Posted by ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky
The suggestion: Barrett in Austin suggested Steve Slaton's touchdown run in Houston’s win over San Francisco. Slaton
“Houston's woe's running short yardage was relieved by a decidedly different run play. Pulling and running off tackle instead of the futile running over the middle (our weakest part of the line especially from a physical strength standpoint.)”
I’d usually steer away from a TD, but this one was significant for the reasons Barrett points out and was the lone score on the ground in the game.
The situation: First-and-goal from the San Francisco 1-yard line with 2:32 on the first-quarter clock and no score.
The Texans line up with three tight ends -- Joel Dreessen beside right tackle Eric Winston, Owen Daniels beside Dreessen and James Casey beside left tackle Duane Brown -- with fullback Vonta Leach and Slaton in an I-formation behind Matt Schaub.
What I saw unfold after the snap: I cannot break it down as specifically as I have done with some of these plays in the past, as Fox’s broadcast only shows one angle and my eyes aren’t good enough to pick it all apart from there.
But with the Niners packed in with seven on the line and four behind them, they could well expect the Texans to try the sort of up-the-middle run they’ve gone to in goal-line situations in recent weeks with no success.
Instead, Schaub pitches to Slaton heading right behind five able and effective blockers. Winston and right guard Antoine Caldwell pull and help create space while Dreessen and Daniels turn their men or shield them from the play and Leach leads Slaton through.
The running back leaves his feet to dive into the end zone, but not because he has to.
Result: Touchdown Texans and a 7-0 lead.
Ultimate outcome: Houston never trails, builds the lead to 21 with the help of a receiving TD from Slaton and holds on to win by three.