On to Indianapolis…
To begin, I would like to become the 8,000th person to comment on Jeremy Shockey’s lunacy in accusing Texans players of being unpatriotic. I second Matt Schaub and Demeco Ryans’ astute observations that for someone so in love with country and bleeding patriotism, Shockey sure seemed more focused on other men rather than paying attention in tribute to our great nation’s anthem.
The only shame in this whole episode of childish nonsense is that the Texans did not finish what they started in the 3rd quarter and beat Shockey’s Panthers. Still, for a bit of satisfaction, consider that the Houston Texans are playoff bound and epitomize a world-class sports franchise with presumably several consecutive years of championship contention upon it. And as the ancient biblical principal teaches, you reap what you sow, Jeremy:
Jeremy Shockey tastes the patriotic hitting skills of Demeco Ryans.
It looks like the Sesame Street show I took my toddler daughter to came to San Antonio on the perfect Sunday, causing me to miss my first and only Texans game this season. I went ahead and erased the game from my DVR without watching and will trust that the Carolina flat-liner was a one game, much-needed hiccup to check egos and refocus a team, which hadn’t lost a game in seven weeks. Or so I keep telling myself.
I did catch highlights and listened to the postgame comments and analysis and see no reason to believe that the Texans will not bring a renewed intensity to Thursday night’s matchup at Lucas Oil Field. Interestingly, however, the Colts could win out and are still a lock for Andrew Luck. Interestingly, the Colts will be coming off their first win of the season, a resounding win over division foe, Tennessee. And most interestingly, this game for Houston has suddenly become…interesting. In fact, it has transcended the status of trap game into a downright dangerous game.
From the Colts’ perspective, they have already accomplished their goal of sucking just enough for Luck. Their replacement quarterback, former Texan Dan Orlovsky, played a decent ballgame and, last I checked, the Colts are still considered an NFL franchise with professional football players. I expect them to let it fly in prime time, seeking to make a statement to the league and world that the laugh is on them. You keep telling professional athletes that they suck and eventually they just might rise up and scrap, which is what Indy apparently began doing this past Sunday. No, this will not be a routine walk in the park snacking on cupcakes for a probably Andre Johnsonless T.J. Yates.
From the Texans’ perspective, I’m first and foremost concerned about the recent propensity of Arian Foster and Ben Tate to lay the football on the carpet at inopportune times. In fairness, these guys are no Steve Slatons, but protecting the football is of the utmost importance against a team like Indianapolis. You start dropping the pill and giving a team with nothing to lose in front of their home crowd and a prime time television audience easy opportunities, well, that’s just not good.
In the turnover department, I hope to see Yates tuck it in and run instead of forcing throws, but on the other hand, its probably not a bad thing that he is taking some risks before the playoffs to get a better feel for the speed and intensity of starting NFL football, not to mention honing his strengths. I do believe that the Texans will not cough up more than one turnover against Indianapolis and will do enough to win the football game.
On the other side of the ball, all I can say is that I hope Johnathan Joseph’s pride stings a bit from getting burned by Steve Smith, and that he rallies the secondary to lock onto the Colts receivers and, coupled with the blitzers, force Orlovsky into some tough throws. I see no reason to believe that the defense will not show up with reinvigorated fire in their bellies after Sunday’s downer, even without Wade Phillips present.
All in all, while I acknowledge that this is no longer an automatic victory, I strongly believe that the Texans will also arrive to make a statement, and one which will make the NFL front office and networks consider scheduling them for many more prime time television games next season. I think that the Texans know that the media has written them off as first round fodder against any possible opponent they might face at Reliant. Yes, the Houston Texans are also comprised of professional athletes with pride and resilience. They have excellent team chemistry and have already tasted the ugliness of defeat in most embarrassing fashion. They’ve overcome such adversity with a collective will to win that I just don’t see them losing this ballgame.
From Shockey’s baseless smack to Smith’s toasting of Joseph to Yates’ horrible end zone interception, the Texans have plenty of fuel for the Thursday night’s fire.