J.J. Watt celebrates a tackle before realizing that he was flagged for roughing Peyton Manning.
It's been a few days now since that embarrassment in Indianapolis.
We're dead in the heart of the holiday season, many games have since passed, and with any luck, you've since drunken yourself into multiple stupors.
As for me, I'm drafting this from 30,000 feet on my way to Park City, Utah for a week long ski trip (though I will maintain my BRBing duties - as for whether that's good or bad news, I'll let you decide).
If the pain hasn't subsided by now, it will soon. With any luck, your immediate anger has subsided and you're now viewing the disasters of the past two weeks through a more rational lens.
I've spent some time away from BRB recently in most part because of my family holiday duties, but also partially because of the fear of saying something inappropriate. See, I have what professionals sometimes refer to as a bit of a fiery temper, and like many others, I've been known to direct vitriol in the wrong direction in the heat of the moment.
As such, I've learned to contain myself when angry and reserve my judgment until I've had a chance to properly analyze the situation. I've honed this skill through years of working with numerous idiots and the desire to maintain my Facebook status as "employed."
So in the last few days I've identified the exact direction to aim my anger and I've decided to share this analysis with the BRB community. Consider it the GPS for Texans fury.
As the game progresses, it's not uncommon to scream out things like, "What the f*#& is Kubiak thinking?" or "Are these referees actually watching the game?" or even "That cheerleader is too fat!"
But after we've had time to reflect on the reality of the situation, we know that some people are truly deserving of our hate, while others are merely victims of circumstance. So, I've broken this guide into two sections: the Bud Adams Division for those that deserve any hatred aimed at their direction, and the Bob McNair Division for those who are doing as well as can reasonably be expected, but for whom the results haven't yet materialized.
Note that it is possible for a person to appear in both divisions because while we can be mad at them, it must be for the right reasons.
Disclaimer: When I say "hate" I mean it in the sports metaphoric "this guy ruined my weekend" sense, so please don't get pissy about it.
Bob McNair Division
T.J. Yates: I think T.J. Yates is a bit of a victim of his early success and his performance against Cincinnati. Despite the position that the Texans are in, it's rather unfair to expect him to play flawless football down the stretch. As with any rookie, his performance will cycle up and down, and we have no choice but to deal with the growing pains. It may not be the best timing for them, but we must remember that we're on Plan C as far as quarterbacking goes.
Gary Kubiak: I was not a fan of the conservative play-calling that stymied the Texans' offense for the majority of the game, but let's be cautious that we don't hold Kubiak completely responsible for the failures of the past two weeks while ignoring the successes of the first fourteen weeks of the season. In other words, feel free to give him hell for the game plan, but let's remember that he led this MASH unit to a divisional crown.
J.J. Watt: I haven't actually heard of any hate directed toward him. Despite the ridiculous penalties called against him, I just want to say how excited I am to see this guy in a Texans uniform for years to come.
Bob McNair: I struggle to understand why people have anything but love for the man that brought football back to Houston. His sole responsibility is to ensure that the business side of the team is run properly. He has little to do with the on-field performance, nor should he. He's as far removed as anyone can be from an owner like Jerry Jones, and that is reason alone to love the man.
Johnathan Joseph: He has definitely struggled in the past few weeks, but in the same manner that we have to credit Kubiak for past performance, we must do the same for Joseph. Playing cornerback in the NFL may just be the most difficult thing to do in sports, and Joseph has done it as well as anybody. Expecting that level of play at all times is unreasonable, and I still can't think of anyone else I would rather have back there.
Bud Adams Division
Referees: TDC said it best earlier, but let me add my two cents. Yes, the Texans are responsible for making the proper plays on the field and yes, if they had just done their jobs, the ineptitude of the men in stripes wouldn't have mattered. Still, excelling in the landscape of professional football is difficult under normal circumstances and the referees in this past game allowed the Texans no room for error while providing the Colts with excessive leeway. Would it have made a difference in the end? It's impossible to say, but it was a hurdle that the Texans shouldn't have had to deal with.
Gary Kubiak: Just as I gave him credit above, he must still shoulder his share of the blame. It's not so much the game plan that I have issue with - a run-heavy plan was absolutely the correct way to go- but when the Colts geared up to stop the run in the second half, Kubiak was unable to adjust. Perhaps you can put this on Rick Dennison, but I think we all know that the offense runs through Gary.
Anybody Calling for Jake Delhomme: Do I really need to elaborate?
Reggie Herring: Perhaps this is a bit unfair in because Herring may have been playing above his pay grade. It is a similar position to Yates in the sense that he wasn't expected to be here, but I hold him to a higher expectation because he's been at this a lot longer. Herring was completely unsuccessful in the timing of his called blitzes and also struggled to adjust to the Colts. When Dan Orlovsky successfully runs two two-minute drills against your defense, you have failed. Also, when Reggie Wayne is consistently lined up against Kareem Jackson, something has gone horribly wrong.
Matt Turk: I would like to think that the only reason the Texans re-signed Turk is so they could experience the pleasure of cutting him again.
Kareem Jackson: I actually thought about putting KJ in the other division for a brief second. His positioning in the past few games has been much better than in the past, and it has actually given me a glimmer of hope that he might become a somewhat serviceable cornerback. Still, we refer to that as a sprinkle of sugar on a pile of poop. He was directly responsible for the Colts' two biggest plays in that fateful drive (those that weren't aided by the officials, that is).
T.J. Yates: As I mentioned above, the expectations thrust upon Yates are far more than a fifth-round rookie should have to bear, but the situation is what it is. It's impossible to tell without the all-22 film, but my suspicion is that the inability to drive the ball downfield falls on some combination of Yates and the receiving corps. Most of Kubiak's plays call for a mixture of deep routes and check downs, but for some reason the deep routes never materialized. Whether that was due to the receivers being unable to get open or to Yates not seeing them, we'll never really know, but I did notice a few replays where it seemed like a deep option was open and Yates still checked down, so I'm listing him here.
Roger Goodell: While the referees hold the ultimate responsibility for properly calling a game, the rules of play have become so muddled in recent years that it's difficult to tell what a legal hit is anymore. As best I can understand, you're no longer allowed to hit a quarterback high or low, but legal shots are often illegal because the quarterback himself lowered his head or because it's difficult to distinguish between a head and a shoulder. In other words, they're pretty much off limits all together. Unless they play for the Texans.
So there you have it. I hope you have found this guide useful and that you hate properly in the future.