Very few things in life --- in my life, at least (though I suspect this to be the same for most of us) --- ever live up to the expectations we've set for them. Movies, sophomore album releases, famous restaurants, the finales of most television series . . . the more we hype how great something is sure to be, the less likely it is that the thing will measure up. Which creates the odd feeling of disappointment even in situations where the actual experience was good, because it just wasn't good enough.
Because of this phenomenon, the list of things in my life that have actually exceeded my expectations when they finally happened is not extensive: the overwhelming happiness a few weeks ago when the Texans had officially made the playoffs for the first time, the surprise of finding out my daughter's gender when she was born, the sense of relief upon finding out I'd passed the bar exam, Dyer's triple-triple with bacon, marriage the second time around.
And, after Saturday, the list has to include the awesomeness of the Texans' winning their first playoff game.
Others have hit on all the ways in which that game was fantastic, from Andre Johnson's much deserved TD to Arian Foster's embarrassment of Chris Crocker, and from Danieal Manning's textbook safety help resulting in an INT to T.J. Yates' outdueling the much more hyped Pride of Katy. For me, however, the lasting image of the game and the moment that I'm sure I'll be telling my grandkids about, whether they want to listen or not, is this:
J.J. Watt's interception was, to put it mildly, amazing. As I mentioned in the live thread when it happened, it was the type of play that, if it happened while you were playing Madden, would make you turn off the game and complain about how stupidly unrealistic it was. Yet it was real on Saturday, and it unquestionably changed the complexion of that entire game. Where the Texans had trailed 10-7 only a few minutes before, they were now up 17-10 heading into halftime, and they never looked back.
The second reason that Watt's interception will be burned into my memory forever is because it was nice to have J.J. Watt do something like that FOR the team I support rather than against it, which he did to Michigan a couple seasons ago:
Difference in points scored by J.J. Watt (6) and the Atlanta Falcons (2) this weekend.
Total defensive touchdowns scored on Wild Card Weekend.
Total points scored by Cincinnati in the first halves of their two games against Houston this year.
Total points scored by Cincinnati in the second halves of their two games against Houston this year.
-1, 9, 5.
Cedric Benson's rushing totals in the last three halves of football he has played against the Houston Texans.
Consecutive Bengals playoff games (both losses) in which Marvin Lewis has used both of his challenges in the first half.
Number of Marvin Lewis's four challenges in those two games that were successful.
Years since the Cincinnati Bengals won a playoff game. Just ponder that for a second. In that span, there have been four different Presidents, 33 movies that out-grossed E.T. in the box office, and the departure from (and return to) the city of Houston by the NFL. People who were not even born when the Bengals last won a playoff game could legally drink at the game Saturday. More to the point, even prior to Saturday, the city of Houston, which was without a team from 1996 to 2002 and just returned to the playoffs for the first time in nearly twenty years, had won a playoff game more recently than the Bengals (1993).
Burgermeister: The Enbaconing.
As the story goes, Archimedes stepped into a bathtub, noticed that the water level rose, and suddenly figured out displacement as it related to volume. Upon making this discovery, Archie (which is probably not what his friends called him) is said to have shouted "Eureka!" and run naked through the streets. While I did not run naked through the streets of Little Rock yesterday, I did shout the modern-day equivalent of "eureka" --- "oh, HELL yeah!" --- upon my realization that bacon could be put in a food processor and ground up to a texture similar to that of ground beef.
Why was this realization important? Because it answered my long-pondered question of how to get more bacon involved in my cheeseburger experience. Here's my experiment in picture form:
That's 1.5 pounds of thick-cut peppered bacon, chopped into 2-inch chunks and dropped into the food processor.
Ground bacon (the light brownish meat) and 1.5 pounds of 85/15 ground beef, along with some seasonings, all thrown into a mixing bowl.
Formed into patties (obviously) and frying in a cast-iron skillet.
On a toasted whole-wheat bun, dressed with red onion, horseradish cheddar cheese, Heinz 57, a fried egg, and (yes) more bacon.
Cross-section of the same burger. It was amazing. The flavor was unlike any burger I've ever had, the meat was incredibly moist due to the high fat content of the bacon, and the toppings were perfect. The one improvement I plan to make next time is to work some candied jalapenos in there.
Number of running backs in the top 25 all-time in rushing yards who had more rushing yards in their first playoff game than Arian Foster had in his (153): Curtis Martin (166) and Fred Taylor (162).
Current Franchise Playoff Records (Both Single-Game And Career).
Receptions: 5, Andre Johnson
Receiving TDs: 1, Andre Johnson
Rushing TDs: 2, Arian Foster
Total TDs: 2, Arian Foster
Rushing Yards: 153, Arian Foster
Completion Percentage: 55%, T.J. Yates
Passing Yards: 159, T.J. Yates
Interceptions Thrown: ∅
Interceptions: 1, J.J. Watt; Danieal Manning; Johnathan Joseph
Sacks: 1, J.J. Watt; Antonio Smith; Earl Mitchell; Brooks Reed
Tackles: 8, Brian Cushing
Got the wings of Heaven on my shoes / I'm a dancin' man and I just can't lose.
Seven Websites You Should Read If You Enjoy Things That Are Entertaining.
- Reasoning With Vampires. Dana, who I love, breaks down just how terrible the Twilight books are. It's grammar-based humor, so it's probably not for everyone, but it's awesome nonetheless.
- Texts From Bennett. A dude posts texts from his cousin, a white kid in suburban KC who "thinks he's a crip, works at Aamco, [and] has a girlfriend named Mercedes."
- Emails From An Asshole. A guy who has mastered the art of using email to troll people.
- Yo, Is This Racist? People send in questions about whether X is racist, and the guy running the website answers.
- Sarah Jessica Parker Looks Like A Horse. Because she does.
- Action Figure Therapy. Comedians using fake G.I. Joe action figures to discuss problems that the action figures are having at work and home.
- Penny Arcade. Comic strips with some pretty smart humor. Geared toward gamers, but still accessible.
Drink Ketel One And Supermodels Will Stalk You.
For years, car commercials have featured someone driving at an absurdly high rate of speed, usually on some two-lane blacktop in the middle of nowhere, flying around corners in an attempt to demonstrate . . . the car's handing capabilities, I suppose. Over the last decade or so, these commercials would feature a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen, letting you know that it was a professional driver on a closed course and that you shouldn't try to recreate that scene on the streets of Cinco Ranch.
In essence, these commercials were demonstrating their product in a manner that would be illegal if you chose to recreate exactly what they had shown you (assuming, that is, that you were not a professional driver on a closed course). Apparently, the mere presence of the disclaimer is what makes these ads ok from a truth-in-advertising standpoint; after all,under the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C §§ 41-58, as amended), advertisements are required to be truthful and non-deceptive, advertisers must have evidence to back up any claims, and advertisements cannot be unfair. "Deceptive" and "unfair" in this context are judged on a case-by-base basis, considering the entire context of the ad and other relevant information.
Even if you take it for granted that such ads are not barred by the truth-in-advertising requirements of the FTCA, they still seem a little odd if you extend that advertising style to other common products. For example, I doubt that Louisville Slugger would run an ad that showed someone bashing in mailboxes with their product and simply tack on a "Dramatization -- Do Not Attempt" at the bottom. Nor would you see Bushnell market high-powered binoculars via a commercial that had someone up a tree, peering into an upstairs window at an unsuspecting woman, with a simple disclaimer telling you not to do it. Yet both of these products could be used in these ways, albeit illegally, just like the car could be used to drive 120 mph on the streets of your neighborhood.
Stranger still, however, are the more recent ads by Nissan, like this one:
Or this one:
In both cases, the commercial is literally showing you something that their product could not possibly do. If Charmin ran an ad where someone used a couple rolls of toilet paper to put out a forest fire, it would seem absurd; yet similarly nonsensical ads are apparently fine with they are for an automobile.
Speaking Of Commercials.
A couple times over this past weekend, I saw a Vizio commercial that claimed that Vizio televisions are "some of the most-awarded TVs in the industry." I assume that the makers of this ad are trying to say that Vizio televisions have received more awards than most of the other televisions on the market. However, the more accurate reading of that claim would be that their televisions have been given away as prizes/compensation more often than most other TVs.
And, Now, A Picture That Only EnglishTexan And A Few Other Readers Will Understand My Point In Including.
Stat That You Are Likely Already Tired Of Hearing.
The Texans are 0-5 all-time against the Baltimore Ravens. The cumulative score in those five games? 143-89 in Baltimore's favor. Between now and Sunday, you are likely to hear this stat another 50-300 times, depending on how much ESPN/NFLN you watch. It's the type of thing that the John Claytons (and other simpletons) of the world like to regurgitate.
The good news? That stat has nothing to do with whether the Texans will in on Sunday.
Consider: The first three of those meetings featured David Carr (x2) and Sage Rosenfels at QB, while the last two featured Matt Schaub. Obviously, none of those guys will be under center Sunday. Likewise, Houston's wagon has been pulled by the troika of Andre Johnson, Wade Phillips, and Arian Foster in exactly none of those games. As Cincinnati learned Saturday, that's a trio that can be hard to stop when things are clicking.
More importantly, the 29-14 final earlier this year in Baltimore belies how close that game actually was for most of the contest. Houston had more total yards at halftime (142 to 133) as well as a better third-down percentage and fewer turnovers. They'd limited Baltimore running game to 22 yards on 11 carries. What's more, midway through the third quarter, the Texans took a 14-13 lead, and --- all told --- they only allowed the Ravens to convert three third downs all day long.
So what happened? On the Ravens' next possession following Houston's second TD, Kareem Jackson gave up 70 yards on two passes to Torrey Smith, ultimately leading to a FG. When Houston could do nothing with their ensuing possession, Joe Flacco targeted Anquan Boldin, going right at Johnathan Joseph with success. Throw in a couple good runs by Ray Rice, including runs of 27 and 18 yards on Baltimore's final drive against a tired Texans' defense, and Houston's day was done.
It could very well be that Saturday will again see Kareem Jackson as the posterchild for the dangers of playing with fire, but I would give very good odds to anyone who thought that the Ravens would have the same success throwing at Johnathan Joseph. When you factor in how well Arian Foster is playing right now, plus the return of Andre Johnson, the 5-0 record for Baltimore against Houston becomes the type of meaningless crap that only "matters" to people looking to fill air time, especially when you combine that with refrains of "29-14." Yet, while people will pretend like Houston's time in Baltimore ended like Omar Little's, the better comparison is probably Avon Barksdale; the Texans might have been knocked down a few pegs, but you'd be foolish to assume that they were not still dangerous.
Fun Graph Related To The Previous Item That I Just Stole From dfleister.
Unnecessary Archer Quote.
Who can get along with a woman who wallpapers her guest bathroom with vintage New Yorker covers?!
Player Who Is Not As Good As Ravens Fan Seem To Think.
Lardarius Webb. It's not that he's bad, but the whole "Pro Bowl snub Lardarius Webb" is kinda silly (especially on a team that had six starters and one backup selected already). Pro-Football-Reference.com gave Webb an AV of 10. That's closer to Kareem Jackson (6) than Johnathan Joseph (15, which is a score that Nnamdi Asomugha has never had in a single season). Webb is, basically, in that not-quite-elite tier of CBs with guys like Jabari Greer, Brandon Browner, and Cortland Finnegan. There's no shame in being at that level, but there are a lot more of those guys than there are Johnathan Josephs and Darrelle Revises, and it's not a "snub" when a guy from that group is left off the Pro Bowl rosters.
Random '90s Rap Video.
A Phrase That (Shockingly) Has Nothing To Do With BFD's Sex Life.
Have you ever been sitting around and found yourself wondering how bedbugs procreate? Probably not, but what if I told you it was through something called "traumatic insemination"? In addition to being the greatest band name ever, traumatic insemination is the act of a male bedbug basically saying "who needs an orifice?!" and jamming his bedbug dong (a scientific term) into the abdomen of a lady bedbug. The bedbug sperm then diffuse through the female's body, and some manage to fertilize her eggs.
Why am I telling you this? I have no idea, other than I read it somewhere and feel that I should not be alone in suffering the mental image that it conjures.