Hair of the Dog: Mercifully Over (Texans @ Patriots)

Arian Foster personifies all Texans fans - Jared Wickerham

The Texans season is at an end. The Texans did not go out with grace or style, but rather left a legacy like David Carradine. At least it's over. Let the healing begin.

I spent the past week in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show and was able to witness some of the most amazing developments in the world of consumer electronics.

Among the things that I saw were flexible TV screens, TVs with 16 times the resolution of normal HD, speakers that make your bones shake, tablets that double as coffee tables, brain wave reading devices that help you relax, and about a million other things that I can't remember off the top of my head.

Attending such an event really speaks to the ingenuity and creativity of the men and women who work in the industry. And while the large booths such as Panasonic, Sony, LG, and Samsung were brilliant and impressive, the truly outstanding ones were the smaller companies that don't have the funding of the giants.

These companies are often the ones developing the cutting edge technology and struggle to stand out in the mass of lights and sounds. To survive to next year's show, they have to be smarter, more flexible, and more resourceful than the guys in the booths next to them.

While the Texans don't have the challenge of standing out -- they're front and center -- they do have a lot of the other challenges that I observed at CES. They are going up against a juggernaut that embarrassed them on national television just a few weeks ago. In order to survive to play another day, they must not rely on the same approach that they used last time. They must get creative, take risks, and remain persistent in their desire to win.

Pre-Game:

MDC:

So...after Trindon and Jacoby yesterday, if Keshawn Martin looks terrible as a return man today, is that enough to get Marciano fired?

Very well. Carry on.

No? Not even close?

UT:

The Texans better win today, otherwise I may go on a killing spree.

Rivers:

If you don't take Joe out first I'm questioning your motives.

UT:

Sorry, he's high on the list, but Clay Bennett and Bud Adams are priorities 1 and 1A.

Rivers:

Whatever, you're stealing Sacramento's team.

UT:

Not bloody likely at this rate. The idiot Maloofs will probably sell to a buyer from Cheyenne just to piss everybody off.

TDC:

I have never been more pumped up for a Texans game.

Shock. The. World.

Brett:

I stand by my predictions.

"1. Arian Foster has 8 catches for at least 60 yards.

2. Owen Daniels gets at least 8 catches for over 100 yards. He will convert no less than two first downs on dump-offs behind heavy blitzes.

3. Andre Johnson gets at least one reception over 40 yards on a double move against Aqib Talib.

4. Garrett Graham makes two catches of at least 20 yards on naked boot throwbacks.

5. Arian Foster rushes for 130 and 2 touchdowns. Three runs of at least 15 yards will come outside of Duane Brown.

6. Texans 34, Patriots 31. Who needs defense, right?"

Vega:

I cannot commit to any rational thought for the next three hours.

I can only hope that I'm still married when it's all said and done.

MDC:

Here's a bonus prediction: if/when the Texans win, it will be in part because either Bradie James or Shaun Cody does something that makes you not hate them quite as much.

First Quarter:

TDC:

Oh no. Special Teams. Fear.

TDC:

STEVE TASKER!!!! Hooray! Field Goals are worth 4 points today!

UT:

Oh...my...God. On one hand I can't believe what I'm seeing. On the other hand, this'll keep Marciano employed.

Vega:

Would you trade a win today for another year of Marciano? I think so.

MDC:

We cannot settle for a FG here.

TDC:

Drops are killers. So are overthrows.

MDC (after the Texans settled for a field goal):

KITTEN KITTEN MOTHERKITTENER. GODDAMNIT. KITTEN. NO.

BFD:

Our ability to score touchdowns is precisely why I have no faith in this team today. Absolutely pathetic showing in the red zone yet again.

Vega:

Well, at least we have a lead. That didn't happen last time.

Tim:

Casey has to make that catch. Has to. Settling for FGs is no way to
beat Tom Brady.

Vega:

Kareem Jackson on Welker.

UT:

My God, a three and out. I don't remember them getting one last time.

Rivers:

There were three in a row!

...after they were down 21-0.

Vega:

My daughter is dancing in front of the TV. That's a good sign. Last time she was crying.

MDC:

She's an awesome kid.

Also, I'm convinced that your cat is good luck (and I loathe cats); Houston started its comeback v. Jax when that fat bastard waddled into the living room.

Vega:

She's now also crawling around and meowing. That's got to count for something, right?

Tim:

Thanks, Brett and Danny, for now making me look to see if Wade is
pressuring Brady with only four on every snap now.

Needless to say, I almost vomited on that third down play.

Brett:

Base 5-2 in so far. Ruud/Quin on the TE's it looks like.

TDC:

End Around has evolved into End Around Fake Screen

Vega:

Big hit on Welker. Made the catch, but those can build up

TDC:

I love J.J. Watt.

UT:

UNLEASH THE JUGGERWATT!

TDC:

That's about the 3rd time Wade's put Watt right over the center.

/pats self on back

Brett:

Lucky drop. Welkah punked Harris there.

Tim:

I think Gronkowski may have broken that forearm again.

Vega:

Would love to see Foster get going.

MDC:

Watt has literally become everything we wanted Wade to do with Mario. It's official. And I love it.

MDC:

Dre has Talib set up for the double move now. RELEASE THE KRAKEN!

Vega:

So Bradie James can't push someone out of bounds when they're inches from the line.

BFD:

And there's the kittening difference: they score TDs while we score FGs.

Rivers:

Also they don't employ Bradie James and Barrett Ruud to cover Aaron Hernandez.

BFD:

James and Ruud might as well be out there with targets on their jerseys.

Tim:

It's Wade's move now. NE adjusted nicely on that last drive

TDC:

Checkdowns to Arian are faring nicely.

Second Quarter:

Brett:

We need a TD here and now. Have to keep pace.

UT:

Or we could run up the middle to Wilfork again.

BFD:

The Texans can give me an erection lasting more than four hours with a win this evening.

Vega:

Texans offense not showing that they've learned anything so far.

MDC:

Nope. They've gone right back to the playbook from the first matchup.

I'll say it right now: if the Patriots score another TD and make it 14-3, this shit is over.

BFD:

Keo has no idea what he's doing out on the field.

Rivers:

You can read this e-mail two different ways, and both of them are right.

UT:

I'm trying not to be too pessimistic, but goddamn this defense isn't giving me much to work with.

MDC:

So let me get this straight: the Texans have very good success rushing only four on the first drive, so they start rushing five and six after that? Brilliant.

UT:

Well, if you figure that rushing four works, then five, six, 11 players must but ultra mega-effective!

Vega:

Nice to hold them to a field goal, but utterly meaningless if the offense can't figure something out.

MDC:

Is it really asking too much for Schaub to just make me think that he's actually better than Yates? That's all I want right now.

UT:

So let's see if I got this right. Newton called for holding and the guy he's holding STILL brings Foster down for a loss?

Kitten Derek Newton

MDC:

Five yard passes on 3rd and 12 make me want to kill everyone I've ever met.

Rivers:

Am I being too alarmist by asking why we're punting here? Cause we need points and stuff.

BFD:

There was not a man on our left side gunner. And I don't think Jones noticed it.

MDC:

Even if he'd noticed, I have zero doubt that Joe Marciano doesn't give Donnie Jones the freedom to audible into something else.

Brett:

We're fine. Only one possession difference.

MDC:

One possession for a team that scores TDs, you mean.

MDC (after Patriots' TD):

That's ballgame, kids.

Rivers:

How much did you pick the Texans to win this game by?

MDC:

Ultimately, 4. Originally, 10, but I revised by the time we made our picks in print.

Rivers:

Welllllllp.

UT:

KJax is so used to getting called for PI that he raised his hands and let Welker get away with the ball.

If I weren't so pissed, I'd be laughing.

BFD:

I don't think there's any reason to think we can score 17 that doesn't include trash time scores. I do like that we're being more aggressive and pushing the ball better than normal, but this is still ugly. Already.

MDC:

"Aggressive" under Kubiak means "four-yard passes instead of running draws on third and 12."

MDC:

Raise your hand if you're less-than-thrilled about Matt Schaub getting a contract extension. Because I am.

Rivers:

#TradeUpForTylerWilson

MDC:

I like to think of myself as "nowhere near drunk enough to pretend like this team is (a) going to score more than 17 or (b) hold the Patriots from scoring for the remainder of the game."

UT:

Thank you for deciding to join us today, Foster!

MDC:

Ball at the 8. Hope Shayne Graham has his leg warmed up.

Brett:

Score here, get a stop, get a field goal.

MDC:

I want to keep believing, Brett. I really do.

UT:

You mean...we're getting more than three points at the end of a drive?

We can do that?!!?

Rivers:

Stand up MDC. Keep the faith going.

Me and BFD have the pessimists corner held down.

MDC:

Keep them from scoring here and you've got yourselves a game, gentlemen.

BFD:

That's the optimism, Matty!

MDC (after Keo avoided another special teams penalty):

Thank goodness for gravity and blind luck.

UT:

Reports of the Texans demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Oh, and thank god I don't have to murder Shiloh Keo.

MDC:

That's Captain Shiloh Keo to you, Patrick.

BFD:

I guess, to get into Graham's range, we need to get within the 10?

Vega:

Shayne Graham from 55?!?!?!?!?!

Speechless.

TDC:

Shayne Graham hit a career long. Holy. Kitten.

UT:

Excuse me...I think I've somehow wound up in a parallel universe. Could you tell me how in the name of everything holy he made that kick?

MDC:

I ... just ... what ... Shayne ... kick ... thing ... what ...

Brett:

ANYBODY ELSE WANT TO DOUBT ME?

MDC:

Outdoors. On the road. Under pressure.

Nothing makes sense. I feel dirty for giving up earlier. Do you believe in miracles?!

TDC:

What the hell just happened?! 10 points within a minute? 55-yards?! WHAT?!

Tim:

Shayne Graham hits from 55 outdoors. Up is down. Cats and dogs,
living together.

BFD:

MASS HYSTERIA.

Half Time:

TDC:

Ever since I made a shirt change: Texans are winning 10-0.

You're welcome.

MDC:

I'm considering going back to the Foster jersey (my typical home-watching shirt) on top of the Dre t-shirt that I've only worn for one game (Bengals last week). Double luck or luck cancelling? The group must vote.

Brett:

All I wanted this week was a game that wasn't as heart pounding as all the others this week. I guess I won't get my wish.

TDC:

Luck-cancelling. You have to go one or the other. Can't go wrong with 'Dre.

UT:

I'm wearing a Watt jersey over a Texans shirt. Did the same thing last week. Only time I haven't was week 17.

So I'd say double luck.

Brett:

Wearing my Watt Jersey as well. May it shield me from all these terrible Two Broke Girls promos.

Third Quarter

Vega:

So Shayne Graham can hit a 55 yard field goal, but he can't get a kickoff to the 10?

Brett:

Oh so you can just push DB's down now?

TDC:

Tired of seeing failed blitzes. Tired of seeing uncovered tight ends. Tired of New England's rushing touchdown.

Rivers:

Tired of Bradie James.

UT:

Tired of the kittening Patriots, period.

Rivers:

Text from a friend: "Who let Mike Stoops take over as Texans defensive coordinator?"

I think that says it all.

UT:

I don't think I've ever been so happy for a play to be called third down.

MDC:

What's with the retarded kittening official saying Patriots ball after the line judge had already said forward progress?

MDC:

Schaub gets away from pressure, actually has time, and then just chucks it out of bounds?! Goddamnit, I'm so tired of him. Seriously, kitten that guy. Win or lose.

Vega:

What do you expect him to do. Run?

Brett:

Need a long ass TD drive here. 7 minutes of smash mouth grown man football.

UT:

Foster totally bailed Schaub out there.

Vega:

Did Schaub really just cause his own fumble?

MDC:

And then fell on it with no one around because he has the self-awareness of Snookie.

TDC:

ANDRE LAMONT JOHNSON.

MDC:

Simms praising the throw to AJ instead of AJ's ability to adjust to whatever crap Schaub flings out there.

UT:

There's our WTF interception.

Life is not worth living right now.

MDC:

Matt Schaub is goddamned terrible.

TDC:

I've long been a Schaub defender, but I am being tested today.

Vega:

Matt Schaub is getting progressively worse.

BFD:

How has he become so kitteny in the past seven or so games? I don't get it, but he's pretty awful again today.

UT:

We've secretly replaced Matt Schaub with David Carr.

Let's see if anybody notices!

MDC:

Oh, hey, look...more blitzing. Because that's working well.

Vega:

How is it remotely kittening possible to be so unprepared for the fact that New England is going to play hurry up??

BFD:

This might have to be the most disappointing season I've had as Texans fan. 11-1, then losing homefield advantage, then being embarrassed by the Patriots twice in a season. This is kitteny.

Vega:

Hey, I've got a great idea. Let's run at Wilfork twice. That'll get us back in the game.

Fourth Quarter:

Tim:

You run a kittening pitch on third and one? Really, Gary?

Vega:

Why don't you rush the snap there?! That's just basic fucking strategy.

Tim:

That's not on the chart.

UT:

Well...silver lining in a cloud of impenetrable kitten. They got the first down.

And Schaub runs. Now THAT'S precious.

MDC:

I'd prefer that he would have run on the play where running might have actually yielded something.

Vega:

That was your fourth down play?!

With the kittening season on that line, that's what you came up with?!

Brett (after the New England touchdown):

You've got to be kittening kidding me.

Tim:

Well, the crippling sense of total embarrassment didn't set in until late in the third quarter this time. I suppose that qualifies as progress.

UT:

I think the Texans will return to Houston in utmost secrecy.

Otherwise, there'll be a mob with pitchforks and torches waiting for them to return.

I'll be in that mob...in spirit at least.

MDC:

More to blame today: Gary Kubiak, Matt Schaub, or Wade Phillips?

UT:

Yes.

Though I'd lean more toward Schaub.

BFD:

Well, gentlemen, this season has been like getting a date with the prom queen. You've heard she'll do anything you want, but when you finally go out with her, you learn she feels she's really a man in a woman's body.

And, yeah, I feel like I'm getting boned watching this game.

MDC:

Bonus: Joe Marciano has saved his job tonight. Because kitten continues to get worse.

Well, at this point my email stopped working, but that's probably better for everyone involved. Either that, or the rest of the guys decided on seppuku and didn't invite me.

I'm pretty sure it would have played out as follows: the Texans scored a few touchdowns, nobody got too excited about it, there was a lot of cursing, and ultimately it was over.

The Texans played better than they did last time, but that's kind of like being the valedictorian of summer school. The fact of the matter is that the Texans were outplayed, and though they had some nice moments, they were never really in this game. I guess the silver lining is that it doesn't feel as if the result would have been different had the game been in Reliant.

It's sad. The team is in the same place they were last year, but I'm not nearly as proud of their performance as I was at that point. The team was expected to take another step forward, and started off the season as well as could be expected.

Then they folded like a nun at a poker game.

The effort seemed to be there, but the preparation, play calling, and execution were just gone. Hopefully the team learns something in the offseason, but for now, I'm just disappointed to be a Texans fan.

Game Balls:

Offense: Arian Foster. He played well, but it wasn't enough.

Defense: Hard to go with anyone here, even J.J. Watt. Nobody played well. But I'll go with J.J. Watt if only for respect for his season.

Special Teams: Danieal Manning. Although if this means that he saved Joe Marciano's job, he can go kitten himself.

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