Hair Of The Dog: Now With More Completions Than Blaine Gabbert (Texans @ Jaguars)

Blaine Gabbert converses with Brooks Reed about all the improvements he made this past off-season.

The family and I just spent a few days visiting some friends in Washington, DC. We woke up at 5am this morning to catch a flight that got us back to Orlando at 10:00. Then after an hour drive home, we had just enough time to unpack, run to the supermarket, and get all our stuff ready so that I could grab a beer on the couch at 12:45. It couldn't have been timed any better.

At this point, knowing that I reside in what's considered Jacksonville territory, I flip the DirectTV guide to channel 6 and see... Raiders @ Dolphins.

Now, this shouldn't be a big deal because I willingly pony up for Sunday Ticket every year, but for some reason, despite being 170 miles from Jacksonville, I'm still subject to their blackouts and Sunday Ticket won't override that.

Right about this time, I start fuming and my wife starts to wonder if it might be a good idea for her and my daughter to get a hotel room for the day -- for safety.

In a near panic, I switch the receiver to channel 710 (the Sunday Ticket channel carrying the game) and at 1:00 EDT, the game comes on. Whew.

What happened?

My best guess at the moment is as follows: Despite the fact that Brevard County has always been Jacksonville territory, every year there is a massive petition to formally switch to be recognized as Dolphins territory. This doesn't surprise me, because in my ten years here, I have met one Jaguar fan. My guess is that they finally listened.

So in the span of about 20 minutes, I was convinced that the Jacksonville Jaguars had been blacked out, and then relieved that the population of my community has successfully rejected them.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, everybody!!

First Quarter
  • On the first drive of the game, the Texans were able to move the ball really well, but only came away with three points. I really like the heavy use of Ben Tate; he needs more touches than he got last week. Don't get me wrong, Arian Foster is still the guy and needs the majority of carries, but Tate needs more of a presence than he had last week.
  • Sure I'd prefer a touchdown there, but if the team can move the ball this effectively all day, it will be a comfortable game for the boys from Houston.
  • J.J. Watt is already making his presence felt with a tackle for a loss and a pass deflection. And I must say, I LOVE the Dikembe Mutombo finger waggle.
  • The referee just started announcing a penalty while facing the wrong way. You know, as long as they can keep the bad calls about the same as the old refs, they might be better just for comedy's sake.
  • Trindon Holliday looks much better this week. If he can start playing with confidence, it can give this team a dimension that almost wouldn't be fair to the rest of the league.
  • That was an absolutely stellar 25-yard almost-TD run by Ben Tate. Regardless of whether he stepped out or not, I love having him involved early. I do feel kind of bad that Foster stole his touchdown, but on the other hand, Tate had his chance. As much as I've been loving on him today, he's still the backup.
  • At the end of the first quarter, Blaine Gabbert is 2-4 for 8 yards, which suggests that his touted improvement may in fact, be real. MJD is putting up some rushing yards, but down 10 already, the Jaguars are going to have to throw the ball. That makes me toast my homebrew to nobody in particular. I am alone.
Second Quarter
  • J.J. Watt's blocks are awesome to watch as a Texans fan, but they have to be absolutely demoralizing for the other team.
  • I have never watched an episode of Survivor and I don't plan to start until someone doesn't survive.
  • Being limited by the camera angles, it's hard to tell if the Jaguars are really playing good coverage or if the Texans are just happy to dink and dunk along, but there has been absolutely nothing downfield. We'll have to see how this develops.
  • Seems to me like Matt Schaub is doing a better job of identifying and quickly reacting to blitzers and otherwise free rushers than he has in the past. That is key to sustaining drives, taking fewer hits, and further wearing out a defense.
  • James Casey has already had a few nice receptions in this game, but the fact that he can do that and then still lay out the effective, if not explosive, block to open the hole for Ben Tate's touchdown is why I <3 him.
  • Shayne Graham just went all Neil Rackers on us.
  • Donny Jones just punted, but I can't help but feel like it's just a minor speed bump on the way to the Texans' next possession.
  • They just showed a shot of some Jacksonville fans putting on ponchos, while the Texans fans sitting next to them were not. I don't think it was actually raining on the Texans fans.
Halftime
  • Blaine Gabbert's halftime stats: 4/11 for 13 yards and two sacks. That means his productivity actually went down after the first quarter.
  • Matt Schaub's halftime stats: 16/24 for 124 yards.
  • We're starting to see why Jacksonville spent a third round pick on a punter. When you're going to punt that much, it's a really important position.
Third Quarter
  • The third quarter has started, and I'm kicking back with a homebrew wondering if next Saturday would be better spent on the golf course or getting done some much needed housework. This new life as a Texans fan is far more relaxing.
  • The Jaguars just forced a three and out and they're celebrating like they just won something. These little victories are important to them.
  • And there goes the shutout. I want to hate on Bradie James for bad coverage, but I think I just have to credit Maurice Jones-Drew for a good play. I hate doing that. James actually did a good job of recognizing the play, but he just got turned around too much.
  • When Marv Alberts says that, "This crowd has come alive," I can't help but feel like he's really stretching to sell the moment.
  • Ben Tate just had a reception for a first down. It first looked like Tate missed an assignment on the play action, then he caught the ball and started dancing. Ultimately, he managed to get the first down, but it was far from a direct run. My response to the play was the classic, "NO, NO, what are you doing?!.... Nice play!"
  • After the Jaguars scored and started to briefly believe, the Texans rattled off a 17 play, 80 yard touchdown drive that took over nine minutes. I'm pretty sure that I heard the field mics pick up Rick Dennison as he called in the final play that Ben Tate took in for a touchdown. The play was called "17-7 FU Jville." On the bright side, Jacksonville's crowd is still alive.
  • Bryan Anger continues to be Jacksonville's best player.
  • At the end of the third quarter, Blaine Gabbert's stats are as follows: 7/17, 53 yds, 1 TD, 2 sacks. Hey, he really has improved!!
Fourth Quarter
  • I'm not proud of this, but I kind of enjoy those Sonic commercials with the two guys eating in the car.
  • When the Texans drafted J.J. Watt, I remember thinking that I thought it was a good pick, but I just wan't that excited about it. I'm less proud of that than I am about liking the Sonic commercials.
  • At some point this season, the Texans are going to have a very difficult fourth quarter, and I will be too stressed out to take notes during that game. I apologize in advance.
  • Matt Schaub just ran a naked bootleg (which has fooled absolutely nobody today) and I thought he was throwing the ball out of bounds when he lobed a perfect pass to Owen Daniels. That will never make a highlight reel, but I absolutely LOVED that play.
  • My wife, as she does every weekend, is watching television in the bedroom while I'm in the living room. I'm fairly certain that the absolute silence emanating from the living room has her a little bit concerned.
  • Blaine Gabbert is apparently out with a leg injury. There's at least a 50% chance that Mike Mularkey just pulled him from the game and told him to limp so that he didn't have to answer QB controversy questions in the post game interview.
  • Chad Henne, ladies and gentlemen!!
  • Whitney Mercilus just committed an offsides penalty, and I just murmured to myself, "Well, he's a rookie; he'll learn." It is such a wonderful feeling to be able to give rookies a chance to actually grow and develop and to not be relying on them so much.
  • J.J. Watt with a fumble recovery. In other news, J.J. Watt just changed my daughter's diaper, helped my grandmother cross the street, and proposed a plan for economic recovery.
  • I absolutely love it when the third string running back is running out the clock. Game. Set. Match.
  • Blaine Gabbert's final stats: 7/19 for 53 yards, with 1 TD, 2 sacks, and a good punter.
For the second consecutive week, the Texans have won comfortably. The two opponents haven't been the most challenging in the world, but the Texans did exactly what they were supposed to do against them. The schedule becomes more challenging in the coming weeks, and we cannot expect this sort of domination to continue, but for now, we have to be very proud of the way this team has played.

Game Balls:

Offense: Ben Tate. Foster had more carries and yards, but Tate did more with them.

Defense: J.J. Watt. Again.

Special Teams: Trindon Holliday. No, he didn't dazzle, and yes, he still had one muffed punt, but his improvement was significant, and I'm hoping that perhaps he reads HotD and perhaps, this can help him continue to grow that confidence.
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