For one home game each year the NFL’s Houston Texans’ deviate from their primary uniform colors of blue and white to wear special ‘Battle Red’ jerseys. In Houston, the game is looked upon with excitement as something different and, in most years, it seems the struggling Texans’ franchise rises to the occassion and submits one of their better performances.
One player who REALLY seems to rise to the occassion in someone who is very accustomed to wearing red — NC State’s Mario Williams
Earlier this week on the national state of Monday Night Football, Super Mario racked up three big sacks including this one that obviously forced a fumble that the Texans recovered. Williams now has eleven sacks for the season and only two other players have more sacks since Williams entered the league as a rookie three years ago.
I find it very interesting that Williams’ best game of last year was a 3.5 sack performance against Denver; also on a night that the Texans wore their Battle Reds. We even blogged about the observation at the time!
The following is from an article in the Houston Chronicle:
Off the field, Mario Williams hates having the spotlight on him. Post-practice group interviews at his locker especially unnerve him. But put him under the lights in prime time and he strides straight to the center of the stage.
Denver found this out last year, when Williams posted 3½ sacks in the first night game of his NFL career. Then, against Jacksonville on Monday evening, the once-maligned top pick in the 2006 draft added three more while also forcing a fumble on the last one that set up an insurance touchdown in what became a convincing, last-place escaping 30-17 Texans victory over the Jaguars.
“We finally got a chance for the whole world to see us,” Williams said, “so you’ve got to take advantage of it.”
His dominance was a conspicuous difference for the Texans over their early-season 30-27 overtime loss to Jacksonville. And the Texans have won two in a row now because they have started taking the ball away. Williams separating David Garrard from the football, which immediately preceded a seven-yard touchdown run by Steve Slaton that gave Houston a 23-3 lead, was the eighth turnover the defense has forced in the last two games.
That’s one fewer than they managed in the first 10.