER 13
    HOUSTON 31 3:20 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 10:56 PM
  • goCapsRavens Lol, Mark, I think he's just stuck on his formula (overhyped QB) + (quick O-line) + (insert running back here) = 1,000 yards rushing and falling just short of the playoffs.

    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 10:47 PM


  • NFL
    DENVER 13
    HOUSTON 24 9:38 LEFT, 4TH QTR
    DEN BALL ON DEN 32 YD LINE
    1ST AND 10

    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 10:46 PM
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    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 10:38 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 0 6 7 13
    HOUSTON 7 3 7 17 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: HST - TD, SAGE ROSENFELS 5 YD RUN (KRIS BROWN
    KICK), 3:56. Drive: 7 plays, 69
    yards in 3:56. Key plays: Rosenfels
    13-yard pass to A Johnson plus
    5-yard fasemask penalty to Denver
    40; R

    Dec 13 10:31 PM


  • NFL
    TD DEN
    TONY SCHEFFLER 12 YD PASS FROM JAY CUTLER
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    DENVER 13
    HOUSTON 17 0:36 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 10:28 PM
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    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 10:25 PM


  • NFL
    TD HST
    RON DAYNE 6 YD RUN
    (KRIS BROWN KICK)
    DENVER 6
    HOUSTON 17 5:17 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 10:08 PM
  • mark once again, shanahan tries to single-handedly take down my fantasy football team. i have elam, kick the fg!

    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 9:59 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 0 6 6
    HOUSTON 7 3 10 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: HST - TD, SAGE ROSENFELS 5 YD RUN (KRIS BROWN
    KICK), 3:56. Drive: 7 plays, 69
    yards in 3:56. Key plays: Rosenfels
    13-yard pass to A Johnson plus
    5-yard fasemask penalty to Denver
    40; Rosen

    Dec 13 9:37 PM
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    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 9:26 PM


  • NFL
    FG DEN
    JASON ELAM 47 YD
    DENVER 6
    HOUSTON 10 4:31 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 9:18 PM


  • NFL
    FG HST
    KRIS BROWN 41 YD
    DENVER 3
    HOUSTON 10 7:38 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 9:08 PM


  • NFL
    FG DEN
    JASON ELAM 41 YD
    DENVER 3
    HOUSTON 7 8:49 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 9:00 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 0 0
    HOUSTON 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: HST - TD, SAGE ROSENFELS 5 YD RUN (KRIS BROWN
    KICK), 3:56. Drive: 7 plays, 69
    yards in 3:56. Key plays: Rosenfels
    13-yard pass to A Johnson plus
    5-yard fasemask penalty to Denver
    40; R

    Dec 13 8:49 PM


  • NFL
    TD HST
    SAGE ROSENFELS 5 YD RUN
    (KRIS BROWN KICK)
    DENVER 0
    HOUSTON 7 11:04 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 8:22 PM
  • savbyroy shanny vs koob, this should be good

    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 4:39 PM
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    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 4:39 PM
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    Broncos vs. TexansDec 13 3:59 PM
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    Broncos vs. TexansDec 11 6:39 PM
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    Broncos vs. TexansDec 9 9:04 PM
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    Broncos vs. TexansSep 10 8:48 PM