It is with glee that I come to you with the latest PGB tonight. After yesterday's dramatic win...on the road...at the most hallowed site in all of football...your Houston Texans are a game under .500 after starting out 0-4. In other words, the good guys are 6-3 since this, a moment that could have cratered a team of weaker men and served as the signature moment of a crushing 2008 season, happened.
Instead of crumbling, the Texans rallied. The naysayers can point to the ongoing disasters that are the Lions and Bengals as the perfect tonic for what was ailing a reeling team, and I'll readily admit that Houston was fortunate to play those squads (at home, no less) instead of the Giants and/or Patriots in October. And yes, the Jags and Browns have appeared to be unwilling or unable to shoulder the burden of greatness that many predicted for them in '08.
All of that is true. I don't care.
Say what you will, but don't doubt that these Texans refuse to quit. I can't say enough about the heart this team has shown in battling back from a winless first quarter of the season. The sad truth is that the players get paid win or lose. While it's despicable to see professionals roll over, it happens. The check clears regardless of the team's record, so the only thing(s) keeping guys on a losing team striving for excellence is (1) pride and/or (2) respect. From what we've seen, it's clear to me that these players have an ample supply of each, both for each other and Kubes.
I have no idea what's going to happen during the remaining three (3) weeks of the season. I only know that we can be proud to support a team like the one we saw in Green Bay yesterday. While I'm sure a great portion of this goodwill will dissipate if the Texans lay eggs against Tennessee, Oakland, and Chicago, I'm going to focus on the fact that our squad has put together two (2) three-game winning streaks this season when a single such streak had never been achieved in the previous six (6) seasons of the franchise's life. After a game like yesterday's, we should revel in the positive. On to the specifics:
1. Despite the moronic ramblings of a pathetic wannabe psychic, The Schaub did not look like a dude who'd missed the last month with a knee injury. 414 yards (a franchise record, but you knew that), 2 TD (the scoring pass to 'Dre was as good a throw as a QB can make), and a game-winning drive is all I need to say about his excellence.
2. I will vote Vonta Leach to the Pro Bowl on the basis of that fourth quarter grab alone. Unbelievable catch that completely changed the complexion of Kubes' strategy; if Vonta doesn't make that catch, Kubes starts running Slaton into the pile and takes his chances in OT. Instead, the Texans win in regulation.
3. Speaking of big catches on that last drive...Owen Daniels, huh? Yes, he was sort of by himself. And yes, that fumble at the goal line was wretched. We won't remember either of those things in a year. Quite the homecoming for the former Badger.
4. Ignore Kevin Walter at your peril, NFL. After yesterday's 6 catch/146 yard/1 TD performance, K-Dub is very quietly averaging 15.5 YPC with 8 TD this season. Not bad for a seventh round draft pick from Eastern Michigan.
5. The offensive line, in particular Eric Winston and to a lesser degree Chris Myers, dealt with some adversity yesterday. On balance, however, the OL was nails. That unit has gone from mediocre to very good. Alex Gibbs is a witch.
6. I am MAYBE one week away from composing an original love song about Steve Slaton.
7. Matt Turk could walk up to me on the street, slap me in the face, and call me a nancy boy, and I could not get angry at him after he turned a sure blocked punt into a momentum-stealing first down.
8. When do we all officially decide the Jacoby Jones is too much of a liability to trust him in the return game? When he's right, he's brilliant. But those flashes of brilliance seem like they're canceled out all too often by flubs. His muffed catch of that punt was as ugly as it gets.
9. On the other hand, did anyone doubt that Kris Brown was going to nail that game-winning FG? Even after the earlier miss? Brown's as clutch as it gets.
10. A special tip o' the cap to Clark Harris, who made his first start on the road while making Bryan Pittman's struggles earlier this season even more inexplicable.
11. I think the Houston DBs made more plays on the ball yesterday than they have in a single game all year. Dunta's pick was monstrous, but Fred Bennett and even Jacques Reeves managed to knock a couple of balls away while looking like somewhat credible cornerbacks.
12. I said "somewhat." I'm still not sold on Reeves, and I remain perturbed that the Fred Bennett looked infinitely better as a rookie than he has this season.
13. The secondary really, really missed Nick Ferguson. Brandon Harrison is not anywhere close to being in Ferguson's league, and Ferguson is not exactly Ed Reed.
14. 2008 Eugene Wilson is 2007 Will Demps. Pulled off the street in early September and making big plays after being inserted into the starting lineup, Wilson's been a real find. Let's hope that 2009 Eugene Wilson is more 2008 Eugene Wilson than 2008 Will Demps.
15. Tim Bulman's timely sack on third down in the second quarter gives him four (4) sacks on the season, which places him second on the team behind a certain demigod that played collegiately at North Carolina State. If Richard Smith continues to refuse to start Frank Okam, why not use Bulman at DT? Or better yet, put Bulman at DE and let him be the bookend to Super Mario?
16. If I was Aaron Rodgers, I'd still be hearing Mario's footsteps today. No sacks for the franchise DE, but man...he was so close so many times that it had to have taken a toll on Rodgers.
17. DeMeco's sack of Rodgers late in the fourth took the Packers out of field goal range and provided the opportunity for the offense to win that game. That sack was right up there with Turk's sprint to freedom as the play of the game.
19. Fake Game Balls: Offense--Matt Schaub; Defense--DeMeco Ryans; Special Teams--Matt Turk. That's right, people. I thought Turk's scramble was more impressive than Kris Brown's game-winning FG as time expired. That's how spoiled we are by Kris Brown.
Now that three (3) game winning streaks are old hat, your Houston Texans have a chance to again venture into uncharted territory when Bud Adams' minions come to town on Sunday. By virtue of what I imagine is some sort of unholy alliance with the forces of evil, they've only lost once this season, and they're indisputably nasty. Can the Texans shock the world?