Yup. That happened. As I type this, more than a day after your Houston Texans gave us all a memory we'll never forget, I'm still smiling. Because I don't want to forget anything about what went down at Reliant Stadium on January 7, 2012, I'm going to use this post to archive what's floating around in my head now. I invite you to use the Comments to this post to do the same.
1. I got to Reliant around 11 a.m. CST to start pre-gaming at the incomparable Lone Spot Tailgate. Even in the parking lot, hours before kickoff, things just felt different. There was an energy, a buzz, an excitement, insane lines for the Porta-Potties, that's not there every week. We didn't know what would happen once the teams took the field, but we knew it would be special.
2. Unlike most weeks, the fans inside Reliant did a great job getting into their seats before kickoff.
3. Clay Walker sang "It's Football Time In Houston" on a portable stage before the player introductions and national anthem. For some reason, I found this to be amazingly cool. I blame the homebrew at the Lone Spot Tailgate and the enormity of the moment for that.
4. I still don't know why the Texans chose to introduce the defensive starters instead of the offense. The roof would have blown off Reliant when Andre Johnson was introduced. Coincidentally, that would also be the only way we'd have an open air game in Reliant this decade.
5. The crowd at Reliant was better than I've ever seen it. For the most part, they were great about staying loud when Cincinnati had the ball and staying quiet when the Texans were on offense.
6. I've been very critical of Gary Kubiak's use of challenges, yet Kubes looked like the Wizard of the Red Flag compared to Marvin Lewis. One stupid challenge? Hurts, but it happens. Two of 'em in the same game, thus costing your team any chance of challenging later in the game? Yikes.
7. Speaking of guys I've mocked, Matt Turk has taken his share of shrapnel from me. On Saturday night, he was PHENOMENAL. I don't know that I've ever seen him punt more consistently excellent than that. Every punt was awesome. One of the best surprises of the game, without question.
8. J.J. Watt's pick-six was so unexpected, I didn't even know what happened until he was about ten yards from the end zone. I've watched that play about ten times now, and I still don't how he did it. Without question, it was the turning point of the game.
9. Andre Johnson's touchdown...well, I'll just let TGC take it from here:
Reports that I shed a tear when Dre caught that touchdown are confirmed.
Strong men also cry, Mr Lebowski. Strong men also cry.
10. Andre Johnson has now scored a TD in every playoff game in which he's appeared.
11. Arian Foster has, too.
12. Houston's offensive line was incredible, as usual. They took some licks early and then just started rolling.
13. Jacoby Jones still infuriates me as a return man and wide receiver. He has become a much, much better blocker this year, though. Have to give credit where it's due.
14. Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning > Nnamdi Asomugha. Forever.
15. After watching him outduel Andy Dalton, I would like to make T.J. Yates an honorary Katy Tiger. T.J., your admission packet is in the mail.
16. What can you say about the job Gary Kubiak, Wade Phillips & Co. did? Great game plan, focused charges...it doesn't get much better than that.
17. TGC touched on feeling proud of the team and the City of Houston, and I completely understand what he's talking about. Watching the clock tick down at Reliant, with the result clearly known, I was bursting with pride as well. That may not be the most logical feeling in the world, considering none of us actually constructed a play, or made a tackle, or threw a pass, or took a hand-off, or blocked a planetoid nose tackle/marauding linebacker/crazy talented DE, or kicked a field goal, or anything that directly impacted the final score of a Texans game. Yet we lived and died every week with this team. When they lose, we hurt. When they win, we rejoice. When they win in the postseason, we revel in it and embrace the opportunity to witness history. Watching all the bad times makes these good times all the more sweet.
18. Now your Houston Texans head to Baltimore, once again scheduled to play an AFC North squad they faced earlier this season. Naysayers will predictably point out that the first game with Baltimore ended in a loss and featured Matt Schaub. Optimists will point out that the first game was sans Andre Johnson, that it's the playoffs and, if we've learned nothing else, that anything can happen. Both sides are right. That's why they play the games.
19. No matter what unfolds in Baltimore on Sunday at noon CST, nothing will take the shine off what happened at Reliant Stadium on January 7, 2012. It's been an amazing season, and it ain't over yet. Let's continue to enjoy the ride.Bengals vs Texans coverage I Texans vs Ravens coverage