Some quick hitters:
Arian Foster truly had Namaste karma working for him. Two fumbles right back into his arms. Yes, Namaste, y'all.
J.J. Mother****in' KillaWatt! That's all.
Weejay to Andre is a beautiful thing.
Chris Crocker, you will always have a place in my heart.
Wade Phillips connecting us to Bum and the HOUSTON Oilers. Also, a beautiful thing.
10 years of pent up aggression exploding in Reliant. I wish I could have been there.
I know this little section of Battle Red Blog that we call the Kubiak Konundrum is for analyzing game management decisions and not for cheering, but unfreakingbelievable!!!!! I'm so proud of the players, and, yes, of Kubes.
Remember after the Falcons game when I said that it is a great Texans world we're living in when our coach is the one that clearly outcoached the other side in a contest between two playoff contending teams? Well, yes. Yes, it is. And even better that I can amend that comment to get rid of the "contending" part.
While Kubiak didn't get tested much in the game management department because of the lopsided score, he did shine by the simple nature of who he was not: namely, Marvin Lewis.
Two consecutive playoff games in which Lewis wasted his challenges in the first half. Unbelievable. For the record, I thought Lewis's decision to challenge the OD catch was a defensible one with the limited replays that had been shown when he threw it—simply because a change of possession is so monumental and the possibility of one is precisely the time to take a risk. But, the fact that he had already burned a challenge trying to overturn a correct spot of the ball—on a 2nd down--meant he had to be certain of an overturn. Alas, he wasn't certain enough.
Now, judging Kubiak's effectiveness in game management calls based on being better than Marvin Lewis is a bit like judging the taste of normal people food versus a vegan menu. Just because it doesn't suck doesn't mean it's good. So, we'll take a look at the one game management decision that did present itself to Kubiak.
1=terrible call, 2=negative, 3=neutral, 4=positive, and 5=outstanding
4Q. 13:38 left. 24-10 Texans. 4th and 3. Bengals ball. Texans' 47 yard line.
After Jermaine Gresham bobbled a catch to bring up fourth and three, Kubiak called a timeout. My first thought was that maybe Kubiak was calling a timeout to get a better look at the replay to decide whether to challenge it. That, of course, makes no sense because if that were the case, he would have just challenged the call and risked the timeout. But, I guess we should never assume Kubiak would have seen the fallacy in that line of reasoning. Evidently, I wasn't alone in thinking that Kubiak called timeout in order to get a better look and consider whether to challenge. Seriously, that's the second time, MDC. I'm going to have to get these out before the Hangover next year.
Perhaps there were other reasons to call timeout. We can only surmise. Perhaps Kubiak wanted to make sure the team was ready for a fake (I'm leaning towards this one). Perhaps they had trouble with alignment or getting a player on the field. Because of the way things worked out, there was no need for further scrutiny and the local media certainly wasn't about to ask.
The decision could have been monumental, because during the timeout, Marvin Lewis changed his mind and decided to go for it. So, did Kubiak give Marvin Lewis an unnecessary chance to gain a first down and maintain possession? Did he prevent the possibility of his team getting caught off guard by a fake? With the Bengals down just two scores and possibly having enough time to punt and get the ball back with as much as ten minutes left, was the Bengals attempting a fourth down conversion on what basically became an all or nothing play even a negative for the Texans?
Well, not how it worked out. J-Jo, of course,
knocked down intercepted the pass and the game was clinched. From a results prism, the call certainly can't be said to have hurt us. And, without further knowledge of Kubiak's motivations, I find it a really hard decision to even pass judgment on. I almost decided to poll you loyal readers on what your favorite part of the game was, what you will be eating during the pregame at-home tailgate next week, or what your go to superstition is on gameday (mine involves a pregame walk on a certain route through the neighborhood with my Texans loving dog in which we "Namaste" an inspiring quote). I feel like there hasn't been much game management related polling here recently, so I'll throw this lone decision up to the Gods BRB readers to decide.
Feel to answer the tailgate or superstition questions in the comments.
Bengals Playoff Game:
TBD: 1 play.
1: 1 play.
2: 7 plays.
3: 13 plays.
4: 12 plays.
5: 2 plays.