Houston coach Gary Kubiak said he enjoyed the Texans' win at Oakland until he arrived home Sunday night on the team flight and heard the Giants had 10 sacks and knocked Chicago quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Todd Collins out of the game. Although Texans quarterback Matt Schaub was not sacked by the Raiders, he was taken down 11 times in the first three games.
"Everything starts with trying to find a way to keep your quarterback upright," Kubiak said Wednesday on a conference call with media covering the Giants. "That performance [by the Giants] last week was one for the ages. It was unbelievable."
Houston has the top rushing offense in the NFL and the leading rusher in Arian Foster, so, the Texans' emphasis on the running game should be a factor in slowing the Giants' pass rush. Kubiak was asked earlier this week by Houston writers if an effort was made to have Schaub get rid of the ball quickly. One reason Cutler was a sitting duck for the nine times he was sacked is that he took a deep drop, held the ball and waited for deep pass routes to develop.
"There was a conscious effort on doing the things that would protect him a little more," Kubiak said of the Texans' gameplan at Oakland. "That was our boot game [rollout passes], our play-pass game…We were a lot less dropback and more play-pass oriented, and I think that helped us out."
No doubt, the Giants defensive line and linebackers have to respect play-action fakes to Foster and can't simply go all-out on the pass rush. Kubiak also said Chicago's blocking schemes helped the Giants' pass rush.
"Chicago is throwing the ball a lot, a lot of open formations, a lot of open edges," Kubiak said, indicating the offensive line often was outnumbered. "We'll have to find a way to protect those edges. We can't leave our tackles out on an island all day."