Good news? Justin James Watt is only 23 years old. He is years away from his prime. - Jared Wickerham
There are people to blame, people to praise, and a lot to sort through after a 41-28 playoff exit.
I want to start this by thanking all you crazy readers for staying on this crazy train. The conversations are lively, obsessive, and appreciated. It's fun to write for such an engaged group. Secondly, I want to thank the rest of the staff for putting out great content day after day and forcing me to up my game alongside with them. It's an insanely talented group that I'm honored to be apart of. Every season is better than the last, so hopefully 2013 will be the best yet. Enough with the sentiment. Let's get down to business.
Two years ago, I wrote a post-game post entitled "Unsung Heroes." After thinking it needed to evolve, I came up with "G.O.A.T.s," but I think it is still incomplete. For starters, I am not consistent with the use of "Get On" and "Get Off" and apply them pretty liberally. The best way to go about uniformed consistency? Tweak the format a bit and combine both the 'heroes' and 'goats' terms to praise, blame, and all around talk about the game.
Hero Of The Game: With 3:30 remaining in the second quarter and the Houston Texans down 17-3, running back Arian Foster showed why the franchise gave him a lucrative contract extension last offseason. Foster ripped off a 21-yard gain and followed it up with 19 more yards. On both runs, Foster had the look of a ticked off and angry man. He ran hard and violently through the hole. Three red zone rushes later, Foster punched it in for a touchdown.
Foster was the Foster that had not been seen all season, active as a receiver and runner. The Master of the Namaste ran for 91 yards and a rushing touchdown and caught seven passes for 63 yards and another touchdown. He was just 16 yards from making Brett 100% correct on his pre-game prediction. All in all, Foster showed his versatility and really played like a star when his team needed it.
Goat Of The Game: Another performance against the New England Patriots and Wade Phillips' defense was torched for another 40-plus points. For whatever reason, Wade thought it was a good idea to play inside linebacker Barrett Ruud on Rob Gronkowski, Shane Vereen, and/or Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez had all the space he wanted on those drag routes underneath, and the Texans kept blitzing Tom Brady to no effect. Lastly, Shiloh Keo still kept coming onto the field while Stanford Routt rotted away on the inactive list.
I appreciate what Wade has done for the Texans, but he does not seem interested in making adjustments. Yes, injuries depleted inside linebacker, but there were no adjustments made to cover that void. With Glover Quin, Shaun Cody, Connor Barwin, and voids at inside linebacker and safety depth, Houston fans get to see what Wade does with his personnel. Will he fight to maintain? Will he fight to add youth and athleticism? The defense needs improvement in the middle of the field, against tight ends, and against mobile quarterbacks. There is a lot of pressure on Wade's bunch to earn their Bulls on Parade moniker back.
What about you, BRBers? Throw out some heroes and goats for yesterday's AFC Divisional Playoff game.
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