This is the first of what will be a recurring segment where we relive the previous game as I share my notes from the game on the morning following the game. These are notes that I'm taking on the first watch, without the benefit of review. I wanted to give it a catchy name, and we already have a "hangover", so I went with "Hair of the Dog" in honor of a buddy of mine who used to crash on my couch on Fridays and Saturdays, wake up, take a shot of whiskey, and in a voice suggestive of a morning after a great night, say, "hair of the dog" (back when we were single, of course). Oh, and because of a family trip, I watched this about 45 minutes behind the rest of the world, so I didn't participate, and thus am uninfluenced by the game threads. Sorry if I'm repeating stuff that was in there already.
As I get ready to settle in for the first game of the season, I settle in on my section of the couch that has my perfectly broken in ass-groove, grab my homebrew, and get ready for kickoff. Then my 21-month old daughter strolls up to me and asks to sit on my lap.
Ahh.... this is perfect. There's nothing more enjoyable than settling in for a great game of football and sharing it with my beautiful daughter.
So what if she's asking for me to put on Pocoyo?
I'm not listening anyway. Just enjoying the moment.First Quarter:
- I absolutely hate that first challenge from Kubiak. It was obvious that Lestar Jean lost control of the ball as he hit the ground and it wasn't even that obvious that he was in bounds (his heel was right on the line). I realize that the definition of what is or isn't a catch is very confusing these days, but the decision making by the Texans needs to be improved.
- Seems like Arian Foster has butterflies or something because he normally doesn't drop this many passes.
- I'm not saying that Shayne Graham isn't a competent NFL kicker, but I feel like a competent NFL kicker should be able to reach the back of the endzone from 52 yards.
- I know the weakness of this defense is runs up the middle, but it's not like they didn't know this was coming. After my daughter asked for Pocoyo, she said, "Oh, by the way, the Dolphins are going to try to establish the run, so you may want to stack the box."
- This may prove to be baseless, but I'm a little concerned that this up-tempo Dolphins' offense might prove to wear out the Texans' pass rush. Author's Note: It was baseless.
- Trindon Holliday may prove to be the most explosive returner the Texans have ever had, but regardless of what he may have done in the preseason, right now he's nothing more than a shorter version of Jacoby Jones.
- Derek Newton has been very solid so far.
- The early story of this game has been field position. The Texans need to flip this script if they're going to win this game. I'm not ready to panic, but I'm far from comfortable.
- Five minutes into the second quarter, the highlight of the game is that the Texans have managed to flip field position. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I was hoping for more by now.
- And there it is. Johnathan Joseph is just awesome. His ability to play tight coverage gives him more room for error than others when it comes to making the interception.
- For some reason, I always enjoy that awkward moment when an official calls a foul on a team that just committed a turnover and momentarily blanks on how to announce it: "Personal foul, number 51, offen... um.. defe... um... Dolphins..."
- Despite giving up some sizeable plays, I'd say that so far the defense is playing well. The offense just isn't holding up their end of the bargain.
- Just before the season started, I mentioned to someone that one of the things I love about J.J. Watt is how he frustrates quarterbacks with batted passes. There you go.
- I sent a text to my brother-in-law the other day that I think our current homebrewed IPA is commercial-ready. We've been working on this recipe for over a year, and I'd put it up against 99% of commercially available beers -- including most craft brews.
- Owen Daniels looks like he's settling into the exploit-the-open-area-between-Andre-and-Foster role nicely. He could have a big year.
- Arian Foster's running is ridiculous. Other running backs are efficient in their own way, but nobody runs like him. His long gait, incredible vision, and incredible ability to change direction make him unique and very difficult to defend.
- The Texans' special teams are generically mediocre, but one thing I like about them is that they always do a good job of maintaining discipline in their zones. Author's Note: Remember that these notes are taken as the game goes on -- not after the fact.
- Dan Fouts' J.J. "What" joke is absolutely horrible. Looks like he's in mid-season f.... wait, did Kareem Jackson just get an interception?!
- Arian Foster just scored a touchdown, but I hate how he only had one hand on the ball and got it pulled away. I'm already on record as being nervous about his ball security, and that's not making me feel better.
- After his hit on Chris Ivory in the pre-season and the hit he just laid on Daniel Thomas, Glover Quinn might actually kill someone. We should start a collection for bail money, if only to ensure he doesn't miss a game (and yes, I know I just made this joke a few days ago, so don't bother bringing that up).
- Andre Johnson looks healthy.
- My parents are huge Dolphins fans. I feel bad calling them right now. I called them anyway. They hung up on me.
- Aww... my daughter, who just spent the entire first half with my wife, just came back and asked to sit on my lap. This. Is. Life. So what if she's asking for "Finding Nemo" now?
- For some weird reason, my broadcast just started dubbing the Spanish announcers over the American announcers. I texted my brother-in-law (another Dolphins fan) if he's getting the same thing. He said "No, but this game sucks anyway... just watch something else." Just then the Dolphins run a punt back for a touchdown. I text him back, "Well, that part of it sucked." All in all, though, it was an improvement over Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts.
- Didn't I just commend our special teams on lane discipline?
- Holliday has been TERRIBLE today. Again, I don't care what he did in the pre-season. He's on the *poop* list right now.
- James Casey with his first catch. My James Casey love is still strong, but J.J. Watt's play is starting to make this awkward.
- Graham apparently has the leg strength for a 42-yard field goal. That's nice.
- J.J. Watt again. That is all.
- Need more Ben Tate. I don't like Foster getting 90% of the carries.
- I realize that the Texans are up 17 and don't need to take any chances, but I would have still gone for it there on 4th and goal from the one. Despite what Ian Eagle may say, I don't like making decisions based on the <1% chance that they'll run a turnover back 99 yards. The far more likely scenarios are that it's a touchdown or a turnover inside the 1. The way our defense is playing, I like those odds.
- The official never saw that facemask against Kareem Jackson. I'm not saying it wasn't a penalty, just that I don't like it when officials make a call based on the player's reaction -- even when it works in our favor.
- Kareem Jackson with some good coverage. I'm not yet buying in, but I'm leaning more.
- Aaaand, that's why. Jackson's inability to turn his head on that long reception by Brian Hartline is exactly why I'm not yet bought in. Are my expectations too high? Perhaps. Too bad.
- I think the Texans got away with one on review. Looked to me like the Dolphins should have a fourth and goal from the one, but Hartline was called out of bounds.
- The goal line defense is getting some good practice here, and the defensive line blocking passes is getting infectious. I like it.
- I have no problem with this fourth quarter play calling of run straight for no yards. It's boring, but it's the type of play calling that wins games. I've had enough Texans-related excitement for one lifetime already. I can handle boring every now and then.
- Despite the great play by the defense as a whole, the outside linebackers have been extremely quiet. Outside of one play on a running back by Brooks Reed, I don't remember noticing them all that much. I'm not remotely worried about this, though. It's just an observation.
So there we are. The Texans open their season with a satisfying 30-10 victory against the Miami Dolphins. I like getting this game out of the way early, because I can now root for the Dolphins for the rest of the season without hesitation. There don't seem to be any serious injuries, though I will be very curious to hear what the deal is with Brian Cushing's shoulder.
There are many nits to pick here, but overall, I think it was a very successful Sunday.
Offense: Andre Johnson for being Andre Johnson
Defense: J.J. Watt, who nearly blocked this post.
Special Teams: Donny Jones by default. Nobody really deserves this one.