Pardon the blatant abuse of Bon Jovi in the title to this post, if you will. As I was debating how to recap yesterday's game, I was struck by the duality of your Houston Texans after their loss to the Jaguars of Jacksonville. On one hand, the passing game looked terrific. On the other hand, the running game continued to look like it has since the franchise's inception. Which is to say, inconsistent at best, and nonexistent at worst. Still, that middling effort was far better than what we saw out of the defense, particularly in the second half. And no matter what kind of spin we try to put on it, the fact remains that your Houston Texans have lost three (3) in a row, two (2) of which were within the division. Dress it up all you want, but that burns.
The breaking dawn on the horizon, of course, is that the good guys don't have to leave their new open-air stadium for the next month. And while I'd certainly rather be catching the Colts with a semblance of momentum and/or not coming off their bye week, they haven't looked like the Colts we've grown accustomed to
crushing our collective will to live playing, and they've got some real injury issues of their own. After Indy, the Texans host Miami, Detroit, and Cincinnati. While it's admittedly unreasonable to think the hometown team is going to rattle off four (4) wins in a row, it's not entirely insane to hope that they take three (3) of the next four.
So how does this tie in to yesterday afternoon's loss? Before yesterday, the Texans had not given us a reason to think they were capable of winning three (3) games all season, much less three of their next four. Now? We can at least hope. As I've realized that being a Texans fan is the sporting equivalent of being Andy Dufresne, all I can say is that hope is a good thing, and no good thing ever dies. Unless your secondary murders it. Segue, baby!
1. I really have nothing good to say about any of the Houston defensive backs. They can't tackle, and they can't cover. I'm no expert, but I think the chronic failure to do both of those things bodes very poorly for them (and by extension, us) for the rest of the season.
2. Staying on the secondary, C.C. Brown broke his arm and is out for the season. Normally, it'd be a huge blow to lose your starting strong safety. And hell, maybe it will be in C.C.'s case. But I believe there's an excellent chance that whoever takes over the starting gig (Dominique Barber? Nick Ferguson?) cannot be any worse. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.
3. Jacques Reeves can stay stride for stride with any WR in the league. Unfortunately for us, playing CB requires the occasional movement of one's arms and/or turning of one's head. Both of those qualities seem to be beyond Pepe Le Pew's skill set.
4. Fred Bennett just makes me sad. Remember how good he was last year?
5. DeMeco made some unreal plays yesterday, but he also missed what might have been the biggest tackle of his professional career in overtime (ended up setting up the winning FG for Scobee). Scobee would've probably hit anything closer than 55 yards out, so in the final analysis, it's not like it was catastrophic, but still...I expect more from the leader of the defense.
6. When did Quincy Monk steal Morlon Greenwood's identity and roster spot?
7. The pass rush is still mostly a figment of my imagination, but the Texans did put David Garrard on his back quite a few times, albeit not for sacks. Super Mario might as well have had a saddle on his back throughout most of the game, yet he still managed to be disruptive. I also really liked what I saw from Earl Cochran; he was about 758 times more active than Anthony Weaver's corpse usually is.
8. At DT, Amobi Okoye continues to be a complete non-factor. What the hell's the deal? Is he too small/light to penetrate and/or tie up blockers? Does he need a planetoid like Frank Okam playing next to him to allow him to contribute? Whatever the hold-up is, Richard Smith had better figure out how to take advantage of Okoye's talent. I hesitate to put too much of Okoye's struggles on Okoye himself, purely because I remember how effective he looked early in his rookie season. Plus, the thought of the Texans whiffing on two (2) first-round defensive tackles in a three (3) year period makes me want to jam a pair of scissors in my eye.
9. Travis Johnson was healthy enough to play, yet he didn't get the start. Jeff Zgonina ain't Warren Sapp, but at least he's not a headcase liable to pick up a personal foul or two, all the while running his mouth at a rate approximately 235 times faster than he moves in the trenches.
10. In the time it's taken you to read this far, David Garrard could have completed fifteen (15) consecutive slants without Richard Smith making a single adjustment. On a related note, perhaps our venerable defensive coordinator has used the thirty (30) hours since the game ended to figure out that maybe, just maybe, it might be a good idea to spy David Garrard instead of letting him singlehandedly scramble down the middle of the field what seemed like eight (8) straight times.
11. Kris Brown continues to be the most consistent player on the entire roster.
12. What does it say about Jacoby Jones that I would have rather had him not touch the ball, allowing it to be downed at the one-yard line, instead of picking it up and trying to return it? I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown every time he fields a punt and/or catches a pass.
13. Final word on special teams: I'm no professional football player or coach, but I believe a timeout might be warranted when you notice Jacksonville's "punt team" does not actually feature anyone lining up to punt the ball. And as bad as that was, the abhorrent tackling featured after the snap actually took the cake. Bravo, Petey Faggins.
14. The Schaub was, in a word, brilliant. He made the right reads, went through his progressions, protected the ball, and all in all looked absolutely nothing like the fraud we saw in the first two games of the season. It was undeniably the biggest game of his professional career, and Matt Schaub played his position about as well as it can be played. Kudos to Kubes as well for scripting the first several plays to feature short passes that would allow Schaub to get into a rhythm and build his confidence. Simply a superlative performance, and I have no doubt The Schaub would have led the Texans to victory if we hadn't lost the coin flip at the beginning of overtime.
15. Owen Daniels showed why he is one of the, if not the, best young TE(s) in the NFL--made some tough catches and picked up yards after the catch.
16. I know it's stupid, but I'm worried about Andre Johnson. Tremendous catch in the middle of the field late in the fourth quarter aside, he just doesn't look like the 'Dre we all know and love. He's more decoy than No. 1 WR right now. What gives?
17. Thankfully, Kevin Walter was there to pick up his slack (and/or vulture his TDs, if you're a 'Dre fantasy owner). He seemed to pick up that crucial last yard to cross the marker whenever the situation called for it, and he flashed the skills that shocked everyone not named Gary Kubiak last season. More, please.
18. Stupendous job in pass protection by the OL. The Schaub was clean all day, and we were all reminded of how effective the passing game can be if he's given time to throw. I was particularly impressed with the interior of the line, especially after the beating(s) they took in the first two games.
19. It's a really, really good thing that we hardly ever hear an announcer utter Duane Brown's name.
20. There weren't a ton of holes created for Steve Slaton to get through, but I loved the way he looked between the tackles. Factor in the additional facet the offense picks up by featuring him as a legitimate option out of the backfield, and Slaton could be a poor man's version of Brian Westbrook.
21. Is anyone else tickled that Ahman Green has lost out on $400,000.00 since the season opener? Given Slaton's emergence, at what point do you just send Green to the injured reserve?
22. Fake Game Balls: Offense--The Schaub; Defense--Super Mario; Special Teams--Kris Brown.
23. Did I really compare being a Texans fan to being wrongfully convicted, imprisoned, and brutalized at the beginning of this post? Hmmmmmm....so I did. And I stand by it. At least until the first win of '08.