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A Review Of The Texans' Infirmary... Um... Game Against Jacksonville

Reports have recently surfaced that T.J. Yates did not fly back from Jacksonville with the rest of the team, but was instead packaged in a crate with foam peanuts and slowly driven back to Houston with a police escort.
Reports have recently surfaced that T.J. Yates did not fly back from Jacksonville with the rest of the team, but was instead packaged in a crate with foam peanuts and slowly driven back to Houston with a police escort.

Has there ever been a less satisfying victory in Texans' history?  The Texans are 8-3, with a two game lead in the division.  They are 4-0 in division play, boast the greatest defense in team history, a potent running game, an incredible receiving corps, and are in line to host a playoff game for the first time in team history.

Yet for some reason, I have that same Monday morning feeling that I do after a loss.  Oh yeah, it's probably because of that quarterback mess.

While it's true that any player can get hurt at any time, I never though that the Matt Leinart experience was going to last just two freaking quarters.  Now we're facing a situation where T.J. Yates will be leading your Houston Texans to the playoffs. 

If I believed in a higher power that cared enough to influence football games, I'd seriously be questioning what the hell Texans fans did to piss him/her/it off.  Is it possible that Bud Adams really did sell his soul to the devil and part of the deal is the never ending suffering of Texans fans?  Did Bob McNair dig up the remains of an ancient Native American chieftain to install a goal post?  Did Gary Kubiak steal a battle red ruby from Tutankhamen's tomb?

Well, I can't answer those questions, but let's take a quick look back at what happened yesterday and remind ourselves that the Texans did, in fact, win.

Here we go:

  • It's rather irrelevant now, but I think that Matt Leinart was getting a bit of a bad rap for his play.  Do I wish he would have gone downfield more?  Sure, but he did have a beautiful touchdown to Joel Dreessen and, more importantly, didn't make any mistakes.  He did pretty much exactly what I expected him to do.  Now, if he did that same checkdown crap for the next few games, I might have an issue, but remember, we didn't need Leinart to take over games -- just to manage them.  Again, this is irrelevant now, but the plan for Yates should be the same.
  • Did it seem to anyone else that the takedown of Leinart was borderline "driving the quarterback to the ground"? 
  • Matt Schaub, Matt Leinart, and Mario Williams are all out for the season (assuming reports are true that Leinart's injury is in fact season-ending).  I'm not trying to read too much into this, but if I were a Texans player whose first name started with the letter "M", I'd be a little more careful these days.  Does anybody know the extent of Mister Alexander's injury?
  • Arian Foster's 43 yard run aside, the running game was atrocious yesterday.  According to Advanced NFL Stats, Foster had a -0.34 WPA and -13.4 EPA.  This was heavily impacted by his fumble, but even more so by the 25.8% success rate.  That's bad.  It's not all on Foster either, as he got very little help up front.  The Jags are the 5th ranked run defense according to Football Outsiders and are also in the top 5 in Advanced NFL Stats.  Still, the Texans are going to have to find a way to make the running game work with T.J. Yates now driving the bus. 
  • Does anyone else feel like punching the crap out of the guys in those McDonald's commercials? 
  • Apparently Peyton Manning is more important to the Colts' defense than either Matt Schaub or Matt Leinart are to the Texans' defense.
  • I have absolutely no idea what to expect from the T.J. Yates experience, but I was impressed with his arm strength and poise under pressure.  
  • That said, I have a very difficult time envisioning the Texans winning a playoff game behind the play of a fifth round rookie quarterback.
  • If you feel that T.J. Yates is not much of a step down from Matt Leinart, I think that speaks more to your feelings about Matt Leinart than your feelings about T.J. Yates, and it's probably not a good thing.
  • Does drinking Miller Light really scream "Man" to anyone?  I'd say that as far as beer goes, anything "light" is a bit of a knock on your man card in itself. 
  • Speaking of Miller Light, adding hops three times during the brewing process doesn't really mean much if you don't also tell me the volume of hops, the type of hops or the time at which they were added.  Different hops provide different levels of flavor or aroma and the time at which you add them determines their impact.  Think of hops as the equivalent of chilli peppers in salsa.  The difference between a jalapeno and a habanero is huge, as is the difference between saaz hops and chinook hops.  It's the equivalent of saying "I add chili peppers three times when I make my salsa," but if that only means you cut up one jalapeno and put it in at three different times, it's not that impressive.
  • I have no idea why these commercials get me so worked up.  I blame the injuries.
  • I know I'm in the minority, but I had no problem with the play calling in the fourth quarter.  The Jaguars had scored 3 offensive points in the game to that point and over the course of seven quarters this year had not proven that they can move the ball against the Texans' defense.  Running Arian Foster into a wall may not be exciting, but it was safe (earlier fumbles notwithstanding) and probably killed a good five minutes.  Letting Yates air it out only increases the probability of something going wrong and giving the Jaguars another cheapie touchdown. 
  • You also have to add in the fact that should anything happen to Yates, you're looking at Owen Daniels taking snaps.  While I'm sure OD can play a better quarterback than say, Blaine Gabbert, the risk of throwing the ball in that position far outweighs the potential reward.
  • Even still, one has to wonder what sort of atrocities Ben Tate did to Gary Kubiak's puppy to warrant a meager five touches.  While the blame for the inability to run the ball must be shared, giving Tate a few touches doesn't alter that risk/reward analysis.  Sure Tate has had some late game fumbles, but Foster didn't exactly have a death grip out there.
  • Between T.J. Yates, J.J. Watt, and nicknames such as OD, AJ, and JJ, one will soon be able to refer to the entire Texans roster using only initials.
  • I'm not generally one to point fingers at referees, and I'd say that most of the calls that may be considered "questionable" could have gone either way, but the personal foul on the J.J. Watt sack was atrocious.  The fact that they couldn't even explain it made it worse. 
  • Even more so, how was that a more egregious violation than the head shot to a sliding Yates a few minutes later?
  • My sister lived in Jacksonville for a while, so I've spent a decent amount of time in that city.  As far as the cities in Florida that I would enjoy spending time in, I'd rank Jacksonville towards the bottom of the list -- probably only above Gainesville.  The only redeeming factor of the area is the TPC at Sawgrass (though it's technically Ponte Vedra), so as a Floridian, I'd be perfectly happy trading Jacksonville to Georgia in exchange for a basket of peaches. 
  • Ok, fine, I'd be OK with raising the tax rate to pay Georgia to take Jacksonville.
  • Even though I technically live in Jacksonville viewing territory, the powers that be decided to play the Bills at Jets game over the Jacksonville home game, despite it being a "sell out".  Thank goodness for Sunday Ticket.
  • Hey, did you see Kareem Jackson with another pass interference call?  I know Solomon Wilcotts said it was a weak call, and maybe it was, but Jackson clearly had no idea where the ball was, nor did he make an effort to play it.  
  • I think Kareem Jackson has officially entered the Amobi Okoye memorial "I don't care how young you are, at some point you need to show some sense of ability" zone.  In fact, Kareem Jackson has made far fewer plays than Amobi Okoye did in his first two years and has been involved in far more disasters.
  • Johnathan Joseph, on the other hand, made a brilliant play on the ball with his interception.  While it was a poorly thrown ball, he timed his jump perfectly and stole it from the receiver.
  • What can you say about the Texans' pass rush?  It was clear that by the second half, Blaine Gabbert was taking the snap and looking for the rush.  At one point, they showed him walking off the field and he had the look of a beaten man.  I loved it.
  • If the Texans continue to play well and win the division, doesn't Kubiak have to get consideration for Coach of the Year?  No other coach has faced this level of adversity. 
  • On second thought, does Coach of the Year have to go to a head coach or can Wade Phillips get consideration too?  Can they split it?
  • Texans vs Jaguars coverage