HOUSTON – Greetings from Reliant Stadium on the fourth Sunday of the 2013 NFL season, when the Seahawks will be looking for their first 4-0 start in franchise history as they take on the Texans.
The overriding storyline all week has been how the Seahawks will block J.J. Watt, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, with an offensive line that will be missing Pro Bowl left tackle
But another angle worth examining is how the Texans’ offense will fare against a Seahawks defense that leads the league in points allowed (27), average yards allowed (241.7) and average passing yards allowed (146.7).
But that was in 2009, and the secondary – cornerbacks Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings and Josh Wilson and safeties Deon Grant and Jordan Babineaux – that allowed that to happen is long gone. They have been replaced by the All-Pro duo of cornerback
They provide the length and aggressiveness needed to matchup against Johnson, who has been knocked out of the Texans past two games with a concussion and a bruised shin. Despite that, Johnson still has 25 receptions, and has been targeted 35 times. He had 12 catches for 146 yards on 16 targets in the game he finished (against the San Diego Chargers), and eight for 76 on 13 targets (against the Tennessee Titans) and five for 35 on six targets (against the Ravens) in the two he did not.
“They’re big. And they’re very aggressive,” Johnson told the Houston Chronicle. “As for those corners, they’re long guys (with) good foot speed. Normally when you go up against big, long guys like that, they don’t have to get close to you just to touch you. It kind of throws you off a little bit with your timing.”
Asked this week about Thomas saying the goal each week is to hold the opposing passing game to 150 yards, Sherman offered, “Under 100, usually. But, yeah, we do. That’s the kind of standard that we have in our (meeting) room. We would hope to hold people under 100 yards, and anything over that is kind of a disappointment for us in our room.”
So it’s been a disappointing season, so far, because the Seahawks’ top-ranked pass defense is allowing that average of 146.7 yards – 11 fewer than the second-ranked Texans. The Panthers’ Cam Newton got 125 in the season opener, so close. The 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick got 127 in the home opener, so close again. But last week, the Panthers’ Chad Henne got 235. And that’s why the defensive players were upset after the game and have remained out of sorts all week.
Now comes Schaub, who has 664 passing yards in three games but also has had an interception returned for a touchdown in each of the past two.
So, sit back and enjoy what’s about to unfold, with kickoff and televised coverage on Fox (Q/13 in the greater Seattle area) set for 10 a.m. PT.