I watched yesterday's game with my family. It was a typical game-watching experience--some frustrated profanity, some nervous excitement, some Coors Light, some cheering, some dejection, some more frustrated profanity, some more Coors Light, a slight amount of disbelief, a hefty portion of resignation, and so on. As your Houston Texans erased a 23-7 deficit to pull ahead 27-23, with the Jets having no timeouts left and less than a minute on the clock, I remarked aloud, "It's not over." After the last Neil Rackers FG, I even went so far as to text several of my friends:
"Oh, and the Jets will get the ball back with :45 seconds left. It ain't over."
Many responded with incredulity. "No way," replied no less a skeptic than BFD. "You're so negative," my sister said. "Quit hatin', yo," spat my mother. My father, beaten down by nine years of fandom and season ticket payments, said nothing. My dog was quiet as well, though I could tell he agreed with my observation.
I tell this story not to brag about some supposed awe-inspiring insight on my part. As I've noted on countless occasions in this space, I could not be further from an expert. I am, however, a fan of the Houston Texans. And if that's taught me anything, it's that we should watch Texans games with a constant sense of foreboding. A sense that the the other shoe will drop. No lead is safe. No game is put away. Nothing is won. As noted philosopher John Rambo would remind us, nothing is over:
Yet, for all of that, I just can't turn it off. So here we go with another painful PGB...
At the outset, I do want to mention a handful of positives (and there were several, even with the result being what it was):
2. David Anderson got some targets for the second week in a row, which was nice to see. Jacoby Jones is in danger of getting Steve Slaton'd when it comes to being involved in the offense. And like Slaton, that'd be totally deserved.
3. Fumble aside (which occurred on the exact same try-to-swim-the-ball-over-the-defender move that resulted in a fumble earlier this year), Arian Foster continues to show he's no flash in the pan. He had some success running the football and was an even bigger threat in the passing game. He won't be in the discussion because of how Houston's season is likely to turn out, but the guy deserves MVP consideration.
4. Mario Williams almost single-handedly determined the outcome of the game with his play in the second half, much like he did in the win over the Redskins in Week Two. He was so effective that it'll only serve to re-urge the question of why he can't be that guy far more frequently than he is.
5. Matt Schaub had far from a great day, but he put his team in position to win the game with his play in the fourth quarter. Got to dig that.
6. As good as the Jets' defense is, the offensive line did yeoman work keeping Schaub upright for the most part and occasionally springing Foster.
7. I think I've been about as positive as I can be. Well, check that: I'm positive that Gary Kubiak's clock management is as bad as it's ever been. Five years into his NFL head coaching career, I'm not sure he understands that timeouts don't carry over from the first half. Thinking that he was shrewdly maintaining a bonus timeout for the second half is the only explanation I can come up with for his decision not to use his final timeout after Arian Foster's 20-yard reception with more than 20 seconds left at the end of the first half in NYJ territory. Instead of putting together some sort of planned strike, the Texans were content to flail around, wasting time, a strategy that ultimately and all too predictably resulted in zero points. Again, five years in, that situation has to be managed better. You could chalk it up to growing pains in '06; it's simply inexcusable in 2010.
8. Now, for a word about the defense. I can't write anything that you haven't already read before. The words we often use to describe the Texans defense--bad, horrible, terrible, awful, abysmal, inadequate, lamentable, pathetic, contemptible, rotten, horrific, worthless, wretched, crappy, deplorable, abhorrent, abominable, detestable, disgusting, pitiful, vile, ignominious, shameful, embarrassing, appalling, repugnant, atrocious, reprehensible, noxious, miserable, heinous, loathsome, revolting, horrid, iniquitous, reprobate, defective, unacceptable, unsatisfactory, slipshod, stinking, putrid, godawful, dreadful, lousy, ruinous, wanting, paltry, execrable, odious, loathsome, offensive, scurrilous, nefarious, beastly, opprobrious, grievous, vexatious, irksome, galling, calamitous, pestilent, pernicious, toxic, catastrophic, Frank Bushesque--don't do it justice.
9. Props to Thesauraus.com. When you're looking for a new way to say "suck," it's an invaluable resource.
10. Glover Quin, Kareem Jackson, Brice McCain (who for my money is in the lead for "Worst DB On The Roster" at the moment, which means he probably wouldn't be allowed near any other NFL team's locker room), Jason Allen (despite his recent acquisition, fitting right in seamlessly), Bernard Pollard, and Eugene Wilson comprise the worst secondary you'll ever see. The last two receptions, to Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, would have been busts of shocking proportion to any other team. For the Texans, it was business as usual.
11. 2nd and Goal from the 4 yard line? You better make sure to give your man an 8 yard cushion. We can't afford to let him beat you deep!
12. If you were an opposing offensive coordinator, wouldn't you be tempted to run nothing but slants? If for no other reason than to see if Frank Bush ever caught on to what you were doing?
13. The Jets went 72 yards in 49 seconds. With no timeouts. I have a hard time imagining there's another defense in the league that would have allowed that to happen.
14. And yet, there's very little doubt that Frank Bush will be "leading" the defense again on Sunday when the Titans come to town. Indeed, during the game, the broadcasters mentioned that Gary Kubiak was shaking things up by insisting that Bush call the plays from the sideline. Any other team would have shaken things up by canning Bush weeks ago; Kubes shakes things up by giving Bush a better seat.
After a 3-1 start that engendered so much hope, your Houston Texans have dropped four games in a row and five out of the last six games. While not mathematically eliminated from the playoff chase, dreams of the franchise's first postseason bid are circling the drain. It's late November. Sounds like we're right on schedule.Texans vs Jets coverage