Tempting as it might be, I could hardly let your Houston Texans' record-breaking ninth win of the season go by without a PGB, however late and/or unnecessary it might be. We'll have plenty of looks at the season and team as a whole, as well as individual players, in the days and weeks ahead. For now, I'm going to limit my thoughts to last Sunday's victory. Let us commence:
1. Who else thought the Texans were done when they trailed by 14 points? I know I did. For them to come back like that...I mean, wow. While you might think Tom Brady and Randy Moss could've made a difference on New England's last drive, the fact remains that both were in for the vast majority of the game, including but not limited to the drives preceding New England's final possession when the Patriots were shut down. The bottom line is that the Texans made stops when they absolutely needed to and turned those stops into points. Houston fans know how rare that's been over the last eight (8) years.
2. Bernard Pollard's interception--biggest pick in franchise history? Side Note: You know you're a fan of a nascent franchise when the "biggest ___________ in franchise history" debate comes up several times each season. Not to take anything away from Pollard, but that was a horrific throw by Brady, thanks to the pressure he was under (by Mario Williams, I believe, but I could be wrong). Pollard looked like a centerfielder camped under a fly ball on that one.
3. Super Mario played like a man possessed, didn't he? He seemed to get pressure at will.
4. As has been the case the last few weeks, Glover Quin got picked on quite a bit. Not sure why that is when Dunta Robinson is on the other side of the field. Not to completely crap on Dunta, though...his stop of Sammy Morris on the play immediately before Pollard's pick was HUGE. After said play, my father, in a fit of excitement, tried to tell me that Dunta Robinson "doesn't miss tackles." I don't remember exactly what I said in response, but I believe it was profane and questioned whether he (my father) was suffering from dementia and should be dropped off at the nearest sanitarium on the drive home.
5. Brian Russell playing for the Houston Texans makes me wish I wasn't a fan of the Houston Texans. How bad is John Busing that Russell played the majority of the game at FS? I can't even wrap my mind around that.
6. Zac Diles, the weak link of the Houston starting linebackers, had a helluva forced fumble. On the play before (the awful call on 4th and Goal from the NE 1), I spontaneously created a new cuss word and immediately uttered it aloud for all to interpret. I don't think I could re-create said expletive if I tried. It belongs to the ages now.
7. Kerns posted a thoughtful comparison of the Houston LB corps as compared to other noteworthy units in the NFL a few days before the game. Looking at the players/tandems mentioned (as well as any other names you think should be in the discussion), I ask you this: Are there two linebackers currently playing together you'd rather have for the next five years than DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing? I say no, and I don't think it's much of a debate.
8. Oh, Ryan Moats...fumbling with no one touching you? That's grounds for taking instant residence in Kubes' doghouse. Unless your name is Chris Brown, of course. Speaking of C. Brown, I was pleasantly surprised by his relative absence from Sunday's game. Nice to see Kubes realized in Week 17 that every other back on the roster is a better option that Brown.
9. Arian Foster was something else. Running with authority and burst, not fumbling, even flashing some hands in the receiving game. Foster surely earned himself a long look and some carries in the training camp and the preseason. While I think it's still premature to declare him the incumbent at RB, the flashes he's shown could conceivably affect the Texans' draft strategy.
10. We all know how subpar the offensive line's been when it comes to run blocking this season. The last two weeks, though? Totally different story; they've been bordering on excellent. Makes me wonder how much Foster has to do with it and/or how much Steve Slaton (or, ugh, Chris Brown) may have had to do with the OL's struggles throughout the season.
12. I can't believe I'm typing this. Feels wrong. Still, I have to do it: Jacoby Jones was simply outstanding on Sunday. He's starting to make a habit of unbelievable, monstrous receptions when the Texans need them the most. I say that fully aware that it was Jacoby who was responsible for Schaub's lone interception of the day. If Jacoby maintains his skills in the return game, continues to contribute like he has all season at WR, and manages to show up on time to the airport on a consistent basis, I shudder to think how valuable he could be.
13. Andre Johnson finishes with six receptions for 65 yards and I don't complain that he wasn't utilized enough. Must mean the Texans won.
14. Matt Schaub's numbers on Sunday: 24-39, 303 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT. Matt Schaub's numbers on the season: 396-583 (67.9% completed), 4,770 yards, 29 TD, 15 INT, 2 Fumbles Lost, 98.6 QB Rating. Oh, and all 16 games started. Where's your Sage Rosenfels now?
15. Kris Brown's missed PAT may well have been the single ugliest thing I've witnessed at Reliant Stadium. I say that, knowing there's surely something I've blocked out. If you've got something to top it, share it in the Comments. In any event, Kubes has to bring in a kicker or two to challenge K. Brown in the offseason. Has to. Not negotiable. Brown's gone sour far too quickly and far too severely for Smithiak to feel good about him as the incumbent in 2010. It's unabashed malpractice if Kris Brown doesn't have to kick for his job in training camp.
16. While I think the decision for Gary Kubiak to return next season had been made before Sunday's game, it was still nice to see how many players mobbed him after the game. Kubes may have stuff to work on (just like the rest of us), but gaining the respect of his charges isn't on that list.
17. Fake Game Balls: Offense--Arian Foster; Defense--Bernard Pollard; Special Teams--Jacoby Jones.
18. A quick note to New England fans...thank you for not laying down. We realize, now more than ever, how rare a quality that is in a team that's clinched a playoff berth. Best of luck to you in the playoffs, and here's to as speedy a recovery as possible for Wes Welker.
Another season in the books. Let's do it again next year. Only with an extra week or four of additional games.Patriots vs Texans coverage