I have a bizarre fascination with hidden tracks on CDs. Discovering one always feels like the first time I made it through the swimming stage of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the original NES. (Seriously, it's bad enough that they made Donatello the only turtle who was worth fighting with; couldn't they have at least made the TURTLES better swimmers as a whole?!) That is to say, it always feels like I've suddenly joined an elite club of "people who know."
(Wow . . . that sounds way dorkier now that I re-read it. Oh well. Onward.)
Anyway, you know how a lot of the hidden tracks, especially on earlier CDs were only found if you let the disc keep playing after the "last" song ended? For example, "All By Myself" off of Green Day's Dookie album, "16 Days" off of Wade Bowen's Just For Fun album, and "The Heckler" off of Primus' Antipop album. Well, consider this 2DH the blog post equivalent of one of those hidden tracks. You left the disc playing, you didn't expect anything else, and then this just started playing.
It's Still A Valid Question.
"Ain't Gonna Be No Rematch!" "Don't Want One!"
Nearly everything has been written about the Texans-Bengals playoff game has mentioned that this is a rematch between the two teams this year. This made me curious about how previous rematches in the current playoff format have turned out.
So, keeping in mind the caveat that what happened in previous games and previous seasons will not dictate the outcome Saturday, I took a look at all first-round rematches since 2002. Here's what I found:
- All told, there have been 24 such pairings. Of those, 7 were rematches between teams in the same division who had played each other twice during the regular season. Another 3 were outliers because the teams had met in Week 17 and the losing team in that matchup had rested its starters. That leaves us with 14 rematches that are comparable to Hou-Cin. (Yay, math!)
- Oddly enough, those have been split between the team that was victorious during the regular season and the team that was not.
- Just as strangely, of the 14 rematches, the home playoff team won 7, regardless of who won during the regular season.
- If we combine the two lists, we see that 4 of the 7 road teams who won the rematch were also the teams who won the regular season matchup.
- Ten of those 14 matchups featured teams with different records, and the team with the better record won 4 of those games.
Even ignoring that the past is not prologue for Saturday's game, the data here, to the extent they say anything, doesn't suggest much one way or the other. But, the fact of the matter is this: when the Texans beat the Bengals in Week 14, they did so on the road, with a rookie QB making only his second start, and they won without the presence of one Andre Lamont Johnson. On Saturday, they will have Andre Johnson. Maybe I am just a helpless homer, but I think that fact means more than the fact that the Texans have already beaten the Bengals this season.
Sacks allowed by Duane Brown in 2011, according to STATS, Inc. Since giving up 11.5 sacks as a rookie in 2008, Brown has improved every year, giving up 7.5 in 2009 and 6.5 in 2010.
Holding penalties by Duane Brown in his entire career. (It happened in 2008.)
Sacks allowed by Michael Roos in 2011. Roos has 3 career holding penalties.
Sacks allowed by Joe Thomas in 2011. Thomas has 6 career holding penalties.
Sacks allowed by Joe Staley in 2011. Staley has 6 career holding penalties.
Sacks allowed by Jake Long in 2011. Long has 8 career holding penalties.
Sacks allowed by Ryan Clady in 2011. Clady has 11 career holding penalties.
Sacks allowed by D'Brickashaw Ferguson in 2011. Ferguson has 9 career holding penalties.
Sacks allowed by the rest of the Texans' offensive line 2011. For comparison, they allowed 32 in 2010 and 25 in 2009.
Total points scored by opposing teams in Houston's 10 wins this season. No team scored as many as 20 points against Houston in a Texans win, with Cincinnati's 19 points being the highest total.
Total points scored by opposing teams in Houston's 6 losses. No team scored fewer than 19 (Indianapolis & Jerome Boger combined for that total in Week 16).
We Come In A Piece.
Have you ever been sitting around and thought to yourself, "Self, I am bored with Earth women, and I really wish there was a brothel where I could dip my wick in an extraterrestrial"? I mean, who hasn't had that thought at one time or another, right? Right?!
Anyway, you are in luck! (Sorta.) Dennis Hof, proprietor of the famed Moonlight Bunny Ranch, is opening a new brothel in Nevada, which he is calling "Alien Cathouse." The premise is straight-forward, if a little off-kilter:
Hof's alien theme is already well past the probing stage, but important details -- whether the working women will be painted green, for example -- are still being decided.
When Hof talks about the idea, it comes out sounding like a series of bumper-sticker slogans: "Sex from another planet" and "Alien Cathouse girls do it different," to name a few.
He did confirm one thing: There will be alien costumes made for employees at the travel center and the women in the brothel.
No word yet on whether they've figured out a way to duplicate the Kitty-Jack Bonner sex scene from "Cocoon," however. (It's on Hulu. I'm not linking, because it's NSFW. Though the lack of a link kind of craps on the humor in my reference, I guess. Whatever.)
Someone Get Paul Wall A Cheeseburger.
Remember back when I linked to this song by Slim Thug, Paul Wall, and Z-Ro? Well, they made a video! In the Reliant parking lot! With players! (Somewhere, Bob McNair is having a coronary. Quick, give him 40 cc of Clay Walker, stat!)
The conventional wisdom seems to be that the Bengals dominated the Texans in the first matchup, only to let Houston off the hook at the end. After all, it was 16-3 at halftime, so that must mean that Cincy was in control of that game from the start.
Except, they weren't. The Texans were leading 3-0 when the Bengals, thanks to a good kick return and a single big Cedric Benson run, had 1st & goal at the 1. Not only did the defense hold them to a FG on that possession, but Johnathan Joseph dropped a sure Pick-6 on 3rd & Goal. That's a ten-point swing right there.
On the Texans' next possession, T.J. Yates threw an INT, setting the Bengals up at Houston's 25. Their "drive" consisted of a loss of 4 yards, and they hit another FG. The Texans then started their next drive at their own 10, marching 89 yards in 12 plays to set up 1st & Goal at the 1. At which point Lawrence Vickers decided that he hated lead blocking, and he let Rey Maualuga hit Ben Tate head-on, causing a fumble.
The Bengals' ensuing possession after recovering that fumble was their best drive of the day, 97 yards in 15 plays for a TD. But Houston then got the ball back and went 56 yards in just under 2:30 to set up a FG for Neil Rackers . . . which he missed. Cincy capitalized on this good field position to add a FG before halftime.
At the break, however, time of possession was almost perfectly split (14:59 for Houston, 15:01 for Cincinnati). Houston had 9 first downs to Cincinnati's 10. Houston had 85 yards rushing to Cincinnati's 92 and 125 yards passing to Cincy's 112. Both QBs had completed 9 passes on a similar number of attempts (16 and 17, respectively). Both teams had the same number of punts (1) for similar yards (53 and 56). That is not a situation where Houston got dominated or outplayed or whatever you want to call it. That's a situation where Cinci capitalized on a couple early breaks (the INT, the Tate fumble) and Houston did not (the dropped pick-6, mainly).
In the second half, if either team outplayed the other, it was Houston outplaying Cincinnati. The Texans' second-half stats were better across the board: 16 first downs to 6, 59 rushing yards to 9, 143 passing yards to 72, and (most importantly) 17 points to 3. Fact of the matter is, the Texans played better all day long; it just didn't begin to register on the scoreboard until the second half. And anyone who tells you different is lying.
I was deleting some old bookmarks yesterday when I stumbled across a gem from Mac Engel at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, entitled, "If The Texans Are Going To The Super Bowl, Why Not The Cowboys, Too?" I wanted a good chuckle, so I clicked the link, only to find that the article was no longer available.
So, I went to the paper's website and pulled up all of Engel's work. On the third page, there was the title I was looking for. Click. Again, nada. Yet, for whatever reason, all of the other links on either side of that story work just fine. Surely, Mac Engel, a beacon of journalistic excellence, would not delete a article that made him look foolish in retrospect, would he?
Defensive player with a TD in 2011: Brice McCain.
Number of defensive TDs that Johnathan Joseph had negated against Pittsburgh.
Unnecessary Archer Quote.
"You are just a dog in a manger, aren't you?"
Passes defended by Jason Allen in 2011.
Passes defended by Kareem Jackson in 2011.
Seasons in which Petey Faggins had more than 6 passes defended.
Seasons in which Petey Faggins had 11 passes defended.
Interceptions by Jason Allen.
Interceptions by Kareem Jackson.
Seasons in which Petey Faggins had more than 1 interception.
Seasons in which Petey Faggins had 4 interceptions.
One-Third Of A George Thorogood Song.
[Author's note: I admit with a small amount of shame that I am not fond of whiskey or any of its close relatives (bourbon, scotch, what have you). This is because, when I was 19, I drank an entire fifth of Jack Daniels, chasing it with warm Dr. Pepper, one night around a campfire. I then proceeded to vomit uncontrollably for the next 9 hours. To this day, I can't smell whiskey without getting a little nauseous.
That said, I am well aware that many of you here enjoy this family of liquors. To each his own. Because I strive to provide you, the reader, with useful information whenever possible, I thought I would ask Displaced Texan (nee Evan) to discuss his favorite booze from this group and perhaps provide some recommendations. Enjoy.]
There are drinkers and there are drunks. I consider myself a drinker. To limit yourself to one type of drink is to deny your pallet the joy of experiencing the myriad tastes and flavors alcohol can provide. I approach drinking much the same way I approach music: pick a genre, immerse myself, sample, learn, enjoy. Like all drinkers, I had my go-to drink of choice --- Kettle One and tonic (excellence does not require complexity), a simple yet delightful libation that is always available, no matter the circumstances or location. But I have seen the light, my friends, and there is a superior drink. Indulge me for a moment, fellow drinkers, while I proselytize for this reges bibere.
Approximately eighteen months ago, I decided it was time to learn about scotch. It seemed a cultured drink, rich in variety, steeped in history, but one I had never really appreciated. So I began my schooling. Except somewhere along the way I strayed off the syllabus and discovered bourbon. I don't mean Makers and ginger ale, and I don't mean Manhattans. I mean straight bourbon in all its wonderous glory. I've hardly touched scotch since.
What makes bourbon so magnificent and how can you learn to enjoy it? Well I'm glad you asked. Here, I've put together a primer for you.
Made In The U.S.A: I'm not known as a rabid patriot, what with having spent time in socialist Europe. But bourbon is the only uniquely American spirit, and its distillation process is codified by law. To be a bourbon, the spirit must be made from a grain mixture at least 51% corn and must be aged for at least 2 years in new, charred white-oak barrels. What better way to support local business than by drinking American? Even the Grey Lady has jumped on the bourbonwagon.
Rich In Taste: One of the problems I have with scotch is that I find it a subdued, almost muted drink. That may be my fault, as I don't particularly enjoy peat, but even Speyside scotches are rather underwhelming. Bourbon by contrast has a measured aggression, a richness of flavor that jumps out at you. It's bold but refined and often has a wonderful complimentary spice. In some, you'll taste honey and, in others, vanilla, but always a variety of flavor. It feels more alive than scotch, and makes me feel like I'm a frontiersman, not a stodgy British aristocrat.
Cost Effective: Like the abovementioned Times article states, we are currently enjoying a bourbon boom. But on the whole, bourbon remains cheaper than scotch. More taste for less money? Yes please.
But with so many bourbons available, where do you start? No worries, I've got you covered.
Maker's Mark: This is a good starting point to learn if you might fancy becoming a bourbon man (or woman). It's an excellent baseline and a solid, if unspectacular, bourbon. Try a glass with a few ice cubes (two is my preference) and see what you think. The Maker's 46 is also rather good.
Bulleit: This is my favorite drink. Full stop. The cost/taste value (~$25 for a 750) remains unsurpassed in any bourbon I've tried, and I keep a bottle handy at all times. It's a wonderfully balanced bourbon and a perfect night cap for any Monday through Sunday.
Basil Hayden: Time to kick it up a notch. Basil Hayden is a smooth drink, easy to sip, but with a touch of pepper that gives it just a bit of bite. I would never advocate mixing it in cocktails, but you could certainly impress a lady (or gent) by making a Basil Hayden Manhattan (2 oz. Basil, 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth, splash of bitters, garnish as you please).
Buffalo Trace: Another favorite of mine, the Zepplin to Basil's Allman Brothers. I'll let the guys at BourbonEnthusiast.com sum it up: "Big, moody, uncompromising and complex beyond belief."
George T. Stagg: What a drink. I learned of the Stagg from a guy at a wine bar, of all places, and have only enjoyed a few glasses. It's bold (higher proof), immensely complex, and hits you right out of the gate. Not for rookies, but a fine reward should you stick with bourbon.
Pappy Van Winkle: The king of bourbons. A number of different bottlings, but the older the better. I must confess I've only sprung for the Pappy once, but it was a treat. Save this one for last.
Garrison Brothers: Easily the best present I received at Christmas. Garrison Brothers is a brand new distillery and the only bourbon made in Texas. But this isn't a homer pick; it's a damn fine bourbon (just ask Rivers), and I'm the proud owner of a first run bottle I intend to nurse for some time.
So next time you're out, treat yourself to a glass of bourbon over a few cubes of ice (to cool it and numb a bit of the bite). Then scoff at your friend who orders Johnny Walker Black. Gentlemen drink scotch. Men (or women) drink bourbon.
'90s Rap Song (That You Had To Suspect Was Coming).
To this day, I cannot figure out why a song about Suburbans and Cadillacs spelled it "Bourbons" in the title. But, you know, who understands those rap guys?
Patron Saint Of Quality Footwear.
See if you can spot the awesomeness hidden on this IMDB page.
This Week In BRB History.
Now that we are in uncharted waters, with Texans football occurring post-Week 17, I thought I'd take a look back and see what BRB was talking about around this time of year in previous season.
2011: Tim responds to criticism about t-shirts that said "Laughingstock Since 2002I submit that any free agent who makes the decision where to sign based upon the clothes worn by the fans has his priorities grossly misaligned."
2010: BFD (remember when he wrote posts?!) lists the thirteen best moments of the 2009 season. Choice quote: "Brian Cushing finishes off Justin Fargas for the safety dance...JUDO style."
2009: Riott took a look at the Texans' 2008 injuries and wondered aloud if they could have been prevented by a better strength-and-conditioning coach. Choice quote: "Not only was I upset because in no way is the leg press interchangeable with a squat, but the squat he wanted to perform was a machine squat! Nowhere in Riley's workout was there space for true barbell squats."
2008: Tim notes that Andre' Davis won Special Teamer of the Month (December 2007). Choice quote: "Now please, please, please re-up with the Texans."
2007: I'm cheating here, technically, because there were no posts on BRB for this particular week of 2007. That said, there were some posts in January 2007, so I picked this one where Scott was happy that the Texans hired a fellow named Frank Bush. Choice quote: "The Texans don't really have an interest in signing no-class cheaters anyways."
Uh, No. No, Not At All.
Holding Myself Accountable(ish).
Before the regular season, I took a look at what teams had done in their first year with Wade Phillips as a DC. In that post, I made the following statement:
Well, then, what can we reasonably expect from the 2011 Texans' defense? Based both on all of the above as well as the similarities between the 2002 Falcons' D and the 2011 Texans' D, I think improvements in line with what Wade did in Atlanta are realistic expectations. While I'd love to see an improvement similar to what he did his first year in San Diego, I just don't see that happening with this team (though I would say that the Chargers' improvements represent the best-case scenario for what the Texans could do). So, my projections for the 2011 Texans: 5,200 yards allowed (last year 6,031), 20 points/game allowed (last year 26.7), 22 passing TDs allowed (last year 33), 13 rushing TDs allowed (last year 16), 19 interceptions (last year 13), 30 turnovers (last year 18), 300 first downs allowed (last year 354).
I also said that I thought 50 sacks was doable, if somewhat unlikely, and I pegged 45 as a slightly more likely number. So, how close did I come?
All in all, it looks like I underestimated the greatness of Wade, especially in terms of run defense. But then how was I (or anyone) to know that he would take the Texans from near-last in the league in total defense to #2?
To our own Jon Banks. He's turning 13 today!
Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer Inexplicable Decision Of The Week.
[Author's note: It's a sad day in Two-Day Hangover Land. It seems that Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer has gotten married and changed the name on her public profile to the much more professional sounding, "Marijuana Sawyer-Clardy." Dang. Thankfully, we have a long memory around here, at least when it comes to stuff like this, so we'll just forge ahead and pretend like nothing has changed.]
Much like the decision to name your daughter "Marijuana Pepsi," Jason Garrett's decision to punt with 5:13 left in the game, trailing 24-14, was baffling. Yes, it was 4th & 13 from their own 19. So what? The Cowboys were down two scores in a game that they had to win to keep their season alive. They still had all three timeouts, but they had to score on that possession. Instead, they booted a terrible 26-yard punt, the Giants added a TD shortly thereafter, and Cowboys' inability to matter in January continued.
Don't get me wrong; I love that they chose to punt there. That was high comedy. From a coaching standpoint --- or, perhaps more accurately, from the standpoint of a good coach who is actually trying to win the game --- the decision to kick it away was absolutely inexplicable.