Sometimes a candy cane is just a candy cane. - Scott Halleran
Looking at the silliness of Mayan 2012 doomsday predictions and what it means; the awesomeness of Messrs. Watt, Foster, Johnson, and Dobbins (?); Disney Plot Holes; and Christmas gifts for Texans fans (that you should not actually buy).
As I write this, there exists a non-zero number of people who truly believe that the world is going to end (or that otherwise horrible and apocalyptic stuff is going to happen) in about three days. They believe this because some Mesoamericans made a somewhat accurate calendar about 2500 years ago, and that calendar "ends" on December 21, 2012. Keep in mind, it's not like the calendar actually says "Here Be Where Ye Die" (Mayans totally spoke like pirates), nor do other Mayan writings suggest anything of the sort.
Yet some modern humans, who theoretically have access to more modern (and more accurate) calendars that do NOT end on Friday, have chosen to believe that the Mayan calendar shows that some REALLY BAD STUFF is going to happen. Because they read about it on the internet, where someone using science-y words and poorly constructed diagrams told them about a "magnetic pole reversal" that would trigger "super volcanic activities [and] massive earthquakes" or even "change gravity."
Never mind that the "science" behind these explanations is about as scientifically valid as phrenology or homeopathy or the phlogiston theory of fire. Even if you can ignore that huge flaw, the Mayan 2012 stuff is still ridiculous. People who actually study the Mayan culture have explained for years that December 21, 2012, is simply when the Mayan calendar would roll over and begin the next b'ak'tun (144,000-day period). So believing that the world is going to end on that date is literally no different than believing that the world is going to end on December 31, 2012, because your wall calendar ends on that date.
The most interesting part of this Mayan 2012 thing to me, however, is what it says about the impact of the internet on people. For every crackpot theory out there, there are websites run by actual experts who disprove and explain the flaws in the crackpot theory. So say you happen upon Patrick Geryl's hypotheses about pole shifting and the coming end of days. You might, if you were not well-versed in things like logic and science, initially think, "Hmm...this seems possibly legit." Yet, were you to spend another five minutes Googling "pole shift 2012," you'd find sites like this one from NASA, which explains in clear detail why such a theory as a cause of the end-times is flawed. You'd then have the opportunity to ask yourself, "Self, do I trust a guy like Patrick Geryl, whose credentials are that he was 'very interested in astronomy and up to now he studied hundreds of publications and books on this subject,' or do I trust NASA?"
Except it seems that no one does that, and not just in the area of 2012 prophecies. The internet contains an unfathomable amount of knowledge and factual information about any topic you can imagine, yet more often than not, it seems that people turn it into a high-tech echo chamber, searching for stuff that reinforces what they already want to believe and ignoring or dismissing the mountains of evidence to the contrary. This is hardly a new phenomenon; people did the same thing in libraries before the internet even existed. But that kind of confirmation bias took time and effort that online research does not. Ironically, having a world of information at one's fingertips has made it that much easier for people to remain willfully uninformed.
I say all of this as someone who has benefited from the existence of the internet in many ways, so I'm certainly not going to argue that we are not better off as a society for having the internet. That would be absurd. I would argue, though, that the internet could improve society even more if people were generally willing to couple the available information with critical thought.
But, hey, who has time for critical thought when Dr. Joseph Mercola and some cat videos are already competing for your valuable internet minutes, right?
Regular season games played by J.J. Watt. In that span, he has 25 sacks. For comparison, Mario Williams is the all-time franchise sack leader with 53 sacks . . . in 82 games. At his career pace, Watt would break the franchise record in his 64th career game. If he could maintain his 2012 pace (1.4 sacks/game), he would break the record in his 51st game.
Number of sacks that J.J. Watt should have been credited with on Sunday, rather than "only" three. The official guide for NFL statisticians explains, "When one defensive player is primarily responsible for a sack, as defined by the foregoing principles, he shall receive credit for a sack. When two or more defensive players are adjudged by the official scorer to be equally responsible for a sack, credit for the sack shall be divided equally between or among the responsible defensive players." In practice, this has come to mean that, where any of the multiple players arriving nearly simultaneously at the QB could have notched the sack, each player gets .5 sack (meaning, to answer Dan Fouts' question, yes, three players can all be credited with half a sack on a play).
So let's go to the tape.
As the pocket does its impression of the Colts' chances of winning the AFC South, Watt, Antonio Smith, and Whitney Mercilus are all roughly equidistant from the third-best rookie QB in the NFL this season. (The picture is slightly misleading, in that it makes Mercilus look closer than he actually was.) Smith is directly in Luck's line of sight, but that impending sense of doom he feels is triggered by the sound of Anthony Castonzo violently sharting himself.
A split second later, all three players arrive at Luck as Dwayne Allen watches with morbid fascination. From a purely technical standpoint, look at Watt's technique. He hasn't just beaten Castonzo; he's gotten complete around him in a very small amount of space so that his inside arm is all the way past Castonzo and grabbing Luck, with his outside arm still free to complete the carnage. Castonzo couldn't prevent this sack from happening even if he had six arms and divine intervention.
All three Texans players have both arms around Andrew Luck. Watt grabbed him around the midsection and went into an alligator death roll, swinging his hips back around counter-clockwise as his momentum carried him toward Mercilus. Smith wrapped up high and drove into Luck, pushing him straight backward. Mercilus grabbed hold, initially pushing on a tangent to Watt's rotation, then grabbing and rotating roughly in the same direction as Watt.
Sack complete. Watt has pulled Luck to the ground in the same direction that Smith drove him backward. Mercilus was in on the play, and added some momentum to Luck's downward path.
SO...going back to the guidelines above, the question becomes whether you can say Antonio Smith was "primarily responsible" for the sack. I don't see how you can. All three players arrived at the same time. While you might be able to make the argument that, without Smith in his face, Luck might have stepped up to avoid Mercilus' deep rush, I don't buy that vis-a-vis J.J. Watt; as the rest of the game showed us, Watt was fully capable of catching Luck from behind, and, in this scenario, Watt has such good position on Castonzo that Luck was not going to be able to merely step up and avoid the sack.
19.5; 33; 74; 15; 3; 38.
Sacks, Tackles for Loss, Total Tackles, Passes Defended, Forced Fumbles, and QB hits, respectively, for J.J. Watt in 2012. For comparison, Aldon Smith's totals are: 19.5 sacks, 17 TFL, 58 Tackles, 1 PD, 3 FF, and 27 QB hits. Can we PLEASE stop pretending like there's a legitimate debate about who should win DPOY? (Von Miller, in case you were wondering: 16 sacks, 25 TFL, 60 Tackles, 2 PD (1 INT-TD), 6 FF, and 21 QB hits.)
Yes, that's right: a 3-4 DE has more tackles than a 4-3 OLB and a 3-4 OLB.
Most sacks in a season by a Jacksonville Jaguars player (Tony Brackens, 2000).
The unofficial "real" single-season sack record, set in 1967 by Deacon Jones in fourteen games. (Times a QB was sacked were tracked by the NFL starting in 1963, but sacks by an individual defender were not officially tracked until 1982.)
Speaking Of Awesome Stuff On The Internet.
H/T to DisplacedTexan for this amazingly cool link.
Five (Real, But Ridiculous) Gift Ideas For The Texans Fan On Your List.
Headboard Embroidered With Texans' Logo ($469.95). This is only available in Twin or Full, presumably because people who would have this don't have need for a bed large enough to sleep two comfortably.
"Houston...We Have A Sack" T-Shirt ($7.99). This shirt has it all -- an unfunny play on a cliched saying, a lack of Texans name/logo, slightly incorrect red and blue shades, a graphic that looks like vaguely like oral sex, and an attempt to cash in on J.J. Watt's existence by slapping a #99 on one of the players.
Texans Logo Male Thong Underwear ($8.99). If this isn't enough on its own to make you uncomfortable, picture BFD wearing only this and a smile.
10" Cleatus the Robot w/ Texans Logos ($22.99). A completely inexplicable part of FOX football broadcasts, now in toy form! Watch your child's face as he slowly realizes that this does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
Number of AFC South teams who have won consecutive division titles. Tennessee is not one of them.
Yards needed over the last two games for Andre Johnson to surpass his single-season high in receiving yards (1575 in 2009).
Random '90s Rap Video.
Receptions and receiving yards, respectively, that Andre Johnson needs to tie Marvin Harrison for the most 100-catch, 1500-yard seasons in NFL history (3).
NFL players to reach 11,000 receiving yards more quickly than Andre Johnson did: Jerry Rice and Torry Holt.
Catches needed by Andre Johnson for 800 career receptions. His 799 ranks 25th all-time and 4th among active players, trailing Tony Gonzalez (1,236), Randy Moss (977), and Reggie Wayne (959). Johnson is three to five years younger than all of those players.
I'm Just Gonna Throw These Pics Out Here With Minimal Context.
Carries and rushing yards, respectively, needed by Arian Foster to set new single-season career highs in each category.
Catches needed by Arian Foster to pass Jabar Gaffney (171) for 4th in team history.
Ever since we got back from Disney World, my daughter has doubled-down on her Disney Princess movie-watching. The other day, she was watching Cinderella, when she yelled from the other room, "Daddy! Come here!"
I assumed the DVD was skipping or something like that, but, when I got to the other room, she was staring at me with wide eyes, like she'd just seen something amazing. "What's wrong?"
"Daddy . . . if Cinderella's coach turned back into a pumpkin, and her dress disappeared, and all the mice and animals turned back into animals at midnight . . . why didn't her glass slippers disappear?"
I spent the next five minutes explaining the concept of plot holes and how sometimes the people who make movies have to break the rules so that they can get to the ending that they want. She pondered this for a second, then said, "Maybe the Fairy Godmother made those shoes so they wouldn't disappear so that the prince could find her later." I agreed that this was possible (and I was impressed that she'd solved that problem so easily). After another pause, she asked, "But what would have happened if another girl in the kingdom had the same size feet as Cinderella?"
And, with that, I laughed and left the room, happy in my knowledge that she would ruin movies for others for years to come.
Fumbles recovered by Tim Dobbins in 2012, second only to Patrick Peterson's 5 recoveries. It's also the highest single-season total by a non-QB in Texans' history. (David Carr's 12 FR in 2002 are the team record.)
Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer Inexplicable Decision Of The Week.
[Author's note: It's a sad day in Two-Day Hangover Land. It seems that Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer has gotten married and changed the name on her public profile to the (relatively) more professional sounding, "Marijuana Sawyer-Clardy." Dang. Thankfully, we have a long memory around here, at least when it comes to stuff like this, so we'll just forge ahead and pretend like nothing has changed.]
Much like the decision to name your daughter "Marijuana Pepsi," the flag for unsportsmanlike conduct on Andre Johnson during Ben Tate's run made no damned sense. Here's a screen shot from a split-second after the flag is thrown. The flag is circled in yellow. The contact you see between Johnson and the DB is the most contact they'd made to that point (i.e., prior to the flag). Also, Tate has just been tackled (circled in blue), so it's not like they were flagging 'Dre for continuing to block the DB long after the play or anything. I just don't get it.
So, here's the deal. I could talk (and write) at length about regional variations on BBQ in the US and around the world. I would even enjoy doing that, so, if that's where we need to go, I'm on board. BUT . . . we've reached the end of BBQ styles that I have personally cooked and created or modified a recipe for. I actually enjoy the recipe part of this grand experiment, however, so I'd rather not abandon that just to give you 500 words on the difference between north Georgia- and South Carolina-style mustard sauces.
To that end, I want to open this thing up for requests/suggestions/whatever. If you've made one of the recipes from a previous BBQU and you want to discuss what worked/didn't work, we can do that, too. Send requests/suggestions/feedback/dirty photos of your mom to mattycamp -at- gmail -dot- com.
TXT MSGS of the Week.
And to think, we drafted an Aggie and not Legatron.
Cody licks taint. And Juicy McChickenlegs was more valuable than anyone could have known.
I am traveling over next weekend (yay, southwest Missouri.) and not getting back to Casa del Campbell until Monday evening. With Tuesday being Christmas Day, I'm not sure whether the 2DH will happen then or if it will be pushed back to Wednesday.