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I Woke Up This Morning And It Was Not A Dream

According to Advanced NFL Stats, with three minutes to play, and the Bengals holding the ball, the Texans had a mere 13% probability of winning the game.

Around the same time (with about four and a half minutes left in that game), the Titans had a 74% chance of losing.

That means that around that time, the probability of both occurring and the Texans becoming the the AFC South champions was a mere 9.6%.

Yet somehow, T.J. Yates managed to morph into John Elway for the final few minutes and the Texans are division champs and headed to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Raise your hands if you saw that coming.


As the game progressed, I went through the whole gamut of emotions (as I'm sure all of you did). At halftime, I started rationalizing the loss and convincing myself that the team was unlikely to win out with a rookie quarterback, that the division was still likely, and that as long as Tennessee still lost, everything should be ok.

Then something weird happened. The Texans won.

And now I know how all those fans of the "other" teams felt last year.

Here are my thoughts.

  • The way the first half was going, it felt like all the problems we had worried about were coming to fruition. At half time, I found myself amazed that the Texans were only down 13. It felt worse.
  • Ben Tate has four fumbles on the season in 154 touches, or one every 38.5 touches. Arian Foster has three fumbles in 284 touches, or one every 94.7 touches (and that includes the WTF fumble from Sunday -- otherwise it would be one every 142 touches). For everyone clamoring for Tate to take over for Foster because of his higher yards-per-carry stat, keep that in mind.
  • Also keep in mind that Foster has 45 receptions to Tate's 8.
  • Tate's fumbles also seem to come in crucial moments. It makes me think that he's trying a bit too hard in those moments and forgetting that he needs to protect the ball. It may be a concentration issue.
  • Or it may just be random chance, but in my mind, Ben Tate is officially on Steve Slaton watch.
  • Johnathan Joseph may have had his worst game as a Texan, and one day later, the play that really stands out to me is the dropped interception early in the game. That was a touchdown.
  • I was watching the game on delay because a friend of mine had a birthday party for his one year old son, so I have no comments on commercials today.
  • That friend and his wife are some of the closest friends I've ever had, but who the hell throws a party on a Sunday afternoon?
  • During football season!
  • Overall, I thought the officiating was actually pretty good in this one. I thought the pass interference calls were called accurately, and I pretty much agreed with all the calls -- even if I didn't like them. That said, I still have no idea how that was ruled a fumble by Arian Foster instead of an incomplete pass. I also agree with Kubiak challenging the play, regardless of the outcome.
  • Owen Daniels may not have the speed, strength, or athleticism of some of the other tight ends in this league, but I would challenge anyone who doesn't think he has the best hands. The one handed grab on that fourth quarter drive was a thing of beauty.
  • The Bengals had two drives that started inside their own five and got ten points out of them. That. Can. Not. Happen.
  • Midway through the second of those drives, I thought to myself that, to that point, T.J. Yates had played as well as we needed him to, and had the defense and running game not been playing below expectations, the Texans are probably winning.
  • Last week, I wrote the following:

When the playoffs come around, however, at some point, the Texans are going to have to rely on T.J. Yates to make plays, and this will be against difficult and competent playoff defenses (unless they're facing the Patriots), and it's tough to imagine that he won't struggle.

  • Please forgive my run-on sentence in that quote. I was really out of it.
  • On BRR a few weeks back, I talked myself into Matt Leinart, but said that hopefully the Matt Leinart Experience does not become the T.J. Yates Experience, because the Texans won't be able to handle that.
  • I would like to formally revisit my position on T.J. Yates and apologize to the Yates family. If you ever want to come to Melbourne, Florida and attend a Brevard County Manatees game (Milwaukee Brewers A affiliate), I promise to get you better seats than you had in Cincinnati.
  • I would also lobby them to convince T.J. to formally change his name to Teejay or "The Teej" because typing those periods after the "T" and "J" annoys me for some reason I cannot explain.
  • Setting aside the physical impossibility and the ethical questions (I am a married man, after all), I would like to make sweet love to T.J. Yates' 17-yard fourth quarter scramble.
  • A few weeks back, when analyzing Matt Schaub's fourth quarter performances, I also wrote this:

On the other hand, if we look at the data set of only those games where the team was trailing and tried to throw their way back into it, Schaub's drop in completion percentage does become statistically significant. So we can confidently say that in 2011, Matt Schaub has definitely experienced a drop in accuracy when trying to rally the team from behind. The interception and touchdown rates are still insignificant.

Here's what we can draw from this: While we can't absolutely say that Schaub is the primary reason for the team's failures in those games -- the other players also deserve some portion of the blame -- he definitely hasn't "put the team on his shoulders," "raised the level of play of his teammates," or any other cliche.

  • On Sunday, T.J. Yates was 12 for 19 (63%) in the fourth quarter. Technically, he was 12-21, but I'm not counting the two spikes.
  • Of course, in that same post about Schaub, I also said this:

On the other hand, what does it mean if you have a player who hasn't excelled late in games, but still ranks as one of the best in his position? It means that that player has been really damn good during the first three quarters.

  • Yates still needs to improve his accuracy early in the game and clean up his tendency to throw the ball high, so I'm not suggesting a quarterback controversy at all -- if Tim Tebow suddenly healed Schaub's foot, I would still put him back in as the starter -- but it looks like the Texans have found their quarterback of the future. Sorry, Leinart.
  • In the absurdly-preliminary-and-admittedly-over-reactionary segment of this post, I would like to note that Schaub is a free agent after next season. Again, I'm not advocating a change now, but should Yates continue to prove his ability over the rest of the season and in the playoffs, this could be a serious discussion point one year from now.
  • I believe history has now shown that, at least as far as the Texans are concerned, hair length and quarterbacking ability are inversely related. It is absolutely essential that going forward, all Texans quarterbacks be at least slightly balding and have a tight cut.
  • After treating Cedric Benson like he was a hound with bees in his mouth so every time he barked at you he shot bees at you, the Texans' defense held him to -1 yards in the second half. I would like to introduce you to the "defensive halftime adjustment".
  • It's no coincidence that the Texans' ability to perform the "defensive halftime adjustment" coincides with the team's first divisional title.
  • Neil Rackers should spend less time with the tackling dummy and more time kicking field goals. His miss at the end of the first half was a six point swing, as it gave the Bengals the field position to be able to kick a late field goal of their own.
  • Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones both made big catches late in the game. Walter's ability to hold on to the ball after getting drilled on the final drive specifically stands out.
  • In years past, when Andre Johnson got hurt, the offense would collapse on itself. Not so much anymore. Get healthy, Andre. I want to see you in pads during that first playoff game.
  • Gary Kubiak's case for Coach of the Year just got stronger.
  • Repeat after me: The Houston Texans are AFC South Champions.

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