As I mentioned in my last post, I'm currently out in Utah on a ski vacation. So far, we've had a lot of challenges on this trip. My wife fractured her leg on a fall on the first day (it looked so innocent too, but she just landed wrong) and we've been witness to one of the driest and warmest Decembers in recorded history. Still, we've had a great time, drank lots of craft brew, and enjoyed ourselves.
It's a lot like the Texans season.
With only a single, meaningless game against the BE-SFs remaining, the Texans will wrap up the most successful regular season in team history and dive into the what will undoubtedly be the most successful post-season in team history.
Even with a season that includes a post-season berth and the AFC South title, the BRB motto of "the roller coaster that is Texans fandom" still applies.
While I admittedly don't follow other teams as closely as I do the Texans, I have a hard time recalling a team that has had to overcome so many injuries to their key players as they move into the playoffs. Even the 2010 Packers, who so many people like to recall, were able to overcome their injuries because their leader and quarterback remained on the field.
Still, the purpose here is not to seek sympathy, but rather to look back on the season and reflect on the challenges this team was able to overcome.When the season started, many of us had an optimistic outlook, but were hesitant to believe too much. While the season hasn't been the picture we envisioned, the outcome is one which we've dreamed of -- and it's not over yet.
So, let's look back on the season and remember the roller coaster that was the Texans' season.
Best Offensive Play: There have been some great plays, like Arian Foster's 42 yard run against the Steelers and Owen Daniels' one-handed grab at Cincinnati, but the best play has to be the final play against Cincinnati. With 2 seconds left, T.J. Yates threw a six yard touchdown pass to Kevin Walter to clinch the AFC South crown and send the Texans to the playoffs. That might actually have been the best offensive play in team history.
Best Defensive Play: Unlike the best offensive play, I'm not selecting the most "important" play of the year, but rather the one that sticks out the most in my mind. That play is Mario Williams' one-handed sack of Ben Roethlisberger. All week, the talk had been about how difficult it is to bring down the Steelers' quarterback, and Williams showed off his incredible strength by reeling him in with a single hand before sacking him.
Best Blogging Moment: There were many great moments in the blogosphere this year, but nothing has endured as much as MS Paint Stuart Scott.
Worst Defensive Moment: Not so much a moment as a series of moments. The New Orleans Saints triggered their comeback by continually targeting Kareem Jackson. We all knew exactly what play was coming up next, but the Texans were incapable of stopping it.
Best New Beer: I've enjoyed many good beers over this season, including some nice homebrews, but the best new beer that I've discovered is a local Utah double IPA called Hop Rising by Squatters Brewery. The most interesting new beer was a dark IPA by Stone Brewery. Yes, I love me some IPA.
Best Ass Kicking of Baby Eating Sister Fornicators: 41-7.
Greatest Stretch of Texans Fandom: From October 23 through November 13, the Texans went 4-0 and outscored their opponents 132-42, never giving up more than 14 points in a single game. The Texans would continue to win three more to go 7-0, but during that four game stretch, Texans fans never stressed a moment of a game. It was unprecedented.
Best Relief Performance: Despite the failures of the last two weeks, T.J. Yates has been better than expected in his starting duties as Texans' quarterback. Whether he can rebound from the past two weeks remains to be seen, but after being pressed into duty, he's done a great job.
Best New Player: Johnathan Joseph has been superior to Nnamdi Asomugha for less money. That allowed the team to also sign Danieal Manning, and Joseph's play has been a major factor in the team's defensive turnaround.
Best Old Fat Man: Wade Phillips' arrival has turned the Texans from a defensive embarrassment to one of the better units in the league. Santa can suck it.
Biggest Disappointment: You can't really call Kareem Jackson or Shaun Cody major disappointments because the expectations were so low. In fact, I'd say that they both have played slightly above my expectations (which probably says more about my expectations than anything else). For the biggest disappointment, I'll have to go with the kicking game. Neil Rackers has been wildly inconsistent, and the fact that Matt Turk is again wearing steel blue make them a joint disappointment.
Biggest Surprise: The defensive turnaround has been the biggest surprise, in that while we all expected improvement, I don't think anybody expected it on this level. More specifically, the biggest surprise on defense is Brice McCain. Many of us expected him to be off the roster, but he's been more than serviceable this year making some big defensive plays.
Biggest Game: The biggest game so far has to be the game against Cincinnati, but in reality, the biggest game hasn't happened yet. It may end up being the first playoff game at Reliant, but with any luck, it will be a few games after that.