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Thoughts From The Ninth Victory Of The 2011 Season: Falcons v. Texans

Cap'n 'Meco likes that .750 winning percentage.
Cap'n 'Meco likes that .750 winning percentage.

Once upon a time--let's call it "up until this season"--I did a regular postgame entry each week. It was originally titled "Post-Game Breakdown," and it usually consisted of me listing the things that struck me as important or noteworthy during that particular game. Other times, it was just me hitting an online thesaurus to find synonyms for "odious" in my effort to fully describe the play of one DeMarcus Faggins.

I stopped doing that series this year. Not because I necessarily planned to stop, but because I believe you can only have so many reaction/postgame entries after a game, and we've been lucky enough to have a ton of excellent work in that regard each week this year. Even if I wanted to bring Post-Game Breakdown back, I wouldn't, because your Houston Texans are having their best season in franchise history without the PGB, and I am nothing if not a superstitious jackhole.

There were a handful of things I wanted to touch on in the aftermath of the win over Atlanta, though, so I decided to craft this post which, as I'm sure you've noticed, is not entitled "Post-Game Breakdown, so I AM NOT JINXING THE TEXANS. As the title indicates, this is a totally unique post and a one-time deal. Thus, you can jump with me without fear of endorsing a hex upon the Texans.

1. Six straight wins. The latest of which came with a rookie QB who hadn't even dressed for a game before last week. Unreal.

2. No matter what happens the rest of the season, Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith should be in the conversation for Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year, respectively.

3. Coming into this season, I never would have thought I'd be typing the preceding sentence. Strangest part? The rash of injuries, and the Texans' refusal to let those things break them, are the biggest reason why the work of Kubes and Smith deserves all the accolades in the world. They're shining even brighter than they would have otherwise.

4. The two best free agent signings in the entire NFL this past offseason were Wade Phillips and Johnathan Joseph, in that order. This is not up for debate.

5. If the Texans get the kind of play they got from T.J. Yates on Sunday for the rest of the season, this team will not lose another game during the regular season. Now, I don't think the Texans are likely to get zero turnover efforts from Yates each week, so I'm not predicting a 13-3 record. Indeed, Yates was bailed out of a pick-six--and it was an absolutely horrible decision/throw that led to the pick-six--thanks to a Dunta Robinson penalty (delicious). As excited as we are about what we saw at Reliant, we can't forget that there is a learning curve, and the good guys are starting a rookie at the game's most important position.

6. There was a colossal difference in how Yates looked after Andre Johnson left the game. Funny how that works.

7. Matt Ryan looked flustered from the very first snap of the game. I've never seen a QB check off at the line more than Ryan did on Sunday. His WRs had single coverage almost the entire day, and he just couldn't take advantage of it. I mean, two of Ryan's first three throws should have been TDs; he just overshot the receiver. Wade Phillips was in his head all afternoon; Ryan should have been charging Wade rent.

8. Line of the Day, courtesy of my mother: "I would have caught that." It was uttered in reaction to a Jacoby Jones drop. I don't believe my mother has ever even had a football thrown to her, much less actually caught a football before, yet I would not dismiss her statement, given the circumstances.

9. Watched the game with Football Outsiders' own Rivers McCown. When we weren't lamenting the play of Kareem Jackson, Rivers astutely remarked, early in the second half, that the game reminded him of the Steelers-Texans game earlier this season. The final score of that game, as you know, was identical to this one.

10. Maybe Rivers should start writing "Three And Out."

11. Speaking of Kareem Jackson...I agree with those who say he's better than he was last year, in much the same way that I'd rather have one flat tire on my car instead of two. Kareem is not, however, by any stretch of imagination, playing well. For all of Gary Kubiak's praise, Kareem was not good against Atlanta. If Julio Jones had any semblance of hands, the result of the game may have been much, much different.

12. Now that I've heard "Bulls on Parade" piped into Reliant before particularly important snaps when the Texans are on defense, I do believe I can die a happy man. I really hope that nickname sticks.

13. Reliant was loud. But the loudest it's ever been? I don't know about that.

14. The Texans failed to register a sack on Sunday. I have a feeling we won't say that again this year.

15. I didn't see Brett Hartmann go down. The way he was laying on the field after he went down, face-down and not moving, made me think he'd been lit up instead of sustaining a non-contact injury. Hate losing him for the year, but I'm glad it wasn't as bad as his lack of movement initially led me to think it might be.

16. It's nit-picking for sure, but I didn't like Kubes' decision to have Neil Rackers attempt that 54-yard field goal. Rackers had barely hit his earlier try from 43 yards out, and the ball didn't look or sound good off his foot in that successful attempt. I would have punted there.

17. 9-3. With no Mario Williams or Matt Schaub. With Andre Johnson missing a sizable portion of the year. With Arian Foster and Danieal Manning missing a handful of games. Who'd have thunk it?

18. On to Cincinnati!

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