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2012 Week One G.O.A.T.s: Overdosin' On First Downs & Not-So-Special Teams Play

This banner looks a little lonely. Let's get some friends for it to hang out with.
This banner looks a little lonely. Let's get some friends for it to hang out with.

Writer's Note: For the past two seasons, I usually followed a win with a post about the victory’s unsung hero and a loss with an infrequent post about…something from that game. Let’s be honest, writing about a loss is the last thing I want to do. After last season’s AFC Divisional Playoff game, I debuted a new sort of format, so I could become more consistent on the post-game entries. The spotlight must shine on struggles and the unsung need to be sung. This is G.O.A.T.s, where we can Get On/Off A Texan for their performances in that week’s game.

I hope I never become the sort of fan who is always dissatisfied with wins. I would hope the last decade of (mostly) futility, for all of the teams I follow, would have beaten that out of me for good. In the heat of the moment, it has not, as I was not too thrilled at times on Sunday, but I have come around to the line of thought that "A win is a win is a win." Besides, the ugly wins show a lot more about a team’s mental state than the pretty ones, and this team found another way to win.

This is a brief, and shortened, way of how I have come to view yesterday’s Houston Texans victory over the Miami Dolphins. It was not a wholly satisfying victory due to some sloppy play in both the run offense and defense, but the team held it together and found a way, which would later be called
J.J. Swatt by defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, to turn the game around.

A win is a win is a win.

Hit the jump to find out this week’s G.O.A.T.s.

Get on…the special teams unit.

In a closer game, Houston's special teams play would have cost the Texans the ballgame.

On Sunday there was a missed field goal, incredibly poor lane discipline on punt coverage that led to a touchdown, a 30-yard punt from deep within Houston's own territory, a kick returned to the Houston 5-yard line, and a kick return average of 15.8 yards from a returner who looked like his former overwhelmed and timid self. The only poor play missing from that head-shaking collection was a blocked field goal or punt.

Talent is not the question here, unless you are firmly against Trindon Holliday, because the special teams roster comes from the second and third string depth, the same depth that fans are proud of and pleased with. Heck, there are also four dedicated specialists on roster for these situations, so the expectations are rightfully high.

Special Teams coordinator Joe Marciano, an original Texan, has a lot of work to do this week to clean up the lackluster play. If I were pressed into calling my own shot, another week with a similar performance will cost the Texans a game.

Get off…tight end Owen Daniels.

During the offseason, I felt like I heard one constant theme when ‘Owen Daniels’ was mentioned: overpaid. He is not a game-changing tight end like Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski. He is not the pre-ACL injury Owen Daniels. He should have stepped up more when Andre Johnson went down with injury. He needs to restructure his deal or get cut. Blah, blah, blah, more talk about what Owen Daniels is not instead of what he is.

People tend to forget that quarterback Matt Schaub really does keep an eye out for OD, especially when a first down is needed. Last year, Daniels was third among tight ends with 10 or more receptions in first down percentage with 75.9%(!) of his receptions resulting in first downs.

Yesterday, Daniels picked up where he left off by catching four passes for 87 yards and four first downs. The 87 yards and four first down receptions were
tops yesterday among tight ends, including even the vaunted Gronkowski and Graham.

Daniels may not be the nightmare matchup those two are, but his route-running along the seams are a great complement to Andre Johnson’s outside game, and he is still a very good receiving threat for the Texans.

That's what I have, but what about you, faithful BRB reader...who are your G.O.A.T.s?

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